how to interview an accountant

how to
interview an
Kenneth Pinkofsky, JD
BFM Financial Center Incorporated
1542 Kearney Street
El Cerrito, CA 94530
[email protected]
Step 1
Describe the Work to Accountants in Alameda County CA
Before the interview, you should be prepared with copious notes on
exactly what you require. If you aren’t clear on your specifics, the accountants won’t be either. You should also gather all applicable financial records for the accounting firms. Be thorough and consistent in
the way that you present information so the accountants will be able
to determine whether or not they can accommodate you. The abilities
of certified public accountants or accounting firms can be very specialized, so make sure you are very exact in outlining your requirements.
Step 2
Ask the Accounting Firms Questions & Take Notes
After you’ve described your financial scenario, clarify the accountants’ abilities to help you by asking some questions. Supplement your questions with the list below.
▪▪ What kind of accounting work does the accountant specialize in?
▪▪ What is the extent of the accountants’ experience?
▪▪ Are the accountants CPAs, PAs or small business accountants?
▪▪ Do the accountants work at a certified accounting firm?
▪▪ If you’re talking to a multi-person accounting firm, who will
handle your work, senior accountants or junior assistants?
▪▪ What kind of educational background in
accounting do the accountants have?
▪▪ Which certifications do the accounting professionals hold?
▪▪ Does the accountant hold active membership in a
professional accounting trade association?
▪▪ Do the accountants charge a fixed salary per project or hourly salary?
▪▪ Does the accountant visit his or her clients or will you
always need to travel to the accoutant’s office?
▪▪ How long have they been a practicing accountant in Alameda
County and how many clients do they now have?
▪▪ Does the accountant have references that you may contact?
▪▪ What feedback does the accountant have on
your specific accounting issues?
Step 3
Answer Questions & Take Notes of the Accountants
You’ll learn a lot by the how each accountant responds and which questions they ask. The approach accountants take to your job will vary, so pay
close attention to the specific issues raised by each interviewee. Do they
seem genuinely concerned for your financial welfare? Your money is important, so you’ll want your accountant to be as invested as possible.
Step 4
Make a Preliminary Decision Among Acounting Firms in
Alameda County
After you’ve interviewed the accountants, it’s time to narrow the field.
Review your notes and weigh the accountants’ abilities against your
priorities. Which accountant comes closest to a perfect match?
Step 5
Make the Final Decision on a Good Accountant
Now it’s time to select and hire the Alameda County accountant of your
choice to prepare you tax return. Call and ask any final questions and then
ask for the accountants to provide a written and signed engagement letter.
Tips on Accountants in El Cerrito and the
East Bay
Take Time Choosing Between Accountants in Alameda
Don’t hire the first accountants you contact. If you take a little time
to properly outline the job and hire the right professional accountants in Alameda County, you’re less likely to be disappointed.
Write a Description of the Financial Accounting Job for
the Accountants.
You’ll be better equipped to judge accountants if you write down the
details of your job before you interview any accounting firms or senior
accountants. You must be clear on your requirements and consistent in
presenting information to your candidates. If each of the accountants see
the same description, you can be sure that any variety in responses will be
telling of the accountants’ ability and expertise. Then you can better judge
which accountant gives the best responses to your consistent description.
Compile a List of Several Good Accountants in Alameda
You should contact at least two or three good accountants. Remember
that cheap accountants in Alameda County are rarely the best accountants. Getting quotes from several good CPAs in Alameda County will help
you arrive at a reasonable price range for perparing you tax and return,
and ultimately determine which accountant is best suited to your needs.
Know the Areas of Expertise of the Accountants or CPAs in
Alameda County.
There are several levels of certification that accountants may have fulfilled. From CPAs to ACCAs, your potential accountants’ credentials will
have a direct bearing on the type (and ultimately, the quality) of tax
service you require. Ask about each accountant’s area of expertise. For
example, if you just want help with your taxes, make sure your accountant specializes in tax accounting. Also, ask questions about each accountant’s educational background to see if he or she is right for you.
Know the Qualifications of the Accountants.
Believe it or not, anyone can call themselves an accountant, and
if they are not certified by an accounting body it means that a socalled “accountant” doesn’t have to abide by any standardized
regulations. Make sure the potential accountants hold certain certifications, such as a CPA or certified public accountant license. Ask to
see the accountants’ certification. This will ensure that the accountants’ practices are regulated by a professional accounting body.
Maintain Constant Contact with the Account
Working with an accountant is a partnership, so communication is essential. This is an overlooked skill with specialized tax services, especially
accountants. After all, you’re hiring them to maintain your finances and
file your taxes so that you don’t have to. Still, you must stay informed
about every detail of your accounting situation. If something seems
wrong, don’t jump to conclusions; call and ask your CPA or accountant when you have even the simplest question about your financial
accounting affairs. It’s your money and you have a right to know.
Establish Trust with The Accountant.
Your accountant has access to your private records and your entire financial portfolio. You can easily find yourself in a very vulnerable position, so
make sure you hire someone you trust. Don’t just ask around—perform
background checks on the accountants and accounting analysts as well.
BFM Financial
My name is Kenneth H. Pinkofsky, principal at BFM Financial Incorporated.
I have been a tax professional for over thirty years. I am a member in good
standing and follow the practices in conformity with the National Association of Tax Professsionals (NATP) code of
ethics and standards in accordance with
the bylaws of the association. My firm
provides a variety of tax related services
to El Cerrito and East Bay communities
▪▪ Income Tax Preparation for all types of businesses, as well as individuals
▪▪ IRS and State Audit Representation
▪▪ Payroll Reporting
▪▪ Business startup services
BFM Financial, Inc. offers a wide range of services to our individual and
business clients. Because our firm is relatively small, our clients benefit by
getting personalized, quality tax service that is beyond comparison. Below
are listed the services that we offer to our clients along with a brief description. As the list below is by no means all-inclusive, please feel free to inquire
about a service if you do not see it listed. If it is not a service we provide,
we would be more than happy to refer you to a qualified professional.
Tax Preparation
Our significant investment in computerized tax preparation and research software enables us to accurately and efficiently prepare returns for various types of entities including individuals, corporations,
partnerships, trusts, estates, and not-for-profit organizations.
Tax Planning
Tax planning is an essential element of the tax preparation process. By
making tax planning part of your overall business strategy, you can use
our experience and access to the most current new developments in
the tax laws to minimize both your current and future tax liabilities.
Estate & Trust Tax Preparation
Effective estate and gift planning facilitates the orderly transfer of assets to your beneficiaries, provides security for your surviving spouse,
and can reduce or eliminate the tax due on the transfer of your business and other assets. For business owners, providing for business
continuity and succession of ownership is essential. We can guide you
through the complex process of getting your financial affairs in order.
IRS Representation
During our years of experience dealing with many taxing authorities, we have achieved a level of competence that can
ensure our clients they are being properly represented before the various federal and state tax agencies.
Mortgage Services
We can do mortgage purchases and refinances on primary homes, second homes and investment properties, including equity lines. We offer
a FREE Rate Analyzer program that will track your existing rate so we
can alert you to future rate drops and opportunities to SAVE money.
Notary Services
Dependable and professional Loan Document Signing Service. Serving Alameda county.
Business Entity Selection
Choosing the form of entity of your business (e.g. “S” corporation, sole
proprietor, limited liability company…) is a crucial decision that can
have long-standing tax implications, positive or negative. We can assist you in evaluating the pros and cons of each entity type to help you
determine the most advantageous form of business for your company.
Sales Tax Services
Many of our clients are responsible for collecting and submitting sales taxes in many different vicinities. We can assist
your company in the compilation of information and preparation of sales tax returns in an efficient and timely manner.