For many people, at some point in your life, you’ll find the need, or at very least the desire, to have the advice and help of a skilled accountant on your side in some endeavor. Whether you’re facing an Internal Revenue Service ‘random’ audit of your finances and tax filings, or just trying to divine the future of an investment or a good rate for a loan’s interest rate, an accounting firm can be well worth the money.
Having said that, not every firm is going to be useful to you at every juncture. It’s a lot like hiring a good lawyer (something I know far more about than I’d like to admit). You don’t go to a family law firm if what you’re looking for is someone who can help you settle a contract dispute. You don’t go to a defense lawyer if what you really need a civil rights complaint issue. Similarly, you don’t go to a tax accountant if what you really need is someone to audit your hedge fund; you don’t go to an accountant who has spent his entire career in helping to determine the value of various funds if what you really need is someone to help you find ways to build a savings account. Hiring someone for a job or to advise you is a lot like picking a tool out of a tool box, and if you pick the inappropriate tool, you’ll end up with a much poorer result than if you had used the right tool in the first place.
Not every professional Certified Public Accountant office will be specialized in just one certain facet of accounting, although many of the smaller offices will. It’s like a law firm, as mentioned before; you will have CPAs who have spent large swaths of their careers, if not the entirety of their career, doing one particular field of accounting. A larger firm will have more people with more specialties, while the smaller ones may well be geared towards one particular aspect of accounting.
One of the more common uses that the average person has for an accountant will be to help file taxes. A lot of people use these services, and around the beginning of every fiscal year until the middle of April, these accountants are in extremely high demand. If you need to have the help of a professional because you feel you’re paying too much on your personal tax filings, an accounting firm that caters to people needing help with their tax filings will be best equipped to find the best ways to (legally, hopefully) save you money and make sure that you get the largest tax refund that you’re entitled to. A professional Certified Public Accountant will be best equipped to help you find every exemption and write-off that you may have missed, and to help you ensure that your write-offs and filings are in conformity with the ever-changing rules and regulations handed down from on high by the Internal Revenue Service.
On the other hand, if you’re running a small business, whether run from the house or run from a location that you have rented or leased for that particular purpose, you will be best off looking for an accounting firm with a CPA who specializes in business taxes. These individuals will have spent a good portion of their time learning about the various regulations that impact businesses and the way they’re run, as well as ensuring that the business is writing off of everything possibly can be. A CPA specializing in business accounting will also be able to help keep records for a business, which will come in handy if the business is ever audited (and if your business exists long enough, you’re almost guaranteed to be audited). Even better, a business accountant will be able to help you understand the way the IRS views your business as far as what you’re filing as a business expense, and explain to you things like the fact that the IRS doesn’t expect your business to break even for the first five years.
Eventually, it’ll be important to everyone that they have the advice of an accounting professional, whether it’s because they need a Certified Public Accountant to tell them how best to get the maximum return from the IRS on their taxes of because they need advice on investing or the help of an accounting expert to run their business and the books concerned with their business. Just be sure that when you look for a CPA, you pick the right one for your needs.