If you have a home-based business, chances are one of the first jobs you outsource is your accounting. This is where a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can help you. They can prepare your taxes, give you guidance, advice, and help you steer clear of trouble. Before you enlist the services of a CPA, here are some things to consider.
Are They Really a CPA? – I can’t imagine anyone trying to bluff their way into being a CPA, but you can’t be too sure. Make sure he or she shows you their CPA credentials.
Coaching – Will he/she provide you with guidance and advice? Most CPAs will do your tax returns for you, but not all of them go beyond that. You will do best with one that can sit down with you once in awhile and review how the business is doing and offer up some advice. Home-based businesses should follow generally accepted accounting principles just as any business, but we often have special situations that require a CPA’s ongoing guidance.
Audits – Will the CPA back you in an audit? As the All Business CEO Peter Horan posted in his blog yesterday, there are ominous signs on the horizon that IRS audits may be on the rise. You will want a CPA who can jump in and act as your ‘agent’ when and if the time comes for a state or IRS audit.
Local and State issues – Theoretically you could work with a CPA who lives anywhere. But will a CPA in Atlanta, Georgia be familiar with state and local tax issues if your home-based business is in Sacramento, California? And vise versa? I always prefer using local CPA’s for this reason.
Is the CPA a Fit? – This is of course very subjective, but you should pay attention to how you feel about the CPA. You should look at him or her as a long term business partner and plan to work with that person for many years.
You can find CPAs in your local directory or even online in a directory like The CPA Directory. Unless you have a strong background and experience in Accounting, you’ll probably need the services of a CPA. And you’ll be much happier if you take the time to select the right CPA for your home-based business.