Your business’ finances are of utmost importance, so you shouldn’t take lightly the task of finding someone to handle your affairs. According to Entrepreneur.com, the best way to find an accountant is through referrals. Attorneys, bankers, colleagues or your state's Society of Certified Public Accountants are all good sources for help.

Certified Public Accountants, or CPAs, have passed rigorous two-day tests, notes the article, qualifying them to deal with your carwash. Many accountants are well-educated, but you can better verify this claim by hiring a CPA.

A good method is to pick about five candidates for the job, and then interview them, shares the article. Prepare for the interviews by determining what you need. Figure out what the accountant will do for your company once hired.  You should find out three things in the interview process:

  1. Services. What all can the CPA do in addition to tax and auditing services? Ask if they have bookkeeping, management consulting, pension fund accounting and estate planning skills, states the article. Some can help design and implement financial information systems, manage investments and represent you before tax authorities. If the firm or individual doesn’t offer services you need, they may be able to refer you to someone who does. Also make sure the candidate has familiarity with small businesses.
  2. Personality. You should share a compatible style with someone with whom you work on a regular basis, reports the article. Also, make sure you’re meeting with the people who will actually handle your business. Ask candidates how they would handle situations relevant to you, and decide if that’s how you’d like your affairs to be handled.
  3. Fees. Find out upfront how much candidates charge for services. They can range from $100 to $275 per hour, notes the article. Some accountants work on monthly retainers instead, so figure out what is the most cost-effective option for you. While you should get a range of fees to help you decide, cost should not be the only deciding factor. You get what you pay for.

At the end of the interview, the article recommends asking the candidate for references, especially from your industry. This will allow you to call your peers and find out how satisfied they were with the accountant’s services, fees and availability.

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