Shopping for an Accountant ? Here are some things to guide you along the way!

Dealing with taxes and bookkeeping can be a tricky task. It’s important to find the right person to give you a hand. Finding the right accountant can save you money and time year after year. Here are some of the hard-hitting questions you should ask when looking for an accountant to insure they meet all your financial needs.

What kind of clients do you have experience with?

When you are looking for an accountant you want to make sure they can meet your individual needs. Taxes can be a lot to navigate through. It’s important your potential accountant has experience in your area. If you’re an individual, non- profit or small business there may be different tricks and rules needed. For instance, restaurants have different requirements for wages and tips versus real estate has requirements as to how income is recorded. An account with experience in your area will know the ins and outs of what is required and can better meet your needs.

What is your availability like/ are you open year-round?

As you begin your search, it is crucial that you know if your potential accountant is open year-round. Some accounting practices will open just before tax season begins and shut their doors just after. Time is critical, if you require HST filling or other government documents then a practice that is only open during tax season probably won’t suit your needs. It’s important you find a representative.

How often will you communicate about tax issues?

Frequency communication will vary depending on the accountant. It is key that you inquire about your prospective accountants’ approach to communication, as well as their method of communication. Remember you want to feel comfortable calling or emailing them at any time with any questions or tax issues.

Who will be doing the work?

I know this sounds pretty basic ,but, when dealing with larger accounting practices they often transfer the work between different staff within the practice. This sometimes can make it difficult as it’s not just on person you are dealing with. Make sure you ask and know who you are to be dealing with to avoid communication confusion.

What type of services do you offer?

It’s good to look at the practice as a whole; know exactly what they can offer and what you need. This will help you when looking to the future when selecting an accountant. It’s important to look at how they can help you grow. When you grow do they still offer the support you will need?

Will you speak to the CRA on my behalf?

Getting audited can happen from time to time and it can be intimidating having to deal with it on your own. Your accountant is the one with the background and information to make audits a breeze.  Make sure to check your potential accountants’ policy of communicating with the CRA.

What will you need from me?

I know that sounds like a basic question but it really is crucial, at the end of the day a relationship is a two-way street. You need to know what they need from you in order to get the job done. Most accountants will provide you with a checklist to make it simple and clear. Its also important to ask for timing on when they need things so you are all on the same page and can make it as smooth as possible.

All in all, make sure you shop around and find an accountant that fits your needs. It’s important you feel comfortable and trust you accountant, so don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and take your time. Not every shoe fits the same!

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