Friday, August 05, 2005

Finding The Right Accountant

by Ron Ameln
The right accountant can minimize your tax bill and find ways to save you money throughout the year. But where can you find one?
Start by networking with others and asking about their experience with accountants. Ask professionals you know and trust—lawyers, bankers and other small-business owners—for referrals.
When interviewing accountants, don’t start by asking how much the firm charges, according to Phil Brumbaugh, an accountant and owner of Philip G. Brumbaugh CPA, CVA. According to Brumbaugh, some good questions to ask are:
* How long has the firm been in business and what is (are) the background(s) of the principle(s)?
* Who will work on my account and how will the contact with the principle be maintained?
* What type and size of businesses does the firm work with?
* Who is an ideal client for the firm? How large are the firm’s largest clients? This is to get an idea on how important you will be to the firm. What will be the firm’s priority when it comes to serving your account compared to other clients?
* What percent of the firm’s tax returns are extended? Will mine be extended if I get the information to the firm on a timely basis?
* What additional services does the firm offer beyond tax and accounting?
* Does the firm have other clients in my industry?
* What is the policy for returning telephone calls and emails?
* What is the firm’s policy regarding interpretation of the tax law? Does it match my philosophy?

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