7. Select an accountant that can ‘scale.’
“Choose an accountant that is referred to you, in the same region and part of a company, just a little bigger than yours. By choosing an accountant that is bigger than your company, you know that for the foreseeable future you will have someone who you can rely on as your grow. We once made the mistake of saving money and hiring a freelance accountant who we outgrow almost as quickly as we hired him. So, always hire someone you know or is referred to you in a company of an equal or greater size than yours.”
8. Consider their skill set.
“Over the years I have learned that ‘one size does not fit all’. Many will have a specialty, so doing your due diligence on what that specialty is, is important. Your day-to-day business accountant may not have the depth of skills to assist you with an important merge, acquisition, or sale of your business. On the other hand you don’t necessarily need to employ the heavyweights for the preparation of your day-to-day chart of accounts.”
9. Never hire based on fee, only.
“Don’t hire based on fee. If one of the first questions they ask isn’t about the problems you have and how they can help, instead it’s about the cost, it’s not who you want. You pay for higher quality accountants who will be there long-term.”
10. Look closely at their client roster.
“Look for someone who has a roster of long-term clients. The first accountant I hired was too big for me in the start-up phase (i.e., I was the tender age of 22 and didn’t know any better). They would sneak in $100 here and there for messenger fees when USPS could have sufficed. The 2nd CPA [I hired had] a quick turnover of clients. She turned out to be a very bad egg. The 3rd is
the best. He’s been in business for 25 years and I saw his clients come on board and stay. It says a lot.”
– Tess Finkle, Founder of Metro Public Relations
11. Look for someone who is proactive.
“The best thing a small business owner can do is find a CPA who is truly proactive. Find someone who wants to be more than just your tax return preparer. You really need a year-round trusted advisor, someone who will keep in regular contact with you about tax planning opportunities, new revenue ideas, and cost-saving strategies.”
– Robert A. Gambardella, CPA CTC, Principal at Concierge Tax Services, LLC: @conciergetax