By Kyla Hansen, CPA, CVA
When you hire an accounting firm or a CPA, you’re essentially trusting someone else with your taxes and financials. Needless to say, this is a big deal. It’s important that your provider is well qualified and equipped to help you comply with tax regulations and make sound decisions about your finances. But word-of-mouth referrals and online reviews only tell you so much. How can you be certain an accounting firm or CPA is a reputable provider?
To help you answer this question, here are some (free) resources you can use to find or vet an accounting firm or CPA.
To find a Minnesota-based firm that specializes in your business type or industry:
The Minnesota Society of CPAs has a searchable directory on their website that lets you narrow your search by firm location, services, size, industry, and language.
To check the standing of an accounting firm or CPA:
The Minnesota Board of Accountancy has several databases that allow you to verify an accounting firm’s or individual CPA’s standing. Minnesota-licensed CPAs are required to complete 120 hours of education every three years (minimum of 20 hours each year).
Looking for an accounting firm outside of Minnesota?
The American Institute of CPAs maintains several resources, including a “CPA License Verification” tool, that can help you check an accounting firm’s standing with its state board.
Need an accounting firm that issues financial statements?
Firms that issue financial statements (audits, reviews, and compilations) firms are held to a higher compliance standard. Every three years these firms must undergo a peer review, which includes an examination of the firm’s continuing professional education program, policies and procedures, employee handbook, and documentation that shows their work on financial statements. The Public File of the AICPA Peer Review Program lets you view the results of a firm’s most recent peer review.
Looking for a federal tax preparer?
Anyone can say they provide tax preparation services. But how do you know they currently hold the professional credentials recognized by the IRS? This directory gives you a way to search for tax professionals in your area who possess the required credentials and qualifications.
Find the right (highly qualified) accounting firm for you.
Your accounting firm or CPA should be 100% qualified to perform the important work you’ve hired them to do. There’s no reason to settle for anything less. With the resources I’ve listed here, you have the power to find a provider who can help you overcome the tax and accounting challenges you’re facing—and sleep more soundly at night. If you have questions about any of these resources, or if you would like to learn more about JAK’s team of highly qualified accountants, please contact us today.