How to Find the Best Accounting and Tax Preparation in Panama City Beach, Florida
Finding an accountant in Panama City Beach can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be. Your accountant will become a trusted partner in your financial affairs. Pick the right one and you can expect to save money year after year. As you look at prospected accountants, consider the following:
It is extremely important to know the credentials of your accountant. Not all accountants are certified in accounting. Tax preparation companies hire and train tax preparers. These firms typically do not offer financial advice or year round financial services. The bigger your accounting needs, the greater you will benefit from a firm which employs licensed professionals. The two major certifications in accounting are CPAs and EAs. There is a difference in the expertise of these professionals. A CPA is a Certified Public Accountant licensed by the state and can practice in the state in which they are licensed. They provide a variety of accounting services beyond tax preparation. An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a tax specialist who can practice in all states. An EA is authorized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections, and appeals. EAs advise, represent and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. Ask your firm what credentials their employees hold.
2. Personal Service
Who will be providing the services? Will you be working with the same person each time or will several people be handling your account? Are you able to get to know your accountant? Being comfortable and having a relationship with your accountant is the key to being open and honest about your finances. Do you feel as though you can ask questions of your accountant?
What fees does the firm charge? Do they bill at an hourly rate or by the service provided? Does the firm offer a free consultation? Are there ways you can keep these fees down? Consider organizing all your information in a spreadsheet or accounting software before meeting with the firm. You will want to answer all of these questions before committing to the firm.
Always ask for references. If they are reluctant or unwilling to provide you with this information, it is best to keep looking.
What accounting services are you in need of? Do you just need yearly tax preparation or are you looking for financial planning and advice throughout the year? Does the firm offer bookkeeping services for small businesses? Decide what services you are in need of and those you may need as your business or financial situations change. Consider looking at firms that have the capacity to grow with your needs.
Look for an accountant who is willing to work around your schedule and your needs. Depending on your business, it may not be practical for you to meet during typical business hours. Is the firm you are looking to hire willing to accommodate your schedule? Are they readily available to answer questions and provide advice?
Where is the firm located? Are you willing to travel to their offices? Is the firm willing to come to you? Do they have online support or services? Some firms are willing to travel to you as part of their service. With modern technology, most situations can be handled via phone, text, email or video chat so it is more important to find an accountant who specializes in your business or personal situation. Once you decide on your communication preferences, choose a firm that is willing to accommodate you.