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7 Ways to Find the Right Accountant

By: William J. Lynott
Posted: April 27, 2012, from the May 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

The relationship between you and the person you choose to perform your accounting and taxes is far more important than you may think. For owners of skin care facilities, the right accountant functions almost like a partner, so it’s crucial that the relationship be comfortable and trusting. “Certified public accountants (CPAs) are more than just individuals who do your yearly taxes,” says business consultant and author Maria Marsala. “The right accountant can advise you on a long list of other services, which may include advice on your accounting systems, personal finance, estate planning and retirement. Following are seven tips that should help you to find the person who best fits your needs.

1. Perform a careful search for prospects. The best way to locate a compatible accountant is to ask bankers, insurance agents and even other spa owners around your community. “The information you share with your accountant is confidential,” says CPA and tax advisor Genevia Gee Fulbright. “Licensed accountants are bound to strict nondisclosure requirements.”

2. Verify your prospect’s credentials. “Some individuals working as bookkeepers or accountants have no formal license or education in accounting,” cautions Navin Sethi, CPA. “That’s why you should do a thorough investigation before you hire an accountant. The best way to protect yourself is to hire a CPA.” In order to earn the CPA credential, applicants must meet the requirements of the state or jurisdiction in which they practice.

3. Be sure to check references. Checking an applicant’s references is one of the most important steps in the hiring process. Although it may be rare, even professionals can misrepresent their credentials or simply leave out important information.

4. Find out if you’re comfortable with the person. Fulbright emphasizes the importance of having good chemistry between you and your accountant. “Make sure that you have clear goals, and that your prospective accountant understands them,” she says. “Go to lunch, have a conversation, and then see if you’re both on the same page.”