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What to look for in an accountant?

I'm going to be in the market for a general accountant to handle payroll, taxes, etc. I've never used an accountant before. Is there anything I should look out for? - by Mikey
I'm going to be in the market for a general accountant to handle payroll, taxes, etc. I've never used an accountant before. Is there anything I should look out for?
1) I'd go for a CPA--they have to meet higher standards than an "accountant", including the ability to practice before the IRS (in case you are audited). (source: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p947.pdf)
2) Make sure your CPA is licensed in your state.
3) Interview them and ask specifically about things like what business deductions are allowed. From their answers, you'll be able to deduce how aggressive they are in interpreting the IRS rules -- the more aggressive, the lower your taxes but potentially the higher risk of audit. Less aggressive means they are playing it safe. Then decide if they fit your style.

Peace,
Terri Z - by Terri Zwierzynski
Mikey,

I agree with TerriZ - a CPA is the way to go for taxes. If you have regular tasks that don't require a CPA, like closing the books each month, etc. you could also hire a bookkeeper for the regular tasks. Your CPA should be involved in strategic decisions like setting up a General Ledger, and the CPA can do year-end adjustments and your taxes.

You might also want to talk to other business people you know, your attorney if you have one, your banker, etc. to get recommendations. And, since fees can vary widely, I'd take a close look at that issue, also. You don't have to pay a CPA $250 an hour to get good service.

Good luck,

Kathleen - by KSA-Mktg
Thanks for your posts Terri and Kathleen, they were very helpful. :) - by Mikey
The most important for an accountant is to pass all those qualifications mentioned by Terriz. Our accountant in my company have beauty and brain. That's what makes her great.:thu - by shinningstar
IJ agree with Terris and Kathleen.

All the best Mikeythmbp2; - by Snowboy
Have to agree with Terri -- a licensed CPA in your state is the smart way to go. One question that does come to mind is how to negotiate the accountant salary (i.e. what benchmark should we use? better to use an external source or hire exclusively?)

Best of luck Mikey!

John - by burkster_73
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