Before you employ a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or your company accountant, sit up face to face and have a conversation. Get to know the person that you are going to work with and possibly trust to give you good tax advice. Asking the right questions will give you plenty of useful knowledge about this tax professional and accountant.
Tell how the business charges customers and about ways to pay. Many companies bill hourly but businesses also get a monthly rate. Say what is on a monthly basis. One CPA could describe it as reporting cash receipts and disbursements in accounting software while another could also involve preparing monthly newsletter reports, reviewing the bank statement and writing a profit and loss report for you. Tariffs alone should not be the deciding factor in recruiting a company; you need to know exactly what to expect.
Most CPAs and accounting firms provide a range of services ranging from assisting with monthly bookkeeping and payroll processing/payroll taxes, and audits and audit coverage. If the companies have many practitioners they are likely to specialize. When you are searching for an all-in-one service, it is best to have a CPA than an accountant, as CPAs are eligible to do more, like representing you at a tax audit.
Ask if that person is capable of representing you in an IRS audit. Most CPAs are eligible to represent clients in front of the IRS, although not all are. Also, ask how many tax audits that individuals took part in. You might never be audited but it's a bonus to have someone by your side who knows what to expect from the IRS.
Ask about this firm's experience with your form of company. Not all forms of company are done in the same manner from an accounting and tax point of view and it is very important to have a firm that understands your profession. For example, if you are a healthcare professional (chiropractor, acupuncturist, physical therapist, psychologist, etc.), your CPA would be familiar with valuing equipment and accounting for receivables from patients.
When the company operates in several states, inquire if the firm will practice in all the states where you have a company. Most states have collective agreements, but they do search anyway.
Most qualified organizations are using email and others are using Skype, teleconferencing and other online services. If you have a business that's not in town, it's important to use those facilities. But for security reasons other older professionals do not feel comfortable emailing. Your interests and those of your CPA will represent how you do business.
Tax consulting is one of the key reasons for hiring a CPA. Ask how much the person suggests a meeting to talk about taxes. You will meet at least mid-year after preparation of the June Financial Statements, and some companies suggest meeting every quarter. Paying a little extra to meet several times a year is much better than waiting until the end of the year and realizing you have a tax problem.
Have an open debate on the philosophy of taxation. Is he cautious, assertive, or hostile about deductions? Travel expenditures and home office deductions are a few useful things to consider as examples. The style and ideology of your CPAs will conform to yours. If you're not feeling at ease with the philosophy of this person then keep looking.