There are so many things to consider…
when hiring a CPA, and it’s easy to miss some of the more obvious questions, not to mention some of the less-obvious questions to ask. When I wrote The Time-Wealthy Investor, I was brought back to the memory of all the things I went through when first bringing my Dream Team together.
“What’s this going to cost me?”
Some of the most obvious questions are almost always based around price. But that should be among the least of your worries. A professional costs what it costs. I know so many people that get themselves into hot water because they are too concerned to pay $200 to meet with a CPA that could have saved them $30,000 in tax liability. A better question is HOW they charge. Specifically, should you expect to pay for phone calls? Returning emails? If so, is it billed in 15 minute increments or by the minute? These aren’t bad questions, you just need to know up front what you can expect, and a professional will not be upset by you asking them up front.
But no, this isn’t the question you should ask when hiring a CPA. The purpose behind this article has more to do with this individual CPA’s level of expertise.
“What experience do you have with working with people with rental properties?”
Why is this important? Simply put, because there are a LOT of nuances in tax law, particularly around those that own and operate rental real estate. You need to have a CPA that isn’t just “A guy/gal that does your taxes…” You need to consider this person to be part of your team. Someone that you will have regular meetings with whenever you need to make a move on your real estate holdings.
Also, THEY need to know this is how you’re considering them. If you have a part-time CPA that simply does taxes, then goes on a siesta for 6 months in the off-tax season, that might not be the person you want on your team. Consider someone that you can call and schedule a time to talk or meet with during the year so you can be best prepared for the upcoming tax year. I can tell you, your CPA doesn’t like surprises, so if they are a true professional they won’t mind you calling such a meeting to keep them in the loop on things.
There are a lot more questions to ask of course, but this is by far among the most important. Bottom line, make sure you take your time to be educated about the individual you’re bringing on to your team, and is well-equipped to bring you the level of Time-Wealth you’re seeking.
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