How do you find a quality CPA?

  • Understand what services you need from a CPA. Despite what some people seem to think, we CPA’s are not all the same. We tend to specialize in certain areas of practice and many simply don’t do some areas of service. I don’t do audits and I don’t do personal financial planning. I know people to refer you to who do. A public accounting practice can cover a wide range of services and quite honestly if a small firm says they are “full service” I would question if they are actually all that skilled at every service they offer.
  • Understand how you want to work with the CPA. Some of which is dependent on the point above. A lot of CPA’s work with a hyper local client base. This is a model that evolved pre-internet, when going to the CPA literally meant going to his office and sitting across the desk from him or her, so most of the clients lived or worked within 15 miles of the CPA’s office. A lot of people are still much more comfortable with this model. Personally, I have no geographic limitations and I currently have clients in 34 different states and 15 different countries. I will never meet most of them face to face, we work via email and cloud based tools. Neither model is right or wrong, it depends on what you are comfortable with.
  • Now that you know what it is you want, talk to friends, family and business acquaintances and use Google. From this, come up with a short list of CPA’s that seem to meet your needs.
  • Finally, actually have a conversation with the CPA or do some research to narrow the list down to a CPA that you feel meets your needs and that you are comfortable with. I don’t think I can overstate the “you feel comfortable with” part of that. If you are not willing to be up-front and honest with me and maybe even share all of your deep dark financial secrets and goals, you won’t get my best service, because you limit my ability to help you succeed.