Stop Googling ‘accounting firms near me’ before you learn how to do it right and find the financial accounting advisory services that actually meets your needs. Truth is the right Manassas Virginia Accountant is close to you.
This guide provides a step-by-step process to evaluate potential accounting firms near you and select one that is the best fit for your finances and business. Key focus areas include needs assessment, research, evaluation, cost comparison, and quality checks.
Define Your Needs
It is crucial to clearly understand your accounting and tax requirements to ensure the firm you choose has the necessary expertise. Consider your:
- Current and projected finances, revenue, and expenses to determine the level of services required
- Tax filings – personal, business, non-profit, trust etc. to match the firm’s experience
- Bookkeeping – payroll, invoices, financial statements to evaluate their capabilities
- Audit requirements – monthly, quarterly, and annually which impacts the engagement timeline
- Advisory services – financial planning, consulting needs beyond compliance work
- Special requirements – industry expertise, technology needs like accounting software experience
- Preferred communication methods and response time for inquiries
Research Accounting Firms in Your Area
|CPA directories online and your state CPA association
|Verify license and check firm profile, services, and industries served
|Online reviews at Yelp, Google, and yellow pages
|Read unbiased experiences to identify recurring issues
|Ask business connections for recommendations
|Leverage personal referrals of trustworthy accounting firms near me
|Consider geographic proximity
|For ease of meeting document sharing when required, an international tax accountant.
|Filter firms by size, years in business over 5 years
|Indicates stability and experience in providing financial accounting advisory services
Evaluate Top Firms
- Check specific experience like your industry or LLC/S-corp corporation tax accountant needs
- Check listing with the BBB
- Check with Yelp profile
- Inquire about certifications like PFS for additional financial planning expertise.
- Determine technologies used like cloud accounting software
- Assess cultural fit through communication style in interactions
Compare Services and Fees
It is essential to understand the complete costs involved for each prospective firm. Request all-inclusive fee proposals in writing from the top three firms focusing on:
- Fees for standard compliance and planning work
- Additional rates if services exceed included hours
- Value of premium services vs basic needs
- Payment terms and penalties
- Monthly or annual retainers vs. hourly billing structure
Carefully consider the balance between paying for quality vs just the minimum requirements. An upfront investment in a reputable firm’s services could save long-term expenses through their financial acumen and advisory support.
Check Reviews and References
Thorough due diligence is important before selecting a firm to trust with your finances.
- Search online reviews on independent platforms
- Call references from outside the provided list
- Confirm years of service and request specific experiences
- Check with regulatory boards for complaints
Getting honest third-party perspectives will reveal any concerns about technical skills, communication responsiveness, work quality, or other red flags.
Finalist Interviews and Decision
Once the research is complete, meet key engagement team members handling your work in person or virtually to get a pulse of the firm culture. Assess:
- Comfort level and ability to develop trust over time
- Office environment and staff attitude
- Empirical data from proposal vs subjective feelings
Requesting sample prior work products provides insights into capabilities if relevant. Choose by weighing all qualitative and quantitative factors gathered.
Set Expectations and Get Started
To kickstart the new relationship on the right foot:
- Formalize terms via an engagement letter outlining the scope and obligations
- Schedule initial planning meetings for workflow and ongoing support
- Discuss processes for sharing documents and asking questions
- Establish regular meeting cadence for reviews and updates
- Agree on contact updates to ensure seamless coordination
Keep communication channels open and request interim performance reviews to hold the firm accountable for delivering as promised. With careful consideration at each stage of the selection process, finding the right accounting firm near you to partner with becomes achievable. Contact WM Accounting & Bookkeeping for more information.