How to Pick a World-Class Tax Professional or Rate Your Existing CPA


If you’re outsourcing tax preparation then you’ve likely got at least a few documents and receipts that need to get to your accountant. There are three common methods of getting the necessary materials to your tax accountant, but not all are created equal. The information in the database is provided by the State Boards of Accountancy, and all fifty states with the exception of Delaware, Hawaii, and Utah participate in providing with licensing data.

An adding new users in xero may pursue additional certifications to further their careers such as Chartered Financial Analyst , Certified Management Accountant , Certified Internal Auditor , and Certified Fraud Examiner . Hopefully you have thought about an accountant before tax season, but just in case you’re scrambling now, here are four tips to consider in your search for a business CPA. How easy will it be to get in touch with the individual in charge of your account when you have questions or need financial advice?

To assure that they stay current on developments in the field and maintain their licenses in Louisiana, CPAs are required to complete a minimum of 80 hours of continuing education each 2-year period. In addition, members of the Society of Louisiana CPAs are obliged to adhere to a code of professional ethics. E.A.s are federally licensed tax practitioners who are authorized to advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals and businesses.

These terms of service (“Terms”) cover your use and access to our services, client software and websites (“Services”). We use CountingWorks, Inc. as our technology platform to enable us to provide our services in a secure environment. By using our Services, you’re agreeing to be bound by these Terms, and our Privacy Policy. If you’re using our Services for an organization, you’re agreeing to these Terms on behalf of that organization. How available are the members of the firm, even during the busy tax season? If an emergency or urgent need arose, how responsive would the firm be?


These classes keep CPAs up-to-date on issues or changes. Some changes may benefit your business, while others won’t. Part of your accountant’s job is keeping up with tax law changes and leveraging them to save you money.

Big Misconceptions That Hinder Small Business Growth

The right accountant will be the professional whose financial advice will guide you through long-term decisions for your business and be your guidance through legal statutes at tax time every year. A good accountant will have the credentials to back up their knowledge and experience with business taxes. Ask if they have a Preparer Tax Identification Number . The IRS requires a PTIN for anyone getting paid to help file taxes for others. If you’re not having luck with local referrals, look online for accountants in your area and use online reviews about their services to guide your selection. Forums and other online communities like Yelp, LinkedIn, or local Facebook groups can be helpful resources.


If your return is relatively simple, someone with just a couple of years of experience under their belt should be capable of handling it. But if your return is complicated or you’ve had problems with the I.R.S. in the past, you might want someone more experienced. Unfortunately, just about anyone can become a paid tax preparer. Most states have few to no requirements for certification, training, or even competency testing. All features, services, support, prices, offers, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

There are many options for tax filing, from using software like TurboTax, filing your own taxes, or using a general accountant. But using a CPA means our advisers have gone through rigorous standards including a full year of professional experience, passing scores on the Uniform CPA Examination, as well as an Ethics Course in Texas. While using a CPA may cost more money up front, here at Chandler and Knowles we can save you more on your taxes through techniques and strategies honed over years of experience. CPAs can specialize in a range of accounting areas, including business, government, and forensic accounting, as well as tax preparation. For preparing and filing your personal taxes, consider finding a CPA who specializes in individual income tax returns. Small businesses should consider hiring a CPA if they expect business growth along the way.

Pine and Co. CPAs

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According to the IRS, an audit is a review/examination of financial information to verify that the reported amount of tax is correct. Audits are selected at random and via computer screening based on a statistical formula. Basically, if your tax return greatly differs from “norms” for similar returns, then it sets off an alarm. If you’re looking for a tax accountant, you’ll want to first determine out what you need them to do for you. Whether you’re looking to file back taxes, pay off a tax debt, or fight an audit, you should make sure that any accountant you’re considering working in specializes in that area. You should also ensure that anyone you hire has a Preparer Tax Identification Number .

You not only want someone who knows their stuff, but someone who you can understand and work with. ” you need to be thinking about using that person as a resource for building your own tax knowledge for yourself or your business. Translating tax code into common vernacular is a necessary part of that. You should also check their qualifications and make sure you know how much it will cost to hire them. Ask if you can meet with a CPA, an EA, or a senior tax preparer if you decide to use one of these services.

Why You Need a Small-Business CPA

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The National Association of Enrolled Agents (N.A.E.A.) maintains a directory of E.A.s. You can search the directory by location, specialties, language, experience, and more. The choice between TurboTax vs. a CPA when preparing your returns is often based on time, money and financial complexity. Both are good options, but most investors favor one or the other based on their personal needs and comfort level. For many, hiring a CPA is a wise choice to ensure that you take advantage of every tax deduction that you’re eligible for. If you fall into that category then you may want to consult with a financial advisor to help you make the right tax choices. CPAs act as advisers to individuals, businesses, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies on a wide range of financial matters.

Download the PDF: “32 Jobs Your Child Can Perform in Your Business”

Every profession has its ethics which members must strictly adhere to. There are ethical standards in the accounting profession. Therefore, CPAs must adhere to these high ethical standards to maintain professional integrity. They must avoid conflicts of interest and act in the best interests of their clients. Additionally, they must act honestly according to all applicable laws and regulations.

You also don’t want to have to pay for time spent with an “account manager” who always has to go to the expert for the answer. In addition to searching for, “tax advisors near me,” consider consulting the IRS’ Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. In that event, you’ll want a qualified tax professional like a CPA to represent you before the IRS or Tax Court. They can gather your documentation used to prepare your return and deal with the IRS directly if you authorize them to do so on your behalf.


Those who wish to become CPAs must complete 150 hours of coursework during college, including upper-level accounting, business classes, and auditing. First and foremost, you can spend less time worrying about your taxes and more time running your business. Additionally, at Sharon H. Lyall, CPA, we take pride in finding potential tax-savings opportunities for our clients. Not all business expenses are one hundred percent deductible—for instance, meals and entertainment expenses, business travel, and any that are mixed-use home office items, such as cell phone or internet service. An accountant’s tax advice ensures you properly calculate which percentage to deduct depending on how frequently you use the item for work.

Check with your state or national associations.

• Enrolled agents and CPAs specialize in helping with tax return preparation and filing, while tax attorneys provide legal advice and representation before the IRS and Tax Court. Today’s tax preparation software is intuitive and user-friendly. And, in some cases, it’s just a consumer-friendly version of the same tax software that your CPA uses. Purchasing software like TurboTax is affordable and available at many online and in-person retail stores.

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