AR15.Com Archives
 What to look for in a CPA
drillerdave  [Team Member]
8/27/2011 3:51:20 AM
I thought this would be the right place for this. Due to recent changes in my life; job, family, etc I am in need of a CPA. I have a FA but he recently move out of the area. So my question is; what do you look for in a good CPA, besides referrals?

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MusicBach14  [Member]
8/27/2011 10:02:27 AM
Honestly, it might be in your best interest to find a CPA that isn't that popular, somebody that isn't so busy that they don't take the time to actually LEARN your particular situation and the best way to structure your taxes that is most advantageous to your particular situation. Usually sole proprietor CPA's will go "the extra mile" to keep your business and will get to know you. My wife is a CPA and she is a sole proprietor, she always makes sure to know her client's particular situation inside and out, that really helps smooth things when it comes time to discuss their tax/financial planning goals. She worked for a CPA firm where the clients actually worked with non-CPAs and the CPA didn't even review their taxes let alone actually DO their taxes. Might as well go to Jackson Hewitt at that point!
DieselEngineer  [Life Member]
8/28/2011 7:26:27 AM
I am also looking for a CPA or similar professional. I see credentials and titles of Enrolled Agent, Certified Public Accountant, Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner, ABA(?), ATP(?), CVA(?)

What do each of these credentials mean with relation to each other? Which type of work does each of those professionals do? I'm sure a better understanding of what services the above people can offer will assist me in searching out the appropriate person for my needs.
SevenMaryThree  [Team Member]
8/28/2011 10:58:03 AM
First question you ask - What is the name of the person who will be handling my audit and when was the last time you spoke with them?

If they do not immediately know the answer, move on.
EndlessSteven  [Member]
8/28/2011 6:21:08 PM
Ooh, can I give you advice on this.

1) Ask any CPA who wants to work with you how familiar they are with gross proceeds. If they say ANYTHING vacillatory, run. If they can't explain them immediately, get out.
2) Ask how they work with your FA. Ask for referrals to the FA they prefer to work with, and schedule a meeting with this individual. Do nothing but ask questions. If all they do is try to jam you with product, or can't explain their plans, beat cheeks.
3) Ask for three business and three personal referrals. TALK to these people. Ask them questions.
4) You know what in your own personal situation requires help, figure out some questions to ask each CPA.

Finally, and this might be controversial: Do you REALLY need a CPA?

Many people don't, but use one anyway. In my experience, unless you really need one, a CPA can (at best) do an OK job, but really screw you over if they are stupid. And in my experience, there are a lot of stupid CPA's out there.

Unless you know you need one, you may be better off using some of the excellent software available.

Do you know how many CPA's use offshore accounting outsourcing, by the way? Fascinating growth business. Read this all.

And in case you want to start your own CPA business.
semperfiws6  [Team Member]
9/1/2011 10:01:21 PM
Originally Posted By SevenMaryThree:
First question you ask - What is the name of the person who will be handling my audit and when was the last time you spoke with them?

If they do not immediately know the answer, move on.


Are you being serious?

I seriously want to know.
drillerdave  [Team Member]
9/6/2011 2:48:46 AM
Been looking around and asking questions, interviewed one......seems like there are a lot out there but most are average........still looking
bubalus  [Member]
9/7/2011 12:00:13 AM
Are they going to interact with the IRS on my behalf when I get audited? I spoke with one who did. Guy was a total stud. Really smart. Knew his stuff. Former IRS auditor.
UnderTheGun  [Team Member]
9/7/2011 11:49:57 AM
Tag for additional responses.
clutchy  [Member]
9/30/2011 2:35:33 AM
I'm currently testing for my license but have been practicing at a public accounting firm for a little over 4 years. I do audit and tax.


Here's what i'd look for in a CPA;

1. Relationship, will they pick up the phone and take the time to discuss things with you?
2. Do they teach you or just talk at you... I would want a teacher, it makes a big difference for your overall understanding of business and tax. It also helps them out to have an informed client.
3. Do they understand your business? If they don't would you be willing to teach them?
4. Will they tell you you're being stupid when you're being stupid?
5. Do they have integrity? Will they tell you when you may or may not know that what you want to do may not be the most legal...

I guess that's my quick list.

just and FYI i'll be around the forum answering questions as best i can.
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