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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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CPA interview

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: What questions should I ask when interviewing CPA's for my business? I have had a CPA for the last several years, so the taxes are all in order. What is the average rate for a CPA? Is a tax advisor the same as a CPA? Should location of the CPA matter?

A: All are good questions. First, since you use QuickBooks accounting, it would be helpful if your CPA was also certified as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. The practical advantages will save you time and money in the long run. By utilizing the remote technology built into QuickBooks, it really does not matter if your CPA is across the room or across the country. Small practice CPAs usually charge an hourly rate, but there is so much variance that not much can be said in terms of "averages". Intuit publishes some data on this, but in the end it is meaningless where conditions of your specific market applies. As a matter of observation, CPAs tend to be tax advisers only "after the fact". If you want to do tax planning - that is to develop and implement active strategies to lower taxes - be aware that this is not an area that most CPAs spend much time. Those who specialize in this typically utilize the term "tax adviser" to describe their practice, whereas most CPAs do not.


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