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Do I need a CPA to help me?
By Adam Greene CPA
Image courtesyof AlanCleaveratFlickr.com
“Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are advisers on a wide range of financial matters.
They advise individuals, businesses, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations and
government agencies and help with tax preparation, personal financial planning,
auditing services, and advice on developing effective accounting systems.”
CPAs are very different to other financial professionals in the sense that they work very
hard to get the so called certification, a very rigorous qualification which they are
committed to deliver its value to clients.
So, what’s the difference between a CPA and a Bookkeeper?
Bookkeepers are experts in basic accounting tasks, day-to-day transactions such as
managing accounts receivable, accounts payable, monitoring and reporting on available
cash, performing bank reconciliations, and running payroll. Most bookkeepers have no
formal accounting education and have learned procedures through experience. Others
may have an accounting degree or have completed a few bookkeeping courses. And
then there are some others that have a firm understanding of accounting principles and
can keep your books thoroughly.
Whereas an accountant in order to get the CPA credential, he/she must complete
comprehensive exams on tax regulation, financial reporting, audit, economic, ethics,
and business topics. Apart from that, they have to work under another CPA for at least
one or two years before obtaining their license.
So the first thing you need to determine is whether you will need a bookkeeper or a
CPA, depending on your needs and budget. CPAs can identify the correct accounting
treatment for complex issues, perform a review to help you obtain a business loan, file
your business tax return, advise you on tax planning, and offer you strategic financial
advice.
Here are some situations in which it is probably better to lookfor a CPA.
● If you’re planning to make big investments or entering the stock market, a CPA can
advise you on how to manage your investments and stock.
● If your income is more than $200.000 a year, you will most likely be audited. This
means that you will need somebody to help you have a better grasp of financial
issues to help you get by.
● Being self-employed or owning your business will obviously require the help of an
expert to help you manage your cash flow and maybe even lower your taxes. Self-
employment has huge write-offs that you may be missing out on.
● If you are just going to start your new business, all the more need for a CPA to help
you file tax forms and other requirements properly.
● If you suddenly inherited a lot of money or properties worth a lot, you will need to
pay inheritance taxes that are quite costly and that you are probably not familiar
with. A CPA can help you through this situation and set you up for future taxes too.
● When you are a homeowner or if you have your own rentals, you must pay some
taxes to those rental properties. However, there are also some significant benefits
that a CPA can help you access.
● And of course if you owe any back taxes to the IRS, you should immediately hire a
CPA to help you understand your situation, your debt and avoid any future problems.
He/she will defend you and find the best deal for you to solve the problem as quick
and nifty as possible.
Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012 at Flickr.com
Regardless of why you need a CPA, it’s important that you have clear objectives and
expectations. With this in mind you can look for a professional that can best suit your
needs. Consider not only the help you need today, but the services you will need in the
future as well. You will build a long-term relationship with him/her and it’s important
that you, not only check his/her credentials and area of expertise, but that you also feel
a connection with him/her strong enough to trust them with your financial details and
listen to his/her advice on financial decisions and transactions.
Once you have found the perfect candidate for the job, remember that you are in
control and that there are a variety of things you can do to get the most value out of
your time and money spent with a CPA. Keep in mind the following recommendations
to get the most of the service you are paying for.
● Take your time to build a tight and comfortable relationship with your CPA, and try
to work with the same person every year. This will ensure that he/she will be
familiar with your situation and will most likely figure out changes or discrepancies
that may arise.
● Consult your CPA when you are going to make any major financial decisions.
● Don’t Lie to Your CPA; your information is private and helps your CPA determine
the best way to claim that expense or report those earnings.
● Have a list of questions and a clear idea of what you want to accomplish.
Before you meet with a CPA for the first time, collect all the documents and
information you think you may need for example: past tax returns, financial statements,
investment documents, business plans and take this with you.
And lastly, keep your CPA up-to-date on what’s happening in your life. If you are
getting married, divorced, having children, needing to plan for your child’s college
education, expanding a business, or handing down the business to your children. You
have no idea how your life changes can have an impact on your tax liability.

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Do I need a CPA to help me?

  • 1. Do I need a CPA to help me? By Adam Greene CPA Image courtesyof AlanCleaveratFlickr.com
  • 2. “Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are advisers on a wide range of financial matters. They advise individuals, businesses, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations and government agencies and help with tax preparation, personal financial planning, auditing services, and advice on developing effective accounting systems.” CPAs are very different to other financial professionals in the sense that they work very hard to get the so called certification, a very rigorous qualification which they are committed to deliver its value to clients. So, what’s the difference between a CPA and a Bookkeeper? Bookkeepers are experts in basic accounting tasks, day-to-day transactions such as managing accounts receivable, accounts payable, monitoring and reporting on available cash, performing bank reconciliations, and running payroll. Most bookkeepers have no formal accounting education and have learned procedures through experience. Others may have an accounting degree or have completed a few bookkeeping courses. And
  • 3. then there are some others that have a firm understanding of accounting principles and can keep your books thoroughly. Whereas an accountant in order to get the CPA credential, he/she must complete comprehensive exams on tax regulation, financial reporting, audit, economic, ethics, and business topics. Apart from that, they have to work under another CPA for at least one or two years before obtaining their license. So the first thing you need to determine is whether you will need a bookkeeper or a CPA, depending on your needs and budget. CPAs can identify the correct accounting treatment for complex issues, perform a review to help you obtain a business loan, file your business tax return, advise you on tax planning, and offer you strategic financial advice. Here are some situations in which it is probably better to lookfor a CPA. ● If you’re planning to make big investments or entering the stock market, a CPA can advise you on how to manage your investments and stock.
  • 4. ● If your income is more than $200.000 a year, you will most likely be audited. This means that you will need somebody to help you have a better grasp of financial issues to help you get by. ● Being self-employed or owning your business will obviously require the help of an expert to help you manage your cash flow and maybe even lower your taxes. Self- employment has huge write-offs that you may be missing out on. ● If you are just going to start your new business, all the more need for a CPA to help you file tax forms and other requirements properly. ● If you suddenly inherited a lot of money or properties worth a lot, you will need to pay inheritance taxes that are quite costly and that you are probably not familiar with. A CPA can help you through this situation and set you up for future taxes too. ● When you are a homeowner or if you have your own rentals, you must pay some taxes to those rental properties. However, there are also some significant benefits that a CPA can help you access. ● And of course if you owe any back taxes to the IRS, you should immediately hire a CPA to help you understand your situation, your debt and avoid any future problems.
  • 5. He/she will defend you and find the best deal for you to solve the problem as quick and nifty as possible. Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012 at Flickr.com
  • 6. Regardless of why you need a CPA, it’s important that you have clear objectives and expectations. With this in mind you can look for a professional that can best suit your needs. Consider not only the help you need today, but the services you will need in the future as well. You will build a long-term relationship with him/her and it’s important that you, not only check his/her credentials and area of expertise, but that you also feel a connection with him/her strong enough to trust them with your financial details and listen to his/her advice on financial decisions and transactions. Once you have found the perfect candidate for the job, remember that you are in control and that there are a variety of things you can do to get the most value out of your time and money spent with a CPA. Keep in mind the following recommendations to get the most of the service you are paying for. ● Take your time to build a tight and comfortable relationship with your CPA, and try to work with the same person every year. This will ensure that he/she will be familiar with your situation and will most likely figure out changes or discrepancies that may arise. ● Consult your CPA when you are going to make any major financial decisions.
  • 7. ● Don’t Lie to Your CPA; your information is private and helps your CPA determine the best way to claim that expense or report those earnings. ● Have a list of questions and a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Before you meet with a CPA for the first time, collect all the documents and information you think you may need for example: past tax returns, financial statements, investment documents, business plans and take this with you. And lastly, keep your CPA up-to-date on what’s happening in your life. If you are getting married, divorced, having children, needing to plan for your child’s college education, expanding a business, or handing down the business to your children. You have no idea how your life changes can have an impact on your tax liability.