How to Find the Best CPA

Do you cringe when you hear the word ‘taxes’? If it sends panic down your spine, why not find a CPA to help you? If you can’t handle the stress, don’t understand the laws and regulations, or just don’t have time to deal with it, consider hiring a CPA to help.

While you can turn up hundreds of suggestions with a quick Google search, we’re providing the top ways to find the best CPA near you.


Ask for Referrals

People love to talk about their good (and bad) experiences with businesses in the area. If you know family or friends that used an accountant recently, ask about their experience. What did they like and dislike? Don’t limit your list to family and friends; ask professionals in the area too – your lawyer, doctor, or someone you regularly do business with may have a great recommendation too.


Look at your State Directories

Check with your state Board of Accountancy. Many have lists of licensed CPAs in the state. You may have to do a little legwork yourself, determining if they prepare taxes as not all do, but it’s a good start, knowing that they are certified.


Look at your State CPA Societies

The American Institute of CPAs put together a list of state CPA links that may also get you started. Review your state’s listings and do the legwork, looking at reviews, and talking to the CPAs yourself to see if they are a good fit for your needs.


Vetting your Choices

We recommend you narrow down your CPA choices to three. This gives you enough of a comparison without overwhelming yourself. For all three options do the following:

  • Read reviews – Make sure you read a lot of them. Don’t read the first one or two, as they may be overly positive or overly negative and not how the average person feels about them.
  • Look up certifications – Make sure any CPA you take time to talk to has the right certifications, including the right to prepare taxes.
  • Conduct an interview – You are hiring a CPA to work for you, so you have the right to interview him/her. Ask questions about how they run their practice, what they normally focus on, how they bill, and who will prepare your return.

Take the answers you receive from each CPA and compare them to one another. Don’t focus only on the prices they charge or the specialties they have. Look at the big picture. Ideally, you want the CPA that offers what you need, specializes in your industry/needs, and charges what you can afford. If you don’t find it within the three you chose, start the process again.

Finding the best CPA takes time, but once you find him/her, you’ll likely have a lifetime relationship. Remember a CPA manages your finances and gives you big advice on how to proceed. You want someone you can trust and can see yourself working with long-term, not as a one-off service.


Disclosure: This article is not to be taken as investment advice and should not be relied on for such advice or as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting, tax, legal, insurance, or financial professional. The observations made in external articles are independent of Wimple and should not be read as financial recommendations.

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