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How to Find the Best Tax Expert for Your Small Business
  • 23 March 2017
  • Elvis Michael

How to Find the Best Tax Expert for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, it is crucial that you find the right tax expert to meet your evolving needs. After all, the wrong consultant could lead to financial woes with the IRS, putting your entire business at risk. In order to ensure your ongoing success, you must explore all of your available options. Here are some steps you should take during your search for the best consultant in your industry.

Do your homework

It is vital that you take the time to research a reliable and competent expert. Before tax season, you should reach out to your friends, colleagues, and business partners to see if they can recommend any potential candidates. If this list of experts is not sufficient, you can also look into niche advertisements (both online and offline). These advertisements can help you to identify potentially reliable leads.

Evaluate their credentials

Tax professionals can have varying levels of education and skills. As such, you need to look carefully for the type of expertise you want and need for your business. According to the IRS, these are some of the most common types of credentials and qualifications to consider during your search:

  • Enrolled agent
    These professionals are licensed by the IRS and typically have many years of field experience. Enrolled agents must pass a Special Enrollment Examination and complete continuing education requirements every three years.
  • Certified public accountant (CPA)
    CPAs are licensed by U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and state boards of accountancy. These individuals, who must pass the Uniform CPA Examination, can generally handle a variety of financial and/or accounting tasks.
  • Tax attorney
    Generally, a tax attorney has earned a law degree and passed the bar exam. Though hiring a tax attorney is typically more expensive, you should not dismiss this option if your particular business situation calls for this level of expertise.
Match your needs to their experience

When you are evaluating candidates, you should ask yourself the following questions: Does he or she have experience with your industry? Is e-filing an option? Can he or she represent you if the IRS has further questions about your tax return?

Overall, it is important to make sure that the tax expert you choose has the skills and background necessary to meet your own unique business needs. In order to protect your company's financial future, you must also ensure that the tax expert is up-to-date on the ever-changing laws.

Calculate service costs

As a small business owner, it is also important for you to take long-term costs into account when you are making this decision. In order to determine how to get the best bang for your buck, you must keep in mind that some professionals charge a fixed fee while others work by the hour. If a particular tax expert is confident that you will be a long-term client, he or she may even be willing to negotiate a discounted rate.

Establish a healthy relationship

When you work with a tax expert on a long-term basis, it is crucial that you strive to develop a healthy working relationship. Try to be firm about your needs while remaining friendly, and keep up a strong line of communication so that you can stay in sync.

Make their job easier

Regardless of your current business status, it is important for you to keep meticulous records for your tax advisor, as this will make it easier for him or her to make the most out of your returns. Services such as FreshBooks enable you to manage your business finances with ease, helping you with everything from invoice creation to expense tracking.

All in all, the right tax expert will help you to keep your small business on a safe path to success and profitability.

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