Choosing The Right Accounting Firm

Whether you have a home office and are claiming a tax deduction, or are selling your investment property, you probably find the ever-changing tax laws and regulations confusing, along with many other people. Keeping up with new tax laws is one of the focuses of a right accounting firm, along with setting financial goals and offering general tax and financial advice for individuals and small businesses. If you are looking for a reliable accountant, there are some key questions to ask to help you find the perfect accounting company for your needs.

Fees

If your accounting firm charges you by the minute, you may find yourself paying them every time you call to ask them something. On the other hand, some accountants charge set fees for every different financial task carried out, such as compiling a net worth statement or helping to file the 1040 tax form.

Business Specialties

You can receive better service if you choose an accounting firm that specializes in your business area. Clients who have a farming or agricultural business, for example, probably won’t benefit from using an accountant who specializes in local tax laws.

Certification

A general accounting firm that employs CPAs or certified public accountants is probably going to be helpful to you if you have a lot of accounting requirements. Most small businesses won’t benefit fully from a tax preparation firm that focuses on training tax professionals to assist with filing income tax returns.

Advice

Your overall financial experience and knowledge will help to determine the amount of advice you need or can benefit from. Choose a Coquitlam accountant that provides its clients with in-depth financial counseling and notice if that is what need. Many accounting firms don’t offer much valuable feedback, although they are efficient at compiling required records, and advising you on the best time to purchase equipment.

Level Of Service

Bookkeepers who handle routine client transactions are often employed by full-service accounting firms, and if you need comprehensive bookkeeping services, you may want to work with such a company. If a CPA handles your routine bookkeeping jobs, you will probably pay more to the accountant firm if they don’t employ bookkeepers.

Availability

If you need to schedule a time to visit the office to make an appointment, that accounting firm may not be the right one for you. On the other hand, if your question is answered over the phone, it can make your life a lot easier. Some accountants operate year-round, while others meet once every year to help with filing taxes.

Personal Connection

You aren’t getting the service you deserve if you don’t feel comfortable talking about your finances with your accountant, despite their reputation or the amount you are paying them. Look for an accounting firm that talks in plain language rather than jargon, and one that you feel comfortable with.

Setting Goals

Some accountants charge an extra fee for setting goals, although this can be extremely useful to anyone who is just starting out in business or working for themselves.

Support When Audited

Having to face the unwanted IRS audit can be stressful and confusing, and it can help to know you have the support and advice of your accountant if that happens to you. Some accountants have an accountant on staff or on call, should you get the request for an audit.

References

Business acquaintances, co-workers, and friends can be invaluable when it comes to recommending the right accounting firm, and word of mouth is as essential as ever.

Should I Hire An Accountant For Myself?

The law does not require individual persons to keep financial records the way that businesses are required to do so, but not keeping such records can end up being an expensive mistake. For example, the statements provided by your bank and credit card companies may have errors, and you might not find out until it is too late to fix the problem. You may have forgotten a bill payment, and thus your credit score takes a hit. You might be clueless about how to allocate income for investing and saving. Or you might be overlooking some expenses that could give you tax advantages. Therefore it is smart to keep good records of your personal finances.

Do It By Yourself Or Hire An Accountant?

It is not difficult to keep a record of your income and expenditures (you don’t have to have studied accounting or be a math wizard), but you have to spend some time and make an effort. The way you accomplish this task is a matter of personal preference. You can hire someone to do all of it, or you can do it all yourself, or you can hire someone who is an expert to help you at various times.

Option 1: Hire An Expert

If you do not have the time or if you feel that your time is too valuable to waste, you can hire a professional to help you. But what sort of expert? When people talk about personal accountants, they might mean a bookkeeper or a tax adviser, tax preparer, or even a Certified Public Accountant. You should hire the type of person who has the professional qualifications to suit your needs.

Bookkeeper. This person can do a lot of mundane services for you, such as pay your bills, make sure your checkbook is balanced, and checking statements from your credit card companies. They may have had specialized training in bookkeeping. Bookkeepers can be certified by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, or they can take online training to obtain Quickbooks certification. The pay rate for bookkeepers depends on where you live, the services you need, and the type of bookkeeping expertise the person has, but in the United States, the fee can be as little as $20 an hour, and the price can be even lower if the bookkeeper is located overseas, such as someone who is hired through upwork.com.

Accountant.

This professional has been trained in accounting, (perhaps with a college degree) and can take care of bookkeeping responsibilities. The hourly rate charged varies depending on the location, the expertise, and the job details, and can be about $35 an hour, or more.

CPA. This person will have a college accounting degree and maybe even a Master’s accounting degree and has been certified by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). A CPA is probably too expensive to be hired to carry out bookkeeping tasks. They can charge bookkeeping fees of $50 an hour or more. (CPA’s often do not do the bookkeeping personally but will oversee a bookkeeper in their firm who does the work.

To carry out the tasks mentioned in the beginning, a personal bookkeeper is sufficient. Most people do not employ accountants (only the wealthy will find they can afford the expense of these professionals). Your bookkeeper can schedule appointments on a regular basis (weekly or monthly) to enter data and perform tasks assigned by you. These tasks can be done by the bookkeeper online or in person at your home or at their office. You will need to provide access to your financial accounts and statements so be sure you check the references of the person you wish to hire.

Option 2: Do It Yourself

Paper ledgers are no longer in use. Today even an average consumer can obtain accounting software that is user-friendly as well as various cloud solutions. The main options for handling personal finances include:

Quicken This is a software solution to help you monitor your financial situation. For an additional cost each month, you can automate your bill payments so they will always be paid on time, and in the correct amount.

Mint.com This is a cloud-based solution that is available without cost and allows you to pay your bills electronically and tracks your finances. It will simplify your financial record-keeping by syncing up with your bank account. (See Mint.com for their tools to track money.)
Mint and Quicken can also help you track information with their mobile apps.

Option 3: Combine Both Types Of Efforts

You can use a bookkeeper to get your personal accounting system started. You should hire someone who is familiar with the kind of software program you will be using. The bookkeeper can create accounts to hold your information. If the accounts match the categories needed for taxes, this will simplify your tax return process. A bookkeeper can also check out your records periodically, to ensure you have recorded all your income and expenditures correctly, and to be sure your bank statement is correct.

Accountant

CMA® Certification:

The CMA®(Certified Management Accountant) credential is introduced, ensuring that accountants and financial professionals have mastered the most in-demand, on-the-job skills. CMAs earn the credential through work experience, a rigorous two-part exam, and continuing education. 

 

First International Chapter:

In 1943, IMA chartered its first international chapter in Cuba as acknowledgement of management accounting’s globalized skill set. Currently, more than 300 IMA chapters connect members and offer services at the local level, including professional education programs and leadership, mentoring, community service, and authorship opportunities

 

Creation of IMA:

Originally the National Association of Cost Accountants (NACA), IMA was created in Buffalo, New York, to empower accountants and financial professionals with the skills they need to drive business performance.