Selecting an accounting firm is a major step toward the ultimate success of your business. Your accountants will help you figure out everything from tax planning to estate planning, and even guide you on your path through succession planning. They will forever play a vital role in the day to day operations of your business which include tax filing, bookkeeping, compliance standards and management services. If you choose unwisely, you could find yourself starting all over again, either financially or simply with a new firm. Do your due diligence to ensure you get it right the first time and never find yourself in that situation. Here are a few things to consider when you are shopping around for an accounting firm.
Go for Comprehensive
All all-inclusive firm means you never have to shop around for any niche needs that may arise. Managing a business or a demanding career can be tough enough without having to worry about all the accounting needs and responsibilities that come along with it. You need an accounting firm that can handle anything you throw at them.
You want an accounting firm behind you and your business that has a wealth of experience in all areas of accounting. From international taxes to small business and everything in between. You don’t want to trust your hard earned money to a newbie just out of school, no, you want a team of professionals who have seen it all and can help you plan for the future of your business and wealth.
Look at Qualifications
There are many accounting courses out there, but not all of them result in achieving a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. Never let anyone handle your business’s finances unless they are a CPA. The CPA (dsps.wi.gov/Licenses-Permits/CPA/CPAlicense) certification ensures accountability to a higher-power, which is vital and should be a top priority for anyone looking to hand over the responsibility of their finances.
Choose a firm that is known for its pursuit of excellence. Word of mouth is a great indicator. The more you hear about them on the street, the better the chances are that what you hear is true. All the advertising in the world cannot replace the reliability and truthfulness of everyday people.
Look for them in the public sphere. Are they in the news? Have they made any important Top 10 or Top 100 business lists? What does the online world have to say about them?
What sort of people do they represent? While they may be a comprehensive firm, do they have real experience in your field of business? They should be able to provide you with a general run-down of the types of clients they have experience with.
Always interview any potential accounting firm. Make sure you feel right about the people you may be working very closely with. Take the time to see how they interact with their existing clients and how they treat each other. Is the environment a place you want to be? Are they accommodating? Can they answer all your questions readily?
How do you feel?
Don’t discount your gut or your first impression of a place. With any luck the accounting firm you choose will be a part of your life and your business for the long haul. You want to choose a place you feel good about.
At the end of the day deciding on an accounting firm is about deciding who will do the best for you. You want your business to grow and prosper, which needs attentive accounting and financial planning. Think about the direction your business and life are heading in and what goals you want to meet along the way. Which firm do you feel can get you there the fastest? You want a firm that is not just concerned with the dollars and cents of your business, but of your personal life as well. Business and personal finances (and goals) often overlap, so it’s important that the firm you choose keeps that in mind too.
Your accounting firm will become your most important business partnership, and as with any partner, you want to ensure it’s a good fit before signing any agreements.
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