One of the greatest resources for any business is a CPA. Yet, there is often some concern about finding a CPA right away, including how much they’ll cost, hiring the wrong one, or being misled financially. These are all valid concerns.
But even with these concerns, we really can’t stress the importance of having a CPA involved in your business, from day one. Waiting until later can lead to more complicated, more expensive fixes to mistakes which could have been easily avoided with the involvement of a financial professional from the start.
We get that you don’t want to be searching for a new CPA every tax season or overspending on a business accountant can be a serious blow to your finances. We also understand that finding a CPA that you can really trust can be tough. So, we’ve compiled a cheat sheet to find your soulmate CPA or at least one that you can see yourself having a long-term business relationship with. So go ahead, select your potential soulmate CPAs, get to know them, ask the “make or breaks,” and move on to the next if you don’t like what you hear!
Selecting Potential Soulmate CPAs
Like any relationship, look to your friends (and business network) first. Ask around for references, opinions, past experiences with potential CPAs in your industry. Even when you think you have asked everyone, keep asking (the businesses you work closely with, your mentors, the people in your coworking space, everyone) which CPAs they know and love.
Read reviews online from companies who already work (or worked as the case may be) with them. It’s not a violation of trust or unprofessional but will assure yourself that you aren’t wasting your time meeting with firms that just aren’t a good fit for your company.
Research your potential CPAs will allow you to get a sense of the firm before you even meet them, prepare you with questions you will want to ask, and allow you to compare several firms with some emotional distance. This will help you feel secure and confident when you actually start narrowing down all the options of CPAs in your area to the ones you want to get to know.
Get To Know Each Other
Have you narrowed down all your options to the most promise prospects yet? Now, reach out to them!
Don’t be afraid to meet with them, whether virtually or over a coffee, before you settle on a CPA for your business. After all, you wouldn’t start discussing your personal finances on a first date, so get to know your potential CPA away from all the numbers.
You want to make sure you can see your business working with the CPA and that you trust them before the contract is signed because if for whatever reason this doesn’t work out, you will be the one dealing with any consequences that come. So seriously, you must meet or at least virtually meet who you’re considering handing your business’s finance to!
And remember, just like you wouldn’t feel married to someone because you took them on a first date, you shouldn’t feel obliged to do business with every or any CPA you talk to. This date (if that’s what you want to call it) is just to get to know each other and see if you make a good professional match.
What To Bring To Meet Your Potential CPA
Be sure you bring confidence in the decision to find a new CPA! Why are you currently looking for a CPA? What can a CPA do for your business? What do you expect from your CPA? Your answers don’t need to be perfect, but you should have a sense of what your business needs from a CPA.
And if asked any of these questions (a good CPA will, even on a first date), answer openly and transparently about what you’ve found. This gives your potential CPA insight into why you actually reached out to them. You don’t have to go into excruciating detail, but you also don’t need to give the answers you think your potential CPA wants to hear. After all, not all CPAs are the same or equal. If they were, you would be able to choose any CPA and get the same results. So be open about what your business needs from a CPA and see if it reflects what they believe they can provide your business.
But as much as you need to bring confidence in your decision to find a new CPA, you also need to bring questions to decide who is the right CPA for you. So, turn the conversation around and be sure to ask them questions too. Like any other date, you don’t want to leave feeling like you did all the taking. This is your opportunity to ask the questions you need to be answered before you commit as well. So ask questions, ask lots of questions (but know the questions to ask)!
And if a potential CPA doesn’t offer you an opportunity to ask your questions or fails to answer the questions that are asked, it’s a sign! Drop them then and there because this is probably how your business relationship will go with this person as well.
The Questions to Ask
We know getting to know each other can be scary. You don’t want to ask the wrong questions or forget to ask the right ones. So, compiled from years in the accounting industry, here are some questions you should consider asking before working with any potential CPA:
- What licenses or designations do you have?
- How long have you been in accounting?
- Here is what’s going on financially. What would you do if you owned my business?
- How often do you typically check in with your clients?
- Do you outsource any of your work or do you perform all work personally?
- How long do you expect it will take you to do my taxes?
- What do you charge for your services and are these prices negotiable? Can I get this answer in writing?
- I expect to pay X this tax season. As an expert, do you believe that I’m paying too much or too little on my taxes?
The “Make Or Breaks”
We’re serious! Here are the three questions you must ask your potential CPA, no exceptions:
- How would you describe your firm’s culture?
- What systems do you use?
- What industry does your firm specialize in?
Why these questions? Because these are the questions that even if things have gone really great up until now, if both your answers and your potential CPAs answers don’t align, then this business relationship probably won’t be as successful as possible. That’s not to say that if we really try, things can’t work— it will just take more effort which might take energy away from your other works.
Full Transparency: Here Are Our Answers
We know you have a lot of options when it comes to who watches over your financials and possibly have a ton of CPA’s to get to know before you commit to just one That’s why, while we have you here, we want to give you how we answer these “make or breaks.” That’s not to say that we are unwilling to sit down with you over coffee or hop on a call as well (because we would love to schedule this, too!). We just recognize how valuable your time is and don’t want to waste any of it if we aren’t a match!
High Rock Accounting is based on the belief that accounting can and should be done differently. We are not the boring, run of the mill firm that only focuses on the numbers (and we don’t want to be). Instead, we have created an accounting counterculture, which CPAs actually want to work in and clients want to work with (we’re not even kidding). We encourage vacations, we have fun together as a firm, we nurture genuine relationships with our clients, all while managing our clients’ accounts better than those more traditional firms (we’re not even kidding, just ask anyone who works with us).
Just like our culture, our systems differ from your parent’s accountants. High Rock is a technology startup, born from the cloud, that just happens to do accounting. We’re exceptionally proud to say that we are 100 percent cloud-based (in fact, bring your own paper into our office and see the sass that awaits). Even crazier is that our cloud-model is proven to be a more accurate, more reliable and more efficient approach to accounting. Even with these innovations, we are nowhere near done. We are dedicated to continuously innovating accounting solutions to ensure our clients always receive the most accurate, most reliable and most efficient financial care.
At High Rock, we love working with the entrepreneurial community! We love the energy, the ideas, the passion behind the solutions these individuals have created. But we also empathize with the fact that each startup has its own unique needs and challenges. At High Rock, we curate an accounting experience based on the client, rather than squeezing everyone into the same one-size approach because we are accounting experts in the entrepreneurial community, specifically those within the technology industry. But we are accounting experts with experience in various industries.
Remember, you want someone who’s both experienced in your business’s needs and trustworthy. Don’t settle. If you don’t like the answers you hear to these questions, especially the must-ask three, or the answers you hear don’t align with your company’s values, then you should politely start looking for someone else to be your soulmate CPA. We all have one. We just need to find them!