5 Questions To Ask When Hiring A CPA

Posted on: 18 October 2018


When hiring a certified public accountant (CPA) it is really important to make sure that you can trust the person you're working with. A CPA will be given the entirety of their client's private financial information, and you must be sure that they can be trusted with that information. Here are five questions to ask a potential CPA hire to make sure that they are up to snuff.

1 - What Services Do You Offer Besides Tax Prep? 

When hiring a CPA, it is crucial to understand what kind of work experience he or she has. Where did they go to school? What kind of work do they do throughout the year? Does their office do financial planning throughout the year, or do they have a smaller staff until tax season? Instead of being disappointed after February 15th when your CPA is no longer available, make sure to ask what you can expect the rest of the year.

2 - What Would You Do If We Filed Something Incorrectly On A Tax Return? 

Honesty is key in a good CPA. If, in response to this question, they say something to the effect of 'Why does it matter, as long as you get more in return?', you should walk away -- a CPA like that can get you thrown into jail. Remember, you are basically hiring this person to represent you financially. Is this the type of person you want to fill out paperwork with your name on it? It is important to use discretion. There are many CPA's in the world, but only so many are completely honest.

3 - Who Will I Be Working With? 

A common practice of some CPA's is to take on an individual's case as a team. That may mean that when you have questions you are unable to contact the person you thought you would be working with. Is that a deal breaker for you?

4 - What Are Your Fees? 

Do not be surprised by rising rates or extra costs during tax season. Instead, just ask for clarification about their fees upfront. It is possible to arrange for an FPA or fixed price agreement; this is where you will be paying the same rate throughout the year. Not all companies offer an FPA, but you will never know until you ask.

5 - How Many Clients Like Me Do You Have? 

Sometimes the only good teacher is experience. Make sure that your CPA has dealt with cases like yours and understands your specific needs.