Certifiably Good for Tax Season – And So Much More

Posted by Tony Berndt & Chuck Pavlik on Feb 15, 2017 22:00:00 PM

Topic: ALL


Choosing a CPA adds up to smart business

Did you know that not all tax preparers are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)? All CPAs are accountants but not all accountants are CPAs. If you’re a business owner the difference matters. Licensed by a state Board of Accountancy a CPA designation requires the completion of a college or university program in accounting, passing the Uniform CPA Exam, and professional experience in the field. Once registered, CPAs are required to annually obtain continuing education.

This is especially critical during tax season when understanding changes to IRS guidelines can be confusing. Taxes prepared by a CPA also provide an extra layer of assurance for business owners. CPAs may represent you before the IRS. Not all accountants are certified to do so.

CPAs also adhere to a strict code of ethics – they can be trusted to protect your personal and business data. As cybersecurity breaches become an increasing threat, this safeguard affords additional peace of mind.

What else can a CPA do for you?

CPAs provide much more than expert tax advice and tax return assistance. CPAs are also knowledgeable about the best way to set up your accounting functions. CPAs offer strategic advice on recording operational expenses, capital expenditures and investments, salaries, and cash flow. With efficient and comprehensive processes in place, they can develop sound financial statements that satisfy reporting requirements for your banker, attorney, or business stakeholder.

Since every part of your business touches accounting in some way, CPAs can help you plan throughout the year for the best financial outcomes. Perhaps you’re a new business owner and want to improve your cash flow. Maybe you’re thinking about expanding with new products, services, or locations. Or perhaps you have family members or other partners who would like to join you in your business venture. CPAs can guide your decision-making utilizing proven business know-how.

Perhaps the biggest advantage a CPA provides is specialized industry expertise. From service industries to consumer products, retail, manufacturing and technology, CPAs bring specific knowledge and experience that’s relevant to your business.

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What to look for when selecting a CPA

Since your CPA will be a trusted adviser and key driver of your business success, it’s important to choose one that is the best fit for your needs.

  • Industry expertise – check the CPA’s website for credentials and information on tax law changes, industry news, trends, and tips for running a business.

  • Inquire about the CPA’s reputation for responsiveness and meeting deadlines.

  • What is the CPA’s practice area and is it consistent with your business needs?

  • Does the CPA prepare business tax returns or just individual tax returns?

  • Is the CPA qualified to conduct reviews and audits?

  • Ask about the process e CPA undergoes to understand your business including your aspirations and challenges.

  • How will the CPA handle your account? Will there be a team of people to serve you? Or will you be lost in the shuffle if one CPA leaves or becomes ill?

  • Does the CPA and firm share your values?

  • Does the CPA listen and communicate clearly? Inquire about the CPA’s approach to service throughout the year. Quarterly meetings are typical and more frequent meetings may be beneficial during periods of growth and change.

  • What cyber security control measures does the CPA have in place to protect your business information?

  • Does the CPA have insurance?

  • What experience does the CPA have in the sale and exit process should you decide to sell your business?

  • Can the CPA perform succession planning to help you transition ownership to the next generation?

Where can I find a CPA?

The most reliable way to find an experienced and knowledgeable CPA is to get an independent referral from a banker, attorney, business contact, friend, or family member that you trust. Any website or advertisement can claim to offer excellent service. Candid, independent referrals from someone who has worked with the CPA are the best guarantee for finding someone who is a great fit and can help make your business successful.


About our blog contributors:

Tony Berndt works at Quandt Berndt & Company, LLC, a full-service accounting, tax, and consulting firm. With over 25 years of experience providing tax and accounting services to business owners in multiple industries, he specializes in family-owned business planning, and working with individuals to minimize their tax liabilities. He has extensive experience with consulting and strategy to help maximize value of privately held companies. Tony can be reached at 414-840-0209 or

Chuck Pavlik is a Shareholder at Vrakas CPAs + Advisors with over 20 years of experience in tax consulting and compliance for owners of closely-held businesses. He can be reached at 262-798-7635 or