You need services from a tax professional, but where do you start the search? Begin here so you know how to find the right accountant.

Notification no one wants

In my mailbox was a letter from the Internal Revenue Service. The letter stated that a tax year was to be audited.

I didn’t sweat it. I’d prepared my taxes in the past with help from an accountant, and my taxes were always filed on time. However, the notice hastened my plan to change accountants. I needed one I believed was more aligned with my business.

Where would I find the right person?

Thankfully, I asked someone and uncovered an expert who fixed the tax problem and took accounting woes out of my hands. Looking back, even though the IRS was a bother, the situation ended my search for a great accountant.

Whether you’re looking for money to start a gift basket business or are searching for extra funds, having a financial person on your team who’s accessible to you for monetary guidance is essential. The last thing you want, while creating a gift basket design, are thoughts like these in the back of your head:

  • Am I operating under the right business structure?
  • Can I deduct certain types of expenses?
  • How do I make sure I’m using the best accounting software?
  • What can I do to lower my expenses and be more profitable?

Looking for the right help

Let’s be clear about who you’re searching for in terms of tax preparation and guidance. You want a certified public accountant, a CPA. A bookkeeper can help you gather all of your financial papers and reconcile your accounts each month. However, when it comes to April 15 in the U.S., you need a CPA taking care of your filing.

Similar assistance is required in countries outside of the U.S., so be sure to choose the correct tax person, the one recognized and qualified according to your country’s laws.

Locating the right accountant for your business seems to be a daunting task. However, the goal is probably easier than you think. Here are three ways and places to search.

Entrepreneurial colleagues

If you have friends who happen to be in business, ask them who takes care of their financial tasks. Don’t be dismayed if they mention big accounting firms that you believe cost lots of money. Those firms often employ professionals who work as independent CPAs or can lead you to one.

State accounting groups

In the U.S., each state has an accounting organization. You’ll find the website through search. Locate that site and look for a link that either leads you to find qualified candidates or the Contact Us page to ask for recommendations.

In the Start Your Own Gift Basket Business online course, I assist new designers to find their local association and explain how it was found. I’ve also uncovered links to free accounting help from CPAs. Be sure to search extensively, as you may also find similar assistance at no cost.

Professional recommendations

My attendance at a women’s group meeting led me to a great CPA who helped me during my first years in business. I’m still connected with her but asked my attorney for a new recommendation when the tax problem arose. She pointed me to two candidates. I chose and interviewed one who is exceptional (the other one’s focus was working with individuals worth $10 million+). His fee includes tax preparation and the ability to contact him any time with questions.

Questions to ask

It’s important to interview CPAs that seem to be a good fit. You want to ensure that you’re comfortable with the person and that the CPA is knowledgeable about your type of business. A professional who only works with property managers and architects may not be the right person, but an interview will help you decide.

When you find a potential candidate, the next step is to schedule an appointment to interview her. You want to ensure that you and her are in sync with your tax needs. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Which types of businesses and professions are your specialization?
  • How many clients do you assist now?
  • Which software do you recommend for businesses like mine?
  • What is your charge for tax preparation, and what does that charge include?
  • What services do you offer that I haven’t asked about so far?

Also, be sure to find the CPA’s website and review it for additional questions before the interview.

Last words on how to find the right accountant

Social media makes it easy to ask anyone questions about taxes, accounting, and business structure. You might even ask a friend who is not a CPA. Keep in mind that individuals who are not CPAs are not the right people to respond. Following their answers can be dangerous to your operations. Seek tax assistance from a professional who understands your type of business.

It’s also okay to change CPAs. Just as you can go to a different hairdresser, retail store, or supermarket, hiring a different CPA, one who seems better versed with your needs, is a smart decision. That’s what I did.

Try not to cut corners in business. Do your research. Get help. CPAs don’t excel in making gift baskets, so don’t attempt to excel in understanding tax laws.