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Interviewing an accountant

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LightHouse

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I was told and read that not all accountants are the same and like employees and contractors you should interview them as such. I use QuickBooks to track everything, I have no background in finance and now the load is to heavy and strenuous. Therefore its time to outsource and eliminate that portion of the stress load. What would I need to know or have them need to know besides the general characteristics of what I do and what program I use now?
suggestions?
Maybe down the road this will help others as well.
THANK YOU!
 

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LightHouse

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Peter, i just read that link then it dissappeared, that looks to be for a peronal planner. I am seeking out a one for my company. Is it the same guidelines?
 

Peter2

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General questions to ask a potential CPA

How long has your firm been in business?
Ask yourself, do you prefer a firm that has an established record or a new firm that is developing their best customer list.
Do you offer an initial consultation and is there a charge?
Many firms offer a free initial consultation and should be able to given an estimate of the fees for the services you require.
Can I contact any of your current clients for a referral?
A reputable firm will be willing to provide you with references.
What education have you recently completed in your area of expertise?
CPAs who have an active certificate to practice public accounting are required to complete a specified amount of continuing professional education. CPAs receive education credit by attending courses, writing articles or teaching.
Are you a member of a professional organization such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants?
CPAs who are members of their local and national associations take pride in their profession. They acknowledge that as a CPA they represent not only themselves but the profession as a whole. Professional associations provide opportunities, tools, training and the resources for CPAs.
What other certifications are held by CPAs in your office?
The importance of this question will depend on the type of services you need. Look for the following (this in not intended to be an inclusive list):
  • MBA – Masters in Business Administration
  • CFP – Certified Financial Planner
  • PFS – Personal Financial Specialist
  • ABV – Accredited Business Valuation
  • CFE – Certified Fraud Examiner
  • CBA – Certified Business Appraiser
  • MCBA – Master Certified Business Appraiser
  • MBT – Masters of Business Taxation
  • CFA – Chartered Financial Analyst
  • RIA – Registered Investment Adviser
Questions for small business owners

Are you looking for expertise and industry knowledge of your business?
Ask what experience and what percentage of the CPA practice comes from other clients with a similar business.
What is your hourly rate and what charges can I expect for questions I have throughout the year?
A reputable firm will be able to provide you with this information.
What computer programs do you prefer your clients to use for record keeping?
Using a program the CPA is familiar with can save time and money on your billings. A CPA firm will also be able to help you in setting up and maintaining computerized bookkeeping.
When was your last peer review and would you be willing to show me the report?
Public accounting firms who perform audits, compilations and reviews are required to have a peer review performed every three years. The peer review is designed to ensure that firms have adequate quality control systems.
 

stevenmac2

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Having this information supplied by the late Peter2 is going to save us a lot of time in finding a CPA next week.
 

JEdwards

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My advice..

Long hall-way... Old...

The goal is for them not only to do your taxes but to know everyone in the local business community, so they can introduce you.
 

LightHouse

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Long hallways Jack?? What do you mean?

I have one now this was from 2007, but no worries bringing it up. It is very useful information!
 

JEdwards

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Long hallways Jack?? What do you mean?

I have one now this was from 2007, but no worries bringing it up. It is very useful information!

Simply, there needs to be a long hall way to his office from the front desk.

If there isn't most likely he does not know anyone, and how does that help? An accountant is just not the guy who does your taxes. You want your accountant to know everyone of importance in your city. It helps when you need to meet someone or need a referral for something.

And it might help a little when you want to sell.
 

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