The Right Advice from the Right Advisor

By Joseph B. Tancer, CPA and Christine A. Miller, CPA

Janover LLC Certified Public Accountants & Advisors

Sponsors of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association

Successful people have used their intelligence, drive, and savvy to achieve important careers in business and professional services. There are obstacles, but they excel. How do they do it? They know their strengths and limitations, and find the right professional people to fill in where they lack. They set goals for themselves, measure their successes against those goals, and work with hand-picked professional advisors. Finding the right advisor in critical areas like investment, marketing, accounting and taxation, law, and insurance involves matching your candidate with your personal style, beliefs, and goals. You want people at your side who are skillful and mindful of what is important to you in order to get you to the next level.

Your financial advisor, a firm of Certified Public Accountants, CPA’s, is a central player on your team. They will help you review your earnings and expenses to determine where your money is coming from and going, where you can save and spend, estimate your upcoming taxes and figure out a tax plan, help you prepare loan documents, and advise you about pension plans and good bookkeeping practices, among other things—all essential in building a business.

So, how do you find the right one? First, talk to trusted business associates and friends whose businesses and philosophies are close to yours. The key is to select a CPA you can trust with your most personal and valuable data. Through careful referrals, you can find the accountant who is both knowledgeable in taxation, accounting and financial advice and thoughtful in recommending strategies that address your needs and values.

Second, what do you want from an accountant? If, for example, you have escrow accounts, you want an accountant who will come to you on a regular, monthly basis to reconcile your operating and escrow accounts. You should make sure that your accountant has backup, both in personnel and software support. You want your CPA to have a large, reputable office to be there for you if you need immediate help and your CPA is not available. Many of your important decisions require a short turn-around time. And, you want to make sure that your bookkeeping and tax records are recorded and backed up on safe, secure software.

Third, make sure your accountant has no competing interests. Does the CPA firm work for a competitor? Will that affect the advice you receive?

And fourth, as a trusted advisor, your accountant should always be on your side, looking out for your financial health, whether you ask for it or not. A professional can see a problem long before we know there is one. And isn’t that why we need a CPA firm in the first place?