If you need help with your business taxes and are wondering how to find good CPA firms near you, you’re not alone.
When it comes to financial services, there are many different types of firms available to choose from. So if you are looking for CPA firms near you and you want to make sure you choose one that can provide the best possible service, you need to understand the key aspects that will make it a valuable asset.
What is a CPA?
A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a licensed professional who is qualified to provide accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services.
CPAs play a vital role in the financial world. They help businesses and individuals stay compliant with tax laws, prepare financial statements, and provide strategic guidance. They also audit financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and reliable.
CPAs must pass a rigorous examination and meet certain educational and experience requirements. Keep this in mind when researching CPA firms near you.
For example, if you are looking for the best CPA in Houston, you need to make sure the CPA is licensed by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy by checking the board’s website to verify a CPA’s license.
How to Find Qualified CPA Firms Near You
Let us walk you through a five-step process to find qualified CPA firms near you.
Step 1: Narrow your search
Check the IRS directory and review online directories.
You can consult some notable tax and accounting associations:
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
- Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA).
- National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP).
- National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants (NSBCPA).
- National Society of Enrolled Agents (NAEA).
- The International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA).
Step 2: Verify their credentials
Checking someone’s records may seem like a hassle, but it can help you identify potential red flags, such as a lapsed license or disciplinary actions taken against them. It can also protect you from working with unlicensed scammers who claim to be CPAs.
How to ensure the CPA’s information is up to date?
- Look for a preparer tax identification number (PTIN).
- Review their standing and license.
- Ask if they’re insured.
Step 3: Make sure they’re a good fit
Before you choose between the CPA firms near you, it is important to ask them some basic questions about their process and how they will work with you.
Here are some questions you may want to ask:
- Do you specialize in a specific area of taxation? This is important to know if you have a specific tax issue that you need help with.
- How much experience do you have? This will give you an idea of the CPA’s expertise and qualifications.
- How will we communicate? Will you be communicating via email, phone, or in person?
- How will you let me know when my return is ready? Will you send me an email or give me a call?
- Can I come to you with tax questions outside of tax season? This is important if you have ongoing tax needs.
- Can you provide other types of tax advice or tax planning? This is important if you are looking for more than just tax preparation services.
- How do I contact you if I have any questions? Make sure you have a way to reach the CPA if you have any questions or concerns.
- How will you transmit my refund? Will you send it directly to me or to my bank account?
Step 4: Review their fees
The cost of hiring a CPA varies depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of your tax situation, the CPA’s experience and expertise, and the location of the CPA’s firm.
Here are some of the most common fee structures used by CPAs:
- Flat fee: This is a set fee that is charged regardless of the complexity of the return. This is the most common fee structure for simple returns.
- Form-based fee: This is a fee that is charged for each form that is required to complete your return. This is a good option if you have a complex return with many forms.
- Hourly rate: This is a fee that is charged for the amount of time that the CPA spends on your return. This is a good option if you have a very complex return or if you need ongoing tax advice.
When choosing CPA firms near you, it is important to ask about their fee structure and to get everything in writing, including the scope of services, the fees, and the timeline.
Step 5: Do a final check
Here are some final questions you can ask a CPA to ensure that they are the right person for the job:
- Will you sign my return? All tax preparers, including CPAs, should always sign a return and include their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). This ensures that the IRS knows who prepared your return and that you are working with a qualified professional.
- Can you represent me in an audit? CPAs have unlimited representation rights, which means they can go to the IRS on your behalf to represent you for things like audits or other tax issues.
- Will you e-file my return? The IRS requires that all tax preparers who file more than 11 returns e-file them. E-filing is faster and more efficient than mailing your return, and it can help to prevent errors. If one of the CPA firms near you does not e-file, it may be a sign that they are not up-to-date on the latest tax regulations.
Take the time to study CPA firms near you and review their work carefully to help ease your worries next tax season.