Top Traits for Your Tax Professional and How to Find a Good Accountant | FreshBooks Blog

not every small occupation owner wants ( or needs ! ) to know how to find a good accountant. And if you feel like it ’ s not the right match for you, that ’ s wholly finely .
But if you do decide that, come tax season, you need a fiddling extra support ( and let ’ s be real…who doesn ’ triiodothyronine ? ), it ’ mho authoritative to know the traits you should look for in a tax accountant, plus where and how to find the right matchless for your business .
Let ’ s take a bass honkytonk into :

  • How to find a good accountant
  • The key traits you should look for
  • How to choose the best accountant for you, your business, and your tax needs

Why You Might Want to Hire a Tax Accountant

Before we jump into how to find a good accountant ( and the traits you should look for ), let ’ s cursorily cover why you might want to consider hiring a tax accountant in the first station .
There are a variety show of reasons why you might want to bring an accountant on control panel to support your business during tax season, including :

1. Business Taxes Are More Complex than Personal Taxes

While your personal taxes are probably reasonably bare ( which is why then many people take the DIY route ), business taxes are a unharmed early animal .
typically, tied the most square business taxes are going to be importantly more complicated than personal taxes. tax accountants have plenty of experience navigating the complex global of business taxes, which means you don ’ t have to worry about navigating that complexity yourself .

2. Accountants Have Their Fingers on the Pulse of What’s Going on in the Tax World

Tax laws are in a constant state of liquefy, and if you don ’ thymine know how tax laws are changing and evolving, you risk :

  • Making a mistake on your taxes
  • Missing out on credits or deductions you might be eligible for

It ’ s your tax accountant ’ s subcontract to know all the latest developments in the worldly concern of taxes, including any new laws, deductions, or credits. This means your clientele taxes will be completed with the most up-to-date data .

3. Making Mistakes on Your Taxes Can Cost You

arguably the most park cause people hire tax accountants is to avoid mistakes. And for thoroughly cause ! Filing inaccurate, incomplete or late commercial enterprise taxes can result in a variety of issues, including :

  • Added penalties
  • Steep fines
  • An audit from the IRS

tax accountants know the ins and outs of business taxes. And while there ’ s no guarantee that a tax accountant won ’ t make a mistake on your taxes, the chances of an erroneousness slipping through the cracks ( and making its room to the IRS ) are far less probably when you hire a professional .
distinctly, there are plenty of reasons to hire an accountant to do your taxes. But how, precisely, do you do that ?

The Key Traits You Should Look for in a Good Tax Accountant

Before you hire a professional to do your business taxes, it ’ mho important to know what the ideal professional actually looks like .
There are a few key traits you should look for in a good accountant, including that they :

1. Specialize in All Things Taxes

fair because person has the title “ accountant ” doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate mean they ’ re the right person to do your business taxes .
As mentioned, business taxes are highly building complex and always changing. When you hire an accountant, you want to make certain they specialize in taxes and understand any late or approaching changes to the business tax landscape .

2. Show an Interest in Understanding You and Your Business

The last thing you want is an accountant who takes a one-size-fits-all approach to working with their clients. Every business ( including yours ! ) is unlike and, as such, presents a different plant of challenges come tax time .
The right tax professional will show a actual interest in understanding you and your clientele. They ’ ll ask questions, dig into your financials and come up with solutions that help you get the most from your business taxes .
The more they understand you and your commercial enterprise, the better they can do their job—and the easier the process will be for both of you .

3. Have Experience Working with Other Small Businesses

not all business taxes are created equal ; file taxes for a large corporation is completely different from filing taxes for a little business .
Accountants who specialize in modest occupation taxes will bring a higher level of understanding and expertness to the mesa, which can make getting your taxes done an easier and less nerve-racking experience .

4. Are Impeccably Organized with Keen Attention to Detail

business taxes are a big job with a draw of moving parts. There ’ s information to gather, forms to fill out, deadlines to meet … it ’ s a lot to keep lead of, which is why it ’ s so crucial to hire an accountant who is fabulously organized with a acute attention to detail .
As mentioned, making mistakes on your taxes can cost your clientele big-time. so when you hire a tax accountant, you need to feel convinced that they can manage the stallion process from beginning to end. And, more importantly, that they can manage the action without making any mistakes .
A full accountant will have a goofproof organizational system for managing their clients come tax time—including going through every form with a fine-toothed comb to make sure no iodine ’ mho are left undotted or thyroxine ’ second uncrossed .

tax professional5. Have High-Level Communication Skills

obviously, you need to hire a tax accountant who is great with numbers. But slenderly less obvious is that you need to hire a tax accountant with excellent communication skills .
Getting your taxes done can be a complex, drawn-out and sometimes nerve-racking process. And that march will be immeasurably more nerve-racking if you work with an accountant who doesn ’ metric ton communicate with you .
A well accountant should foster open communication, keep you up-to-date on what ’ s going on with your taxes and make themselves available to answer any questions you might have about the process .

6. Are a Personality Match

You ’ re going to be working close with your accountant throughout tax season and possibly throughout the year. So why not workplace with person you like ?
Finding a tax accountant that you get along with can make the process of doing your business taxes a much more enjoyable experience .
You don ’ t have to be BFFs or anything like that, but if you can find an accountant whose personality meshes with yours, it ’ randomness decidedly a bonus.

7. Can Represent You in an Audit

In a perfective global, you wouldn ’ triiodothyronine get audited—especially after you hire an accountant to manage your taxes. But we don ’ thyroxine live in a arrant universe, so when you hire a tax accountant, you want to make surely they have the necessity credentials to represent you in an audit .
There are three types of tax professionals who can represent you in an audit : a certify public accountant ( CPA ), an enroll agent ( EA ) or an lawyer. If you hire a professional without one of those credentials, you run the risk of having to handle the IRS on your own .

How to Find a Good Accountant

once you decide you need an accountant ( and you know the traits you should look for ), it ’ randomness time to actually go out there and find them. But how, precisely, do you do that ?
There are a few different avenues you can explore to find a ace tax accountant, including :

1. Ask for Referrals

Getting a referral from person you know and confidence is one of the best ways to find a quality bill. Tap into your network and ask your colleagues, friends, and family if they have any tax accountants they can recommend .

2. Tap into Professional Organizations

professional organizations are another capital rate to find qualified accounting professionals .
Reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of local anesthetic tax accountants or tap into one of the many professional networks ( like the National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Association of Enrolled Agents or the american Institute of Certified Public Accountants ) that cater to tax professionals .

3. Seek out Experts/Thought Leaders

In addition to providing tax cooking services, there are plenty of tax accountants out there who go the extra mile to establish themselves as finance leaders or thought experts in the space. For example, an accountant might write a tax advice column for the local wallpaper or host a web log on all things business finance .
If person does the work to provide education and data to the public ( and you find that information helpful ), consider them an option worth exploring .

4. Read Online Reviews

You should always take on-line reviews with a ingrain of strategic arms limitation talks. But if there ’ s a local anesthetic tax professional with hundreds of five-star reviews across Yelp, Google and other recapitulation sites, they at least warrant an exploratory telephone bid. ( Bonus : on-line reviews can besides give you insights into tax professionals you don ’ triiodothyronine want to work with. )

How to Vet Your Tax Accountant

once you ’ ve got a solid list of electric potential tax professionals, you need to vet them to figure out which are the best paroxysm for you .
To vet your tax accountants, you ’ ll need to :

1. Figure out the Best Type of Tax Professional for You

As mentioned, there are three types of tax professionals you ’ ll want to consider for your business taxes : CPAs, EAs, and attorneys. none of them are necessarily “ better ” than the other, but understanding the differences can help you figure out the best tax professional for you and your business .

  • Enrolled agents (EAs) are tax professionals that go through a licensing process with the IRS (which includes thorough background checks, an exam or at least five years of experience working at the IRS and continuing education requirements). The benefit of working with an EA is that their business is focused entirely on taxes (unlike CPAs and attorneys, who may also practice in other areas)
  • Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are accountants who have been certified by the state after passing their qualifying exams and satisfying their education and experience requirements. CPAs are true professionals when it comes to accounting and can often advise you on other financial issues. Not all CPAs, however, specialize in taxes, so it’s important to ask about their experience with small business taxes before you work with them
  • Tax attorneys are lawyers who specialize in tax law. While having an attorney prepare your taxes is often unnecessary (and more expensive than other options), they can definitely be helpful if your taxes are extremely complex or you’ve had issues with the IRS in the past

2. Write Your Interview Questions

Before you start talking to tax professionals, you need to know what you ’ re going to say. Writing out your interview questions ahead of time will ensure you get all the data you need to make an inform decisiveness on whether an accountant is a right suit for you and your commercial enterprise .
Some questions you should consider asking during your accountant consultation include :

  • What do your services include?
  • Do you have experience working with small businesses?
  • Do you have experience within my industry?
  • What are your fees?
  • How do you bill for your tax preparation services? (e.g., is there an upfront cost or do you pay for your taxes upon completion?)
  • What’s your preferred method of communication? How long does it take for you to respond to e-mails, phone calls, etc.?
  • Are there any other financial services you offer to small businesses? If so, what are they? (Only relevant if speaking to a tax attorney or CPA)
  • Will you represent my business in the event of an audit?

3. Interview Multiple Accountants

once you know what kind of tax master you want to work with—and what questions you want to ask—it ’ mho clock to actually start the interview work .
In order to get a very sense of what ’ s out there and what different professionals have to offer, you should plan on interviewing multiple accountants .
While there ’ s no magic trick numeral, interviewing four to five accountants will give you plenty of data to work with and help you better evaluate each tax professional .

4. Ask for Client Referrals

Any tax accountant you speak to is going to try to sell you their services. indeed even if they say everything you want to hear, you need to take it with a grain of salt .
Asking for customer referrals is a great room to get better penetration into what it ’ s actually like to work with that tax accountant. Former and/or stream clients can tell you about their communication style, the timbre of their service and any issues they had during their work relationship .
Any estimable tax accountant will be confident in their clients ’ satisfaction and felicitous to put you in touch with them. If they ’ rhenium not and refuse to connect you with any of their early or stream clients consider it a bolshevik masthead .

Choosing the Right Tax Accountant for You

You ’ ve narrowed down the pool of potential tax accountants. You ’ ve interviewed them, asked for references, and reviewed their credentials and services. But how do you choose the good accountant for you ?
If you can ’ thymine decide which tax professional is right for you, some extra factors you might want to consider include :

1. Fees

The cost shouldn ’ metric ton be the only factor you consider when choosing a tax accountant—but it surely plays a partially. While you don ’ triiodothyronine want to cut corners when it comes to doing your business taxes, you besides don ’ thymine want to put yourself in debt. Make sure when you ’ re hiring a tax accountant that their fees are in line with your budget .

2. Availability

Some accountants get wholly swamped during tax season and might not have the handiness to give your taxes the time and attention they deserve. Before you hire a tax accountant, make sure to ask about their handiness, the rush of their communication ( you don ’ triiodothyronine want your e-mails to go unanswered for days ! ), and how much clock time they have for things like reviewing paperwork or answering tax-related questions .

3. Experience with Your Industry

While a tax accountant doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate indigence to have experience within your industry, it surely doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate hurt ! If you ’ re having a hard time narrowing down potential tax accountants, experience within your industry should decidedly move an accountant further up the list .

Know the Traits to Look for in a Tax Accountant—and Use Them to Find the Right Tax Accountant for Your Business

not every minor business wants or needs to hire an accountant to handle their taxes. But if you do need a short extra subscribe when tax time rolls around, you now have the tools you need to find, vet and hire the best accountant for you and your business.

how to find a good accountant
This post was updated in January 2022 .
Reviewed for accuracy by Janet Berry-Johnson, CPA .

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Category : Finance

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