How to Select A CPA in Metro Atlanta
Before you select a tax adviser, accountant, or personal financial adviser, make sure you consider the following questions:
- Is the individual a certified public accountant?
- Is the CPA licensed to practice in your state?
- To what professional organizations does the CPA belong, and how active is he or she in those organizations?
- Are your needs compatible with the CPAs personality and expertise?
Having been a CPA in Gwinnett since 1984 and in metro Atlanta since 1981 we have learned that it is critical and essential to use a CPA if you have a small business of any size, especially if you are a start-up. Don’t underestimate the importance of the CPA
designation. Remember, those three letters are awarded only to those individuals who have passed a rigorous two-day uniform national examination.
In addition, CPAs are distinguished from other accountants by stringent state licensing requirements. Most states require CPAs to have at least a college degree or its equivalent, but several also require post-graduate work.
Membership in professional organizations is also an important qualification. For example, more than 350,000 CPAs belong to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The Georgia Society of CPAs has more than 11,000 members. All AICPA and GSCPA members are governed by a code of professional ethics that is one of the most exacting of any profession. Whats more, their firms must undergo a review of their accounting and auditing practice once every three years.
AICPA members must also satisfy extensive continuing education requirements. And starting in the year 2000, new members will be required to have completed 150 semester-hours of higher education prior to joining the Institute and then are required to have 80 hours of continuing education every two years.
Compatibility, the last qualification to look for in a CPA, is harder to define but is just as important as technical proficiency. Make sure that the CPAs personality and expertise match your needs
Keep in mind that a long-term working relationship between you and your CPA can help you take an informed, consistent approach to personal financial and business problems and may help you meet your financial goals.
How Can You Get the Most Value From a CPA’s Services?
Although all CPAs meet substantially the same education, training and licensing requirements, they do not all provide the same range of services. Therefore, when looking for a CPA, you should analyze your current and future financial needs and select someone who can address your particular concerns.
CPAs themselves have some suggestions on how you can make the best use of accounting services and get the most value for your fee. Here are just a few of them:
- Be prepared to discuss your plans and objectives. CPAs are in the best position to advise you and serve your interests when they understand the goals you have set.
- Gather information about business or personal financial decisions under consideration so you can ask the CPA specific questions.
- Clearly explain what you expect from the CPAs services.
- Save yourself unnecessary fees by keeping good records and not using professional time for routine work.
- Keep your CPA informed of changes in your personal and professional life. A recent marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, a career change, or an especially generous bonus all can have a significant impact on your tax liability and personal financial goals.
Hiring a professional CPA is not something we do every day. By coming to us you will find a home for your business and someone who cares about your business as much as you do. Striving to find a CPA whose ambition matches your own is not an easy task.