If you’re a high wage-earner, you may be taxed as much as 37% on your yearly income. This number can be staggering, which is why so many individuals try to find ways to minimize their return every year. Without engaging in or encouraging illegal activity—as we often see in the movies—tax advisors can save you thousands and even millions of dollars every year. But not all accountants are created equal. If you want to find a professional CPA who can help you lower your taxes every year, here are a few tips for finding the right individual:
Ask Around and Read Reviews
Finding a tax accounting firm online is the easiest thing in the world. You don’t even have to complete typing in the words “tax advisor near me” before Google has already auto-populated the query and drawn up a list of your most viable options in the area. Any website you choose on page one is bound to look professional. But spending money on a fancy website crafted by an expensive marketing firm doesn’t necessarily mean that the individuals working at that company can save you money or have your best interests at heart. Don’t get us wrong; Google is a great start. But don’t settle on the appearance of a website alone to tell you if a tax advisor is going to help you.
Our best advice: ask around. Consult a friend you trust. Ask them about their experiences with their tax advisor. If they have nothing but positive plaudits, would they mind giving you their accountant’s business card or phone number?
If you don’t know anyone who has had a good experience with their accountant, check review websites of tax advisors you have your eye on. Don’t just look at the average reviews. Read up on the negative feedback and see how the accountant responded. Did they offer to help the person with their complaint? Reading reviews from sites, like Yelp and Google Business, will give you a pretty strong sense of what an accountant’s weaknesses are.
Work with a Single Individual or Small Group Instead of a Large Corporation
Small companies or single individuals will always spend more time on you than large firms. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with lawyers, insurance brokers, travel agents, or accountants. The fewer clients your tax advisor has, the more time he or she has to spend looking at your accounts.
Here are the advantages of working with a small firm:
- Availability: Faster response times and better likelihood that you will get a response outside of work hours.
- Negotiable fees: Large accounting companies likely have set fees that cover every client across the board with little room for negotiating a price. On top of their ability to negotiate, small accounting firms can fine-tune their services to fit into exactly what you need. This will lead to more money in your pocket.
- Specialization: You’re more likely to find a tax advisor who has had the experience you’re looking for.
- Personal approach: You want your accountant to treat you like an individual and not just a number. Accountants at small firms are more likely to want to get to know you.
- Working with an individual or small firm means that your accountant will likely remember you, your financials, and your needs. If you plan on using an accountant’s services for more than just once a year, it’s important to work with someone who knows your numbers inside and out. Bottom line, hiring a small accounting firm allows you to build a genuine relationship with your tax advisor.
- There are many tax advisors out there, so don’t hesitate to move on from a candidate if you don’t like them. Whether you’re not a fan of their work style or you’re not sure of their approach, trust your gut!
- Clout: Your small accounting team may have gotten their start at one of the top four firms. If they had a long tenure at KPMG, Deloitte, or PwC, they’ve likely amassed a tremendous amount of experience while fine-tuning their expertise. Branching off into a smaller company may also mean that your tax advisor had enough clout to find their own clients.
Check Credentials and Experience
All CPAs should know what they’re doing. But if you want to partner with someone who knows what they’re doing with an extra slice of creativity and ingenuity, your best bet is to hire an accountant who has worked with individuals in your similar financial situation. The difference between a young CPA and a seasoned CPA may amount to thousands of dollars.
Don’t be shy to ask a potential tax advisor about their past work experience and special education or credentials. Find out what their specialties are. Can they really save you tons of money, or are they more concerned with just filing your taxes on time? It’s okay to treat your initial meeting like a job interview—you are hiring them, after all. Your vigilance will pay off.
It’s worth looking at their educational background and work experience: did they study at top universities? Have they ever worked with the biggest accounting firms before? These names are strong indicators of extensive education and work proficiency.
Contact TPI Group Today to Discuss Your Tax Preparation
TPI Group has helped many high-income individuals lower their tax returns through strategic and skillful preparation and planning. Our team has used various tax minimization strategies to help our clients reduce their tax bill through a combination of income deferral, investments, income splitting, income spreading, tax credit planning, and more. We can help you save thousands, even millions of dollars on your taxes. Get in touch with a TPI tax advisor today!