Hiring a certified public accountant, a CPA, that is the perfect fit for your team can be the best financial decision you make for your practice. A CPA doesn’t just crunch numbers and prepare taxes. They chart your financial path, provide investment advice, determine profitable new service and product lines and provide a variety of other business and consulting services. They are your practice’s financial partner and play a critical role in how your practice can grow. That is why it is so important to take your time when hiring this important part of your team. Look for someone that you are comfortable with and that can help you understand your financial responsibilities. Below I’ve listed the top three qualities I look for during the hiring process.
One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstein: “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” I use this standard when learning something new and when hiring someone’s services. If your CPA can’t explain your finances and the applicable tax laws in simple terms, without using a whole bunch of accounting jargon, find someone who can. You always want to have a clear understanding of your practice’s finances.
There is nothing more frustrating than needing some information from your bookkeeper or CPA and having to wait days, or weeks, to hear back from them. Ask potential candidates about their turnaround time for filings, reports, emails and phone calls. Talk to their references about how responsive to their requests they have found the CPA to be. Remember, you are hiring someone to be a part of your team. It’s important that they be strong and timely communicators.
Finding a CPA that has experience with the specific needs of the veterinary industry can be a great advantage for your practice. Each industry has specific issues and needs, and a good accountant may not only understand small businesses but may also grasp how different industries operate. Have the CPA explain their professional experience and how it relates to what your financial goals are. Also ask for some references in the veterinary industry to make sure you are hiring a CPA that is experienced and dependable.
There are many characteristics and skills to look for when hiring an accountant for your practice, these are just the top three that I have found to be the most effective. Before you make any hiring decisions, make sure you interview at least three CPA’s and check each of their references. Finally, make sure they are a good fit for your practice. You are hiring a team member that will be integral to the growth of your practice. If you have any questions about how to go about hiring a CPA for your practice, I would be happy to help however I can. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.