Finding the Right CPA for You

By Erik Neilson , last updated August 20, 2011

When hiring a CPA, it’s incredibly important to put as much time and effort into your search for a CPA as possible in order to ensure that you end up choosing the right person for you and your situation. The more you’re able to narrow down your search, the more likely it is that you’ll find the person who is right for your individual situation.

Talk to Family and Friends

If you live in an area that is even remotely urban, chances are there are more CPAs to choose from than anyone could ever ask for. As a result, your best bet when narrowing down your search is to talk to friends, family and co-workers about CPAs that they have worked with in the past (or are currently working with). This is a great way to get candid information regarding certain CPAs, and can often lead you towards a good prospect without even having to do any further research. Be careful, however, as many people can get biased after working with a CPA for a long enough period of time. As a result, it’s not uncommon for people to talk up their CPA even if the person isn’t very experienced. So long as you go into getting recommendations with a rational mindset, however, you can gain quite a bit from getting advice from family, friends and co-workers.

Speak to at Least Three Candidates

Hiring a CPA is a big decision, and is one that no one should simply jump into. As a result, you should strive to interview at least three candidates before actually hiring someone. Interviewing candidates is a great way to learn about the different styles that many CPAs have, as each CPA will be unique in how they approach their work. Even if you’ve spoken to someone that you’re impressed with, there is still a good chance that the next person you meet with could impress you even more. As a result, never make a final decision until you’ve spoken to an adequate number of candidates.

Explain Your Situation Thoroughly

In order to get the most out of working with a CPA, you need to ensure that he or she is completely aware of your financial situation before making any decisions. As a result, you should strive to make your financial situation as clear as possible from the beginning, as you’ll want to ensure that the person you hire is comfortable dealing with your individual scenario. Many people are hesitant to explain their finances to someone they’ve just met, and thus hire a CPA that inevitably is unable to help them. Always make your financial situation as clear as possible before taking on a CPA.

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