Questions To Ask When Selecting an Accounting Firm

Most businesses only seek accounting services when it’s time to file their taxes. A proper accounting firm can be an expert advisor in running your business and tax planning you need. For them to effectively fit this role, you have to pick the right one. Here are the questions to ask while assessing an accounting partner.

1. What services do you provide? 
Most accounting firms in Calgary offer an array of services, from payroll and bookkeeping to taxes and audits. A Calgary CPA has a broader scope than an accountant. Find out what the firm can do beyond compliance. Also, find out if there are any conflicts of interest such as representing your competitors, former business partners and so on.

2. Can you represent me if I get audited by the Canada Revenue Authority (CRA)? 
While a Calgary CPA can represent you with the CRA, not all accountants qualify for this service. A CRA audit can be a tedious and overwhelming process. If you find yourself going through one, your safest bet would be to have a professional that knows the ins and out of the process. Find out what your representative knows about it, how many cases they have handled and the circumstances and outcome of their cases.

3. Do You Have Experience With My Kind Of Business? 
Find out how many clients in your industry your prospective Calgary accounting firm has handled before or at current. Also, discuss the size of your business and if the accounting firm can sufficiently handle it.

Most firms have several professionals, with different specializations and portfolios which increases your possibility of landing a perfect fit for your industry and business size. You can check this on the accounting firm’s website, and book an appointment with them, and let this be your starting point.

4. Do You Communicate By Email or other Online Means? 
Accounting firms have different personalities. Some Calgary accountants are conventional while others are modern which reflects in their preferred communication styles. Modern firms will use video conference, Skype, email and other technologies that support collaborative communication. On the other hand, conventional firms might not be so open to these channels. 

Your business style and culture should inform which form of communication you prefer. If you are a young workforce that thrives on instant responses, then newer channels will be best suited for your business.

Whichever the preferred mode of communication is, find out what the expected response times are. You would not want to be in distress,and your accounting firm is taking hours to get back to you. Conversely, ensure that your firm has robust data protection systems to protect yourself and your company data.

5. How Often Should We Meet To Discuss my Business Taxes? 
The tax return deadline in Canada is not fixed. Your corporate filing deadlines are dependent on the fiscal year as well as your business framework. With this is in mind your CPA in Calgary should be able to set up appointments around these dates to facilitate the process.

This is not all; a good benchmark would be quarterly meetings that allow both parties to find and fix any pain points. It’s also good to have one contact person in the firm, and not be tossed around from one specialist to the other. It’s easier to create a trusting relationship in this way.

6. What Are Your Fees? 
For most Calgary accountants, the standard plans are:

  • Time-based fee: Simply put, these are hourly rates and these rates are dependent on the seniority of your assigned specialist. While as a business owner you have the advantage of paying for several hours a month weekly or monthly, the accounting firm is in centralized to maximize the billable hours.
  • Project-based fees: This is billed based on the entire completion of a project.
  • Value-based fees: These are agreed-on weekly/monthly fees. This offers a certain level of certainty to both the accounting firm and yourself as a business owner. For whichever option you use, ensure to get detailed information in case there are any exclusions to the services under the billing plans. 
  • By getting detailed answers to each of these questions, you will be in a position to evaluate them against your business needs so that you can make the right choice. An accounting firm is an essential partner for any business; you, therefore, want to pick the right accountant in Calgary at the get-go. Doing so will allow you to stick with them longer and develop an almost-intuitive working relationship.

Versatile Accounting, a vibrant, caring and detail oriented Calgary accounting firm is ready to Partner with you in helping you with all your bookkeeping, personal and corporate taxes as well all matters related to business planning. Contact us today.