How to find a good business CPA?

DBE Series 5

Don’t put that negative expectation out there. There are more hard-working and honest CPAs out there than not. Don’t fool yourself into think that CPAs are just needed for tax time, either. You need to fold these professionals into how you run your business. You need your CPA to review your books with you at least 4x per year – once per quarter so that you’re not caught off guard at the end of the year.  

You want to review your books with them at least quarterly because this gives you a chance to course-correct earlier than later. The last thing you want to do is wait until the end of the year or for the following April of the next year to find out if you made money or not. When reviewing your books with a CPA throughout the year, you can strategize with them exactly what needs to be done to turn around your business when facing challenges.

Here’s another powerful strategy. Have the CPA review your costing sheet. Have them make sure that you’re covering all of your bases, especially for bidding. CPAs are excellent all year round. CPAs can help you save money on business expenses too! Here’s my article that talks all about how to cut expenses.

Here are the steps to finding a good CPA.

Step 1: The best way to find good CPAs is to ask your successful colleagues – the people you know and trust in your same industry to find out who they work with. You might be tempted to reach out to family and friends for who they use personally. That’s just OK but know that it’s best to work with someone you 1) TRUST and 2) has excellent experience in your industry. You need both. If you try to work with someone who doesn’t specialize in your industry, you’re paying extra for their learning curve.   

Step 2: Once you’ve got a collection of referrals, I’d say to get on the internet and do some research.  

For the CPA, in the Google search bar, type in the name of your state and license lookup. 

  1. For Connecticut, where I am, the search is on the official government website for Connecticut. Search for the CPA and make sure they have an active license to do business in your state.  
  2. If your friend referred a CPA to you that is not licensed, you might want to go the extra step and let them know if you find something off.
  3. Finally, when you interview with a couple of CPAs to choose from, let’s be reasonable here. We’re not CPAs, and some business strategy they talk about can go over our heads – that’s absolutely true for me. Let’s be real here. You and I can feel when we’re glazing over. Pay attention to see if the CPA sees you glazing throughout, and second, pay attention to see if they adjust the conversation, perhaps pausing, checking in with you to know if you understand or if you have questions, or possibly tossing the jargon aside. You really want to have a CPA that knows that the value they bring to the table is meant to serve you and help you grow your business. Beyond tax laws or tax breaks, you must click with this CPA, trust them, and feel really good about working with them.  

Published by Janet Johnson | Financial Coach for Small Businesses

Janet Johnson is the author of My Money Pivot: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Finding & Making More Money. Before becoming a coach, Janet gained seventeen years of experience in a family-owned manufacturing company. She also trained small business owners in Financial Management and Lean Enterprise for seven years through contracts with the State of Connecticut and the Small Business Administration for seven years.

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