Don’t you hate it when you really want to work on growing your business, but there’s a TON of accounting paperwork waiting for you on the table? Especially during tax season, when you know you can’t put it off any longer. But… it takes forever, and your newly hired tax accountant is not answering your phone calls – again. Urghh… how do you get out of this mess???
A lot of times, business owners do not put in enough thought into selecting an accountant. There are so many entrepreneurs we’ve met who just hired the first person they saw on Google or the friend of a friend of a friend who did accounting for someone’s sister (you get the idea). The issue is, accounting is a vital part of your business, and not only is a good accountant essential for filing taxes, a great accountant is someone who can also provide constant value to you and your business. We know that it’s not easy to sift through numerous options to find the best one, so to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 6 important signs to know when you have discovered a good tax accountant.
1) He is punctual
And this does not only apply to appointments and meetings. It also means that he never misses deadlines, and provides you with updates on his progress consistently. Missing deadlines can be disruptive for your business, especially with CRA deadlines, which can lead to penalties. When interviewing an accountant, make sure that he is always punctual, as this signifies good time management and proper respect for both yours and his time.
2) He is responsive
Nothing annoys a client more than trying to reach his/her service provider, and could never receive a reply. CPAs are not known for their communication skills, and things can get worse during tax season, where they might leave you hanging for days. It is understandable that popular tax accountants have busy schedules, and may not have time to get back to you immediately. However, a professional who has his clients’ best interests at heart will always do his best to provide good service, and that includes replying to inquiries in a timely manner. To gauge if the person you’re considering is a good accountant, see how long he takes to reply to your messages each time and find out how he plans to handle customer care during the busy season. A great CPA will have supportive measures set up to ensure that his clients are well taken care of at all times.
3) He is detail-oriented
Accountants deal with numbers, and not just any numbers, but numbers related to your business finances. When it involves something so sensitive, you better make sure that your CPA pays close attention to every detail. Even the slightest miss can result in a difference in your financial statements. So, when searching for an accountant, find someone who is always specific in what he says, instead of a person who likes using phrases like “it’s good enough”, or “close enough”. That’s a surefire sign of a careless person, and not someone you would want to hire.
4) He has integrity
When operating a business, you want someone with integrity working on your team. How do you recognize good principles in a tax accountant? Here are 3 traits that you can look for:
– He doesn’t make empty claims
There are CPAs who guarantee huge returns in order to land a client, even before they have gone through the prospect’s financial situation. This is not reasonable – before reviewing your previous returns, and going through the different factors that can affect your taxes, no accountant can make claims of a specific return amount. Someone who does that is either boasting and therefore not trustworthy; or participates in dishonest activities. Which brings us to the next point:
– He stays away from fraudulent activities
Maximizing tax return is one thing, but doing so in illegal ways can result in major repercussions to your business and reputation. Step away from anyone who even hints at such possibilities, and stick to professionals who abide by the law.
– He is discreet
Good tax accountants don’t just have one client, and usually, you would find someone who has experience with organizations in your industry and of your size. A professional CPA is someone who can provide you with valuable advice, but never reveals anything confidential about his other clients.
Since accounting is such a sensitive part of your business, you would want someone with the highest integrity working for you. So, lookout for people who possess all of these 3 qualities.
5) He is proactive
A good accountant doesn’t wait for his clients to reach out to him; he takes the initiative to contact them consistently. Even before you sign on to his services, he would clearly define the amount of communication and updates that he’d like to maintain with you. When you hire a good CPA, he will regularly go through your files, and give you useful recommendations for improving your finances. Remember that a tax accountant’s job is not just to file returns, but also to provide specialized knowledge to his clients – i.e. you.
6) He is savvy
With tax rules changing all the time, and new technology developing regularly, an accountant needs to be constantly learning to keep himself updated. If you want to see if you’re hiring a good person, check if he is up-to-date with the latest regulations and industry knowledge, and find out if he is proficient with modern accounting software.
These are the 6 key traits that you should look for to recognize a good CPA. Finding an accountant can be a taxing duty (pun intended), but once you’ve found one, it will lead to a profitable relationship in the long run. Therefore, make sure that you evaluate each candidate carefully before making any hiring decisions.