While a good bookkeeper helps keep your finances organized, having a CPA on your team is essential for proper financial management of your business.
A business CPA is a great source of information on common issues like purchasing a big asset, taking out a loan, paying payroll taxes or how to better manage your inventory. However, not all CPAs are created equal. Whether you turn to a small business accounting firm or hire a CPA recommended by your bookkeeper, choosing the right business CPA is one of the most important decisions you will make as a small business owner. To make sure you have the right person working with you and your business, here are 6 questions to guide you.
How long has the CPA/firm been in business?
Make sure you are dealing directly with a licensed CPA. Choose a licensed CPA who has extensive experience working with small businesses owners, someone who will scrutinize business operations, and advise on financial and accounting decisions.
What industries or areas does the CPA specialize in?
Are their services customized to specific industries or business needs? Because every industry is different and each small business is unique, it is important that the CPA fully understands the dynamics of your specific business and industry. This will allow him or her to deliver exceptional results, and will protect your profitability.
What are the common challenges within my industry?
It is important to ask questions to test the CPA’s knowledge and depth of understanding within your industry. Do not assume they are knowledgeable - test them and be proactive. You will prevent headaches down the road!
Who are their current clients? Can I get referrals?
Don’t be afraid to ask for names of a few (at least 3) of their current clients. You want to ask their clients questions on the CPA’s areas of expertise, responsiveness, rates, as well as any challenges they may have faced.
What kind of accounting software do they use?
Is the CPA able to work with QuickBooks or the latest “cloud” accounting software? You want to make sure your CPA is well-equipped to work with the accounting system you already have, or to guide you on what software is best for your business.
How well do they communicate?
If you have limited bookkeeping experience, make sure they can explain to you what they are doing in layman’s terms. Even better, find a CPA who will take the time to teach you as you work together over time.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to spend time asking these questions while selecting a CPA. If the CPA isn’t willing to spend the time to talk with you now, they probably will never give you the time you need in the future.
About Excelsior Growth Fund
Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF) helps businesses in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania grow by providing streamlined access to business loans and advisory services. EGF’s signature product, the EGF SmartLoan™, provides up to $100,000 in fast, transparent, and affordable financing through a secure online platform. Larger loans up to $500,000 are also available. EGF is a nonprofit organization and is certified by U.S. Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Learn more atwww.excelsiorgrowthfund.org.