1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

When and How to Find an Accountant


Most people can get by without using an accountant. The tax software that has been developed means that you can find your full refund by using the software. However, there are times when using an accountant is your best option. If you are ever confused about your situation, it makes sense to consult a professional who can help you figure out the best course of action. You will likely need an accountant if you receive a large inheritance; own your own business or you are self-employed. If you need to amend your tax return, you should likely use an accountant to help you do it correctly.

An accountant can help you with your taxes, but also has the ability to help you with your entire financial plan. Although an accountant is different from a financial planner, he can often make recommendations on when you should begin investing or talk to you about your long-term goals to grow your business. He may also suggest some things you can do to decrease your taxable income. It is important that you find an accountant that you can trust to give you good advice. You will want to find a CPA. While a tax store can help you file your taxes, many of the people who work there do not have the same amount of training as a CPA, and if you have a complicated tax situation, you will need to go to someone who can handle the situation.

When you are looking for an accountant, you should go through the same process you would if you needed a financial planner. You want to begin by finding people who can give you recommendations. Ask your friends, and family members whom they use. It helps to find someone who has a similar situation, so that you can find a CPA who handles the same type of tax situation or financial situation you are in. If you are a small business owner, you may ask other small business owners whom they use to file their taxes. Take the time to talk with the CPA briefly to make sure he can handle the tax situation that you are in, or if he can help you set up a bookkeeping system.

Before you go, ask the CPA what tax paperwork you will need to bring to the appointment. You should be prepared to answer questions about your current financial situation. This may include information about your retirement accounts, as well as your debt situation. Your accountant needs to have a clear picture of your entire financial situation in order to best help you with your situation. If you hide something from him, you may cause him to make a mistake and to file your taxes incorrectly.

Once you establish a relationship with an accountant, you may want to continue to have him do your taxes and possibly your bookkeeping. However, if your situation stays the same, and he has set up a system that you can use effectively, you may only need to see him once a year. It depends on your current situation. In the future, you may decide to use tax software again, because you understand how your situation works and what you need to pay in estimated taxes each year. However, many people find that using an accountant relieves financial stress. It does not hurt to review your entire financial situation with your accountant each year. If you continue to see an accountant, it makes sense to return to the same one each year, since he will already know your current situation and be able to help you. Your accountant should be able to file your taxes for you electronically, if you want that option or you can mail them in.

  1. About.com
  2. Money
  3. Money in Your 20s
  4. Taxes
  5. Filing Your Taxes
  6. When and How to Find an Accountant

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.