You’ve decided to set out to find a CPA that fits you best. There are some basic things to research after selecting a few, for example, is he or she even licensed to be a CPA? After researching the general things, you’ll find that all CPAs do different things, so you’ll need to find a CPA who fits you personally and professionally.
- What are his hours? Do they fit yours? Make sure you can meet and talk to your CPA. You should also be able to easily reach him with any questions or concerns. Also find out if his office is open year-round or just during tax season.
- You may need services that require you to include either a reviewed or audited financial statement. Ask the CPA him if he participates in a peer review or a quality review program. Ask for the year and month of his or her last one. And don’t forget to ask about the results of his most recent review.
- Some CPAs are authorized to perform a spectrum of accounting services, including signing reports on attest engagements. Attest engagements include an audit, a review of financial statements, or an examination of prospective financial information. Others may be authorized to do a full range of accounting services. These are accounting, compilation preparation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax and consulting services. They are not, however, authorized to sign reports on attest engagements.
- Section 54.1 of the California Board of Accountancy Regulations state that no confidential information obtained by a licensee may be disclosed without the client’s consent. Double-check and make sure that the CPA will not disclose any of your confidential information to people or entities outside of the United States. This includes outsourcing the accounting work. These types of financial services can include tax preparation. These CBA regulations, however, only affect CPAs with licenses of the California Board of Accountancy.
- If a CPA prepares your tax refund and offers you a Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL), the CPA must comply with disclosure requirements set by the California Accountancy Act and CBA regulations. An RAL is a loan that lets taxpayers borrow against the anticipated income tax refund.
- Make sure you know who you’re working with. Before any work is done by a CPA, you need to know who exactly will be doing the work. You need to know if the work is solely done by the CPA whether some, or even all the work is outsourced, or even if he or she has an assistant. If the work is outsourced, confirm that all personal and private information is secure. Don’t forget to ask about the specific cost of each service.