How to Find the Right Tax Accountant for Your Orange County Business
Hiring a professional and reputable accountant is vital to preparing your tax return in an efficient, correct, and timely manner. He or she will have in-depth knowledge of all the latest tax codes and will ensure that your finances are compliant with the law. An experienced accountant will also make sure you get the highest tax refund possible, by searching for tax credits and exemptions that apply.
Finding an accountant you can trust in Orange County is essential to making sure your personal finances and your business are on the correct financial footing. Here are some tips on how to hire a tax accountant:
1. Understand That There Are Different Types of Accountants
- Public Accountants: Public accountants perform many duties, including personal accounting, tax accounting and consulting services for individuals and small business, and auditing.
- Management Accountants: Management accountants are usually a part of a business’s management team. Management accountants work in-house and help with activities that involve a company’s profitability.
- Government Accountants: General accounts work for government agencies, typically the IRS or other government agencies at the state or federal level.
- Internal Auditors: Internal auditors work for the government or for private businesses. Internal auditors differ from management accountants in that they analyze money that has already been spent and determine whether this spending results in an equitable return.
2. Determine the Type of Tax and Accounting Services You Need
In order to determine the type of tax and accounting services you need, there are a few questions that need to be addressed:
- Have you defined what your needs and goals are? For example, perhaps you need to file a simple tax return – or maybe you want to perform an in-depth analysis of your finances and start planning for the long term.
- Have you assessed the amount of income and assets you own? This includes rental properties and/or businesses.
3. Evaluate Each Accountant Carefully and Make Your Decision
There are three key points to consider when evaluating accountants and finally making a decision:
- Get a referral from a trusted source.
When doing so, confirm that this source’s tax situation is the same as yours – the tax consultant you hire should have the correct expertise required to prepare and file your return. Speaking with a reference allows you to learn more about a prospective CPA’s expertise and work ethic, and whether he or she is easy to get along with.
- Verify each candidate’s credentials.
Some individuals who work as bookkeepers/accountants do not have the specific training or licenses required to be a certified public accountant. CPAs can be licensed only if they have gone through the rigorous screening and testing process mandated by the state. Conduct a thorough investigation of each potential accountant to ensure that his or her training is sufficient.
- Speak with every potential candidate.
Interview candidates as you would an employee you are hiring for your business. You must know for sure that the tax accountant you are hiring is someone you can trust and communicate with. Questions worth asking include:
- How many years have you been in the business/worked in your firm?
- Can you provide references/recommendations? (Contact your CPA’s references after the interview has concluded.)
- Contact your CPA’s references after the interview has concluded.
- Do you engage in continuing education?
- Have you ever had clients audited? If so, how many/how often has it occurred?