As a hardworking taxpayer, it can be challenging to navigate the complexities of the tax system, while ensuring you’re making the most of a favorable tax situation. That’s where a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) comes in.
What sets CPAs apart from other tax specialists? CPAs are licensed, certified professionals who have achieved specialized higher education and extensive training in tax laws, regulations and preparation. They’re also required to complete annual Certified Professional Education (CPE) to maintain their certification.
But does that mean a CPA is the right fit for you? Here are some factors to consider when choosing a tax professional:
Experience and specialization. How long have they been in practice? Do they have any additional certifications? How have they helped other clients with similar challenges? These factors can give you confidence in their ability to provide you with accurate and reliable tax advice. Ask for client testimonials and referrals to get a better sense of their track record and performance.
Look for CPAs who specialize in areas that align with your needs. For example, if you’re a dental practice owner, you may benefit from a firm with experience providing tax services to similar businesses in your industry.
According to Magone & Co client and business owner, Kristi T., “In addition to filing our tax returns, the advice and guidance they provide for my businesses at a CFO level is truly valuable. The team is professional, pleasant, knowledgeable and proactive to help me with my business needs.”
Communication. Effective communication is key to any professional relationship. You want a firm that values open and transparent communication, actively listens to your concerns, explains complex tax concepts in laymen’s terms, and provide personalized advice that’s tailored to your needs. (Remember, you’re not the tax expert; they are.)
Availability. Consider a firm’s responsiveness and availability. Are they prompt in returning your calls and emails? Do they schedule regular meetings to review your financial situation and discuss any changes? Is there a set timeline of when your needs will be met? It’s essential to make sure all parties are on the same page, so you feel assured they’ll be there to assist you.
Security. All CPA firms should have proven strategies and procedures in place to safeguard your personal information. Is there a secure process for uploading documents? Are there encryption systems to regulate access to the data? Be sure you have peace of mind knowing who has access to your files.
For example, Magone & Co client, Nadja D. shares, “I currently reside outside the U.S. and have to coordinate two tax returns. I love the process that they have in place as I can securely submit everything electronically, which is a huge help. It’s a very well-organized office.”
Pricing structure. Get a clear picture of the value a CPA firm delivers and your potential return on investment. Inquire about their pricing structure and services included in their fees. Does the firm wish to build an ongoing consultative relationship, or do they seem solely interested in transactional services such as tax return preparation?
Consider the value of a financial and tax team that knows your unique situation, understands your priorities, meets with you regularly and can proactively seek out opportunities to lower your tax burden and get you closer to your financial goals faster.
For example, if you fall into the “sandwich generation,” you may find yourself simultaneously caring for aging parents while putting kids through college. CPAs who also hold the CFP financial planning designation can help you sort out strategies that don’t put your own retirement at risk.
The bottom line
Look for a firm that treats you as more than just a number — one that has a genuine interest in serving you. We’d love to see if Magone & Company is the right fit for you, so reach out today for a consultation.