Step 1: Use a Search Engine to Help You Find Accountants in Your Area
Using a search engine, type in “Business accountant” and your city’s name to find the name of accountants near you.
Okay, so maybe this seems like an obvious step. Depending on where you live, you may even have dozens or hundreds of options. How can you narrow down the list of accountants?
First, briefly check out their websites. If you like what you see, make a spreadsheet that includes their contact information and website. Take a few minutes to browse their website, but don’t get bogged down trying to read every page.
The idea is to find business accountants whose style resonates with you. It’s not an exact science. Just go with your instincts on this one.
You’ll want to have several accountants to choose from, so you can narrow down your choices later. Trust us; it’s all part of the process of finding a good tax accountant!
Step 2: Ask Other Business Owners for Recommendations
Do you have friends or acquaintances who have started their own LLCs? If they’ve been in business for a few years, hopefully they have an accountant they know and trust.
Getting recommendations from a few fellow business owners can help you narrow down your options and find a good accountant. You can feel more confident about your choice if you find a business accountant who has a good reputation.
Your recommendation doesn’t have to come from someone in the same field as you, but it could be even more relevant if it does!
If you check out their website and agree that they seem like good accountants, go ahead and add them to your list.
You can also check out Google reviews or the accountant’s Better Business Bureau score. Not every business has reviews or Better Business Bureau scores, but it may help you narrow your list down.
Lastly, see if your local Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Association has a list of recommended accountants.
Step 3: Make a List of Questions for Your Accountant When Starting Your Business
What are the most important questions you have for your business accountant?
Make a list of the questions you’d like them to answer. These could be highly individual to your company, or they could be more general questions about the accountant themselves.
Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:
- How long have you been in business?
- What inspired you to become an accountant?
- Are you a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)?
- Do you have clients in the same field of business as my LLC?
- Do you process payroll? (only if your company will have employees)
- Do you handle payroll tax returns? (again, only if your company has employees)
- I’m thinking of forming an LLC. What recommendations do you have for me?
- What steps can I take to reduce my tax liability?
- What’s your tax specialty?
- How often will we meet to discuss my business?
- What are the costs associated with accounting?
- Do you send reminders when estimated tax payments are due?
- What happens if one of your customers gets audited?
These questions are a launching point. You probably have questions that are specific to your line of business, so make sure to jot those down too.
Step 4: Interview the Business Accountants
Now the fun starts! Pick up the phone and give each of the accountants a call.
Most accountants will offer a free consultation. This gives you the chance to chat with them, get some answers to your questions, and decide if they are a good fit for your business.
A good accountant will walk you through the basic process of how they do their work. They should be able to give you helpful information and tell you about their basic operations.
This will take you some time but spending 10-15 minutes on the phone with each accountant will help you narrow down your choices. Make sure you take notes in your spreadsheet of who you liked and their answers to your questions!
Step 5: Choose Your Business Accountant
Once you’ve had a chance to talk with everyone on your list, narrow it down! Get rid of the accountants you don’t want to work with.
By this point, you should have only one or two LLC accountants left on your list. See if they will meet with you, either in person or over video chat, so you can get to know them a little better.
After speaking with them face to face, you can make your final choice based on all the research and work you’ve done.
This process seems like a lot of work, we know. Taking the time to find an excellent accountant now can save you a lot of money, time, and hassle in the coming years. That’s why spending the time now and making the best choice is so important!
How do You Know if You Need an LLC Accountant?
Not every business needs an accountant, but there are a few reasons it might be good to have one on your team.
First, an accountant can help advise you on how to set up your business. Maybe you’re trying to decide between being a sole proprietor or an LLC. An accountant can explain the differences in taxes and help you choose the best choice for your company.
Or maybe you’ve already decided to be an LLC but aren’t sure what that entails on the tax side. LLCs are taxed in different ways, and your accountant can help you choose the best way to be taxed.
A business accountant can also help you find benefits that you might have known about. For example, they can help you apply for special programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program. They can also help you stay on top of new laws that can affect your business.
You can probably use Quickbooks or other LLC accounting software for the day in, day out transactions of running a business. But a good accountant can help you save money on taxes and make sure all your payments are made on time. And, if you’re not familiar with accounting practices at all, an accountant will save you a lot of time and frustration!
What Should You Ask a CPA Before Starting a Business?
Here’s a shortlist of questions you may want to ask an accountant before you start your business:
- What’s the best way to set up my businesses for tax purposes?
- Will this setup work for me to grow my business, or will this need to be revisited?
- How can I save money on taxes?
- What services do you offer?
- Do you work with many small businesses?
- How do you charge your clients?
- What time-saving services do you use?
- Are the people who work for me, employees or contractors?
- What tax obligations do I have?
- Do you know the costs involved in maintaining an LLC?
How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Accountant?
According to the American Institute of CPAs, the cost to hire an accountant can vary wildly.
If your company is small, with few or no employees, it may only cost a few hundred dollars to have your tax returns prepared each year. For a more complex business, expect to spend more.
Remember that a good CPA will save you both time and money by advising you on reducing your tax liability. So even though the cost to hire an accountant might make you gulp, you may actually save money in the long run!
Your CPA should be able to tell you if they charge per hour or a monthly retainer fee. They can also estimate how much it will cost to do tasks such as your annual tax return.
We recommend asking your accountant for an estimate ahead of time. That way you can prepare for the expense and include accounting costs in your budget.
What Should You Look For in Your Accountant?
Your chosen accountant should have happy clients. They should also have a wealth of knowledge about recent tax changes and be up to date with the most recent laws.
They should offer all the services you know you’ll need – you don’t want to have to juggle more than one accountant. They should also be able to prepare your tax return, advise you on how to grow your business, and help you save money on taxes!
They should also have ample experience with other small businesses, both inside and outside your field.
And last, you’ll want to make sure your accountant is someone you’re on the same page with.
Some accountants are more conservative, while some are confident with using their experience and case law to help you save money on taxes.
A business accountant can be enormously beneficial to your company. They do a lot more than just file your taxes for you!
They can help you process payroll, file employer tax returns, apply for business loans, and show you ways to grow your business.
The cost of hiring an accountant can quickly be repaid by the priceless advice they give. You may find that having an accountant is cheaper than not having one!
They can offer advice on where to cut costs and get tax deductions. Your accountant can also review your pricing and business structure to provide advice on the best way to grow your business.
While you can always change your accountant if you’re unhappy, it’s worth taking the time and research to find the best accountant for your LLC. This will help your business get started on the right foot and save you time and headaches later.