How to Fire Your CPA

Here are the three non-negotiables that every Certified Public Accountant (CPA) charging high dollar should be doing. Read the following points, and if you’re not getting these services, we’re going to have to talk about how to fire your CPA.

  • Proactive Communication
  • Substantive Dialogue
  • Concrete Solutions & Measurable Results

Frankly, I’m not happy with the level of service and effort from many CPAs. I don’t like to see businesses of any size get marginal results from a high-value service.

Today, we’re going to grade your CPA. Let’s go.

Ask yourself three questions about your CPA.

So, you need a CPA who offers communication, dialogue, and results. But how do you identify these qualities? Ask yourself these three questions.

1. When was the last time my CPA and I talked about my business for over 15 minutes?

Your answer shouldn’t be this, “When I first met my CPA.”

You and your CPA need to maintain open lines of communication. That means, at the very least, quarterly meetings, so the two of you can make sure you’re seeing eye to eye on your business’s goals and how to meet them. You should never feel like you’re being ignored.

2. Do I meet regularly with my CPA to discuss strategies that capitalize on changes in the tax code and federal regulation?

The tax code changes constantly, as does regulation. You need a CPA who is up-to-date and proactive with tax deductions and credits. A good CPA will have an “always learning” mentality. The license is not enough.

Basic communication is key, but it’s not enough, either. You also need to have a CPA you can talk to about your business and your industry as a whole.

3. Did I pay more than I anticipated in taxes last year?

If your business paid significantly more in taxes this year than you expected, get a detailed explanation or fire your CPA. It’s that simple.

Getting the most “prestigious” firm won’t help.

Many small business owners want the biggest name-brand CPA firm they can get.

Here’s what the big firms won’t tell you: if you’re one of their smaller clients, you are not going to be a priority. Your calls will go unanswered, and you’ll be left in the dark for months at a time.

A CPA needs to do more than file taxes.

Yes, a big firm will probably do the bare minimum to keep you compliant, but you’ll miss out on short- and long-term value.

A “prestigious” firm won’t take advantage of every possible tax deduction and credit for you. And they won’t help you position your business for growth because they don’t need to. Their business doesn’t depend on it.

Instead, look for a CPA who matches your business size so your business is the priority.

Look for a different kind of CPA-business owner relationship.

When I pay professionals to work on behalf of my business, I’m curious about how I benefit. A good CPA should be able to explain that. They need to articulate your tax strategy for you and give you the resources you need to drive growth.

The key word is relationship. You and your CPA need to work together throughout the year to lower your tax liability.

If they pop up in April to fill out some forms and then check out for the next 11 months, you need to fire your CPA.

Here’s how to find your new CPA.

Before you decide to fire your CPA, take the time to find one who meets your needs.

Ask fellow business owners for recommendations and supplement with internet research. Gather a list of people you feel you can build a lasting relationship with.

Once you have a few prospective CPAs lined up, it’s time to meet. Go in prepared with a good sense of your business’s specific needs. For more information, check out my article with five questions to ask potential CPAs.

Remember, you’re looking for someone proactive who will help you:

  • Grow your business with strong financial leadership.
  • Shape every aspect of your business in the direction of tax efficiency.
  • Scale tax-saving strategies as you scale your business.

Maybe it’s time to get with a local CPA.

Fire the big CPA firm and get the attention you deserve. I’m proactive in tax planning, accounting, and business advisory services. Short version: I deliver results.

If your annual revenue is above 1M, we’re a fit. Schedule a discovery call today.

Talk soon,
Jeremy A. Johnson, CPA

Meet the Author
Jeremy A. Johnson, CPA, is an expert in strategic tax planning, accounting, CFO services, and thought leadership.

Jeremy writes for small business owners who need actionable information on tax strategy, efficient accounting practices, and plans for long-term growth.

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