Finding a Tax Professional

Finding some who does taxes and accounting work is easy.  Find the right professional is also easy if you know what to ask.  Here are some things to consider and ask the person.

Are you licensed?  (See the menu for What is an Enrolled Agent)

1.  Do you carry Error and Omission insurance?  Make sure your professional has insurance to protect you from errors or omissions on returns or on financial statements and for investment advice.   Not asking this question could cost you a lot of money if a mistake occurs or you are given bad advice.  No one would consider going to a doctor who does not have malpractice insurance, so don’t go to a tax or accountant’s office who does not have E & O.

2.  Ask about the professional’s experience with clients like you, and ask if they hold other professional licenses. 

3.  Ask them how many hours of educational courses they attend per year and how many of those hours are in “ethics”.  You not only want a knowledgeable individual but one that has integrity, will protect your privacy, and also has compassion for people.

Finally, ask, “who will be doing my work”.  In my office, I do all the work.  I do have an office assistant but he fulfills duties that assist my administrative functions.  Clients get my full attention.  My office is set up with side-by-side computers.  On occasion, I may have an assistant enter data, say in Quickbooks while I am sitting right along, available immediately for consultation, questions and adjustments.  This situation is a winning one for the client. In some offices, a client’s work gets passed off to a lower compensated person and may not even be reviewed properly for correctness.  My client’s get my full attention as should be expected.

Lastly, have a personal discussion with the professional to get an idea if they seem to be a “good fit”.  Integrity is very important, but compassion for their work and for their client – those are things that long lasting relationships are built on.