These are the questions that a small business owner should be asking before hiring an accountant or better yet, who is this person and why should you trust them to do your tax return.

1. Do they offer Double, No-Risk, Money-Back Guarantee?

#1: Guaranteed Accuracy Or You Don’t Pay!

#2: Guaranteed Satisfaction Or You Don’t Pay!

2. What is this person’s education? He doesn’t have to be a CPA but this does give you a better level of comfort.

3. Do they do taxes all year round or just “do taxes” in the Spring?

Are they available to help you monitor your business activity year-round by preparing “Business Progress Reports” (monthly or quarterly).  Why wait until tax time to know how your business is doing?  To build a successful business, you must keep track of your “bottom line” throughout the year.  The “Business Progress Reports” should be tailored specifically to your situation and will help you know exactly what is going on at any point during the year.  The accountant should run the numbers so you can run your business!

4. Do they don’t just “do taxes” – how about doing some” financial planning”?

If they are a certified financial planner® and or licensed investment advisor, the accountant could use some financial planning expertise to help business owners implement tax saving ideas that will help with their long term financial goals. They would have the unique ability to look at the total financial picture for you and use their investment expertise to help business owners implement tax-saving small business retirement plans.  There are many tax-deductible plans to choose from—401(k),403(b), SIMPLE, SEP—they could be there to help you decide which plan is best for you.   They could help you and your employees make intelligent investment decisions both from a financial edge as well as from a tax saving view.   You and your staff will save taxes today and “build a nest egg” for tomorrow.

5. Do they don’t just “do taxes” – what about “doing” software consulting?

Can the accountant help small business owners decide what bookkeeping software program is best for their business.  There are literally dozens of accounting software packages to choose from.  Which one is right for you?  And once you find the “right program”, how do you use it to maximize record-keeping efficiency?  Does the accountant provide on-sight accounting software training so you can learn how to use your accounting software right “the first time”, without having to rely on some 800 number for technical support.

6. How many tax returns do they do a year?

How many tax returns do they prepare each year? – I prepare over 350.  That’s a lot of tax returns! The accountant should be able to do all kinds of tax returns, some of which you may have never even heard of:  Personal, Business, Estates, Trusts, and Payroll Taxes. What does that mean for you?  It means that they have the experience to handle any tax situation no matter how simple or complex.  It means that you can count on them to prepare your tax return without any worry – the accountant should have the attitude, “I know what I’m doing and I’m going to “take care of you and your tax return” as if it were my own.

7. Are they a small business owner as well?

Like you, if they are a small corporation, the accountant has to file the same corporate income tax returns as you, and  have to pay them self as an employee of the corporation and file the same payroll tax returns as you.  This somewhat assures you that the accountant knows how to handle your tax situation because theirs is very similar.

8. Whose side is the accountant on?

What is their position with taxes? They should say that they have to pay taxes like everyone else.  The accountant should abhor the amount of taxes that has to be paid, and should realize that most people feel the same way — we pay way too much in taxes!  The accountant’s dissatisfaction with our tax system should motivates them to treat every tax return as if it were their own —  determined that every client pay the lowest tax allowable by law.

Obviously, you may not find the perfect candidate who can answer these questions to your satisfaction but these are questions that you should be asking. I think you will find them thought provoking and will stir up some interesting answers.  I can be reached at 847-243-3600, by visiting my web site, or by emailing me at