Are you new in business and looking for a CPA? Or perhaps you need to find a new one due to retirement, relocation, or unmet needs. Finding the right CPA is not easy, but knowing the right questions to ask can help you find what you need.

An article in Accounting Today by John Huddleston identifies six frequently asked questions when seeking a new accountant. Although each company is different and may have its own specific set of questions, here is an example of what types of questions to ask.

How often should we keep in touch and how can I reach you?

Secure several ways to reach your accountant whether by email, mobile or business phone, or even Skype. In the beginning, expect to keep frequent communication with your accountant. After the first month, once your accountant is familiar with your business, communication normally decreases. CPAs are not usually available on demand, but communication on a weekly or monthly basis is common practice.

What steps will be taken to ensure a successful tax season?

Ensure that your accountant is up to date on the latest tax laws and knowledgeable of tax credits, deductions, and other benefits to which your company may benefit. The accountant should also be able to provide you with tips on maximizing your write-offs. Ideally, taxes should be ready to be filed well before your tax return deadline.

What concerns should be highlighted and brought to your attention?

As their client, you should be assured that they will treat your business as if it were their own and that they are familiar with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), retirement and financial planning, and other aspects of importance to your particular industry. Their decisions should be made in your company’s best financial interest.

Make sure you communicate changes you are making or considering, regardless of how small or large of an impact you believe they will have on your business. Your CPA should be able to offer advice as to whether you should outsource to an independent contractor or hire employees, rent a space or purchase property, and other business decisions.

How can you assist me in growing my business?

A CPA’s job is to assist you by monitoring your profits and expenses. If you are spending more than your company is profiting, or breaking even, you should be notified and advised on how to return to a profitable status.

How can you help me maintain a healthy cash flow?

Your CPA should keep a cash flow model and ensure its effectiveness against shortfalls. As he or she tracks your expenses and income, your CPA should advise you on how to maneuver and prepare for obstacles.

What is my breakeven point?

Because the CPA will not yet be familiar with the specifics of your business, they will not be able to determine your breakeven point right away. With time, the accountant will analyze your business to determine your breakeven point and provide a clearer perspective of your company’s profitability and pricing structure.

Overall, you should feel confident in your accountant’s competency to assist you with your finances. Ask all the questions necessary to help you feel comfortable with your decision.

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