Identify the Type of Accounting Professional You NeedSeveral different types of accounting professionals specialize in handling particular accounting and tax issues, so you will want to select the correct type for your needs. The basic types include:
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)These are professional accountants that need to be registered with your state. They can help with business accounting matters, audits and might also be able to consult with you on other key business matters, such as starting a new business.
BookkeepersThese individuals do not have to be registered and are typically hired by a business to keep its accounting books. They might do this manually or using computer spreadsheets or specialized accounting software.
Enrolled AgentsThese IRS-licensed tax professionals can be helpful when dealing with complicated tax issues, as well as for responding to audits and tax collections.
Tax PreparerThese are often state-registered individuals who can help you fill out relatively simple tax returns.
Retail Tax FranchisesVarious national franchises offer storefronts where individuals can go to have their tax returns prepared quickly and efficiently for a reasonable price.
Next Steps to Find an AccountantOnce you have identified what sort of accounting professional you require, you can then look in the telephone business directory to find likely candidates in your area. Friends or other business operators might also be able to refer you to someone capable of meeting your needs.
You can usually briefly interview promising accounting professionals by making an appointment to meet with them or by speaking to them over the telephone. Once you have explained your needs to them, you will want to get a cost estimate to cover their services. You can also ask whether the accountant offers any type of guarantee. They will also usually inform you what sort of documents and information you will need to provide. This might include tax documents, accounting records, identification and relevant social security numbers.