What to look for in a CPA?

This is a common question that people may have but not necessarily ask of a CPA.  Here are some of our thoughts:

  • Do they value what you value?  In order to answer this question you need to know what you are looking for.  Are you looking for just compliance?  Someone who will proactively give you advice and help you plan?
  • Does it feel like a good fit?  This is an intangible.  Do they seem to have compatible viewpoints and philosophies?  Can you all communicate well together?  This will be important with your relationship moving forward.  The CPA is going to know all details of your financial life so it is important for the fit to be right.
  • Where are they in the lifecycle of their firm and life?  Does it match up with yours?  If you're young and upwardly mobile, a 70 year old CPA on the verge of retirement may not be the way to go.
  • Do they have the skills and experience to meet your needs?  With a CPA firm there is an inherent amount of base knowledge and skill set.  However, do they have experience and knowledge relevant to your particular situation?
  • Where do they fall on the cost spectrum?  Cheapest is not always the best but cost should be in a spot where you see value from the services provided.  Can they be proactive and turn the money spent with them in to an investment on which they earn a return?
  • Are they convenient?  This is no longer necessarily a location based constraint.  While the majority of the customers that we serve live in the Wilmington NC area, we can utilize technology to work with people across town or the country without them leaving their desks.

Good luck in finding the right CPA for you- there is one out there meant to serve you.  Don't wait until the last minute as this process should not be rushed or done on a whim.