When you’re considering engaging a CPA firm to prepare your tax returns — individually or for your company — consider these points as you decide.

  1. Qualifications. While the CPA designation ensures the individual demonstrated the necessary competencies to pass the CPA exam, the designation on its own may not adequately qualify a CPA.  Choose a CPA firm that has years of experience with complex tax returns.
  2. Depth. How many accountants are there in the firm, and what kind of access will you have to them if you have questions? How will the firm handle your request in the middle of tax season?  Choose a firm that has the capacity to provide personal service, even on April 10th.
  3. Judgment.  Will the accountant be aggressive in taking deductions for you, increasing your audit risk? Choose a firm whose business approach — conservative – moderate – aggressive — matches your own.
  4. Oversight. Will your return be prepared and reviewed by a single accountant, or is there a secondary review?  Choose a firm with established protocols for review of tax returns before they are delivered to the client.
  5. Business Acumen. Does the accountant strictly prepare tax returns?  Will he or she be able to offer sound, strategic business advice? If having a trusted advisor is important for you, choose a firm that stretches beyond filing tax returns.