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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.

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5. Use the 60% rule. “Look for a CPA who has 60% of her business coming from people like you,” says Marsala. “They’re more apt to keep up with the laws regarding the clients they deal with most often. If your business is incorporated, make sure that the accountant specializes in corporate accounting, including financial statements and audits.”

6. Consider your special needs. If you have—or are anticipating—unusual accounting problems, you should look for an accountant with specialized training or experience. Perhaps you have limited experience in personal financial management and would like to explore the possibility of increasing your investment portfolio. “An accountant who is also a certified financial planner (CFP) would be a good choice when you need investment/portfolio advice,” says Fulbright. According to CPA Carol Katz, “A business owner should consult with her accountant before entering into any significant transaction. Undoing a poorly thought-out transaction can cost much more than the time spent on a planning meeting and document review.”

7. Don’t be afraid to make a change. Despite your best efforts, it’s always possible that you will find yourself working with an accountant who simply isn’t right for you. If you should find yourself in that position, you should not hesitate to look for a replacement. Your accountant is too important to your success for you to compromise.

“Small business owners and self-employed people should continually review where they are in the life cycle of their careers,” says Katz. “They may need to change the form of the entity as their profits grow. They many need tax-savvy ways to bring in family members to whom the business will eventually be transferred, and there should be a structure in place for the eventual sale of the business.” Finding the right accountant for you may take special effort, but the time you spend on that job may well prove to be among your most profitable investments.

William J. Lynott is a veteran freelance writer who specializes in business management, as well as personal and business finance. His work appears regularly in leading trade publications and newspapers, in addition to consumer magazines such as Reader’s Digest, AARP Bulletin and Family Circle. He can be contacted via e-mail at