Choosing an accountant to handle your personal finances isn’t easy. In a study conducted by Accounting Times, 6 in 10 American professionals said they have had to reject someone for a job due to compatibility issues. So the Academy of Certified Public Accountants and the Society of CPA Accountants recently created “The Advocate,” a guide to finding the right C.P.A. or CPA-accredited tax professional for your specific needs.
To get the scoop on the perks of working with one of your hometown’s Certified Public Accountants, we asked Lauren Porter, an accountant in Virginia and author of Intelligent Tax Strategies, to weigh in. Read on for some surprising tidbits that may come in handy this tax season.
What are some tips to help people determine if working with a C.P.A. would be the best decision for them?
Let’s start with some common myths. The first myth is the hardest: Don’t use a C.P.A. for your tax return. The truth is, this isn’t going to cut it. If you owe the IRS money and have a chance to get it back with a C.P.A., that’s a huge plus. Some clients choose a C.P.A. because they have specific tax issues to work out – the IRS might want you to declare more income and pay less taxes. There’s only so much information the IRS knows, so a C.P.A. can help get you in front of them and make sure you get your taxes right.
Another common mistake is getting a C.P.A. to take on the task of allocating your deductible expenses – you’ll probably save more by hiring a professional tax planner who specializes in financial planning as opposed to a C.P.A.
Also, you might even find yourself getting more in-depth questions if you’re dealing with a C.P.A. or CPA-accredited tax preparer. One of the big reasons to get your taxes done professionally is that the long paper trail and the CPAs’ guidelines will help you stay on track for years.
How is it possible for a C.P.A. to work with a CPA-accredited tax preparer?
Don’t let preconceived ideas about why C.P.A.s or CPA-accredited tax preparers shouldn’t work together hold you back from the opportunities that the partnership can provide. After all, C.P.A.s help keep you organized. There are more than 40 different C.P.A.s licensed by the IRS, providing diverse financial planning solutions to your business and personal tax needs. Those are just a few services. But partnerships aren’t always formal. Many C.P.A.s do elect to work with CPA-accredited tax preparers to offer their clients top-notch tax planning. Those partnerships can be successful because the C.P.A.s and CPAs understand each other’s businesses and processes and can come up with customized solutions for your individual financial needs.