I can do things that few CPA's can do as effectively and efficiently as I do - even with commonly available software (QuickBooks, Excel, MS Access, etc). I am in the solutions business, and I will find a solution if there is one to be found.
Also, I'm not a jerk: I try to work within the comfort levels of my clients' personnel, whether I'm dealing with the mail clerk or the CEO.
I have been sharpening my skill set for the past 20+ years - that is investing in continuous improvement all this time. And I will continue to do so for another 20+ years unless I die or something.
I enjoy the relationships I have built along the way, and being able to use what I am naturally good to do something that is meaningful.
I have a natural aptitude for numbers and accounting systems. I've known I wanted to be a CPA since I was in high school. I saw it as the best use of my natural talents at the time and I still do today. (I became a CPA in 2003.)
There have been many times in my career where I have had an opportunity to create order out of chaos, and that has worked to the benefit of those I work with. This may be guilty pleasure of mine, but being the hero is pretty cool!
We hired Daniel more than 2 years ago to straighten our QuickBooks program. Daniel completely remapped QuickBooks and got our financials straightened out. We have retained Daniel to assist us in all aspects of our accounting, including preparing our taxes. Since he is a QuickBooks expert, we have been able to drop the QuickBooks support plan, saving us a substantial amount of money. Whenever we have a question or a problem, Daniel always promptly gets us back on track. Whenever we are considering a new program that interfaces with QuickBooks, we always ask Daniel to review the program before we implement it. We are very happy with Daniel, and hope to have a long professional relationship with him.
He's a number wizard. It's my first time having an accountant, and I came to our first meeting feeling pretty ill-prepared. I'm a small business (it's just me) and I felt strange hiring someone to do my books. I thought I should have been able to do it myself. He very soon made me feel comfortable and assured me I'd be fine. Daniel said that it's smart to ask for help, and focus on the things I do best. He prepared a great spreadsheet for me for all my expenses so now I'm set up to fend for myself better. He told me his timeline, updated me as he got things done and had it all finished just as he said he would. I'll definitely have him do my taxes next year.
Excellent knowledge of QB. We were looking for someone to show us how to use QB more effectively and he did a good job of that.
I will have a discussion regarding their needs and situation and determine a course of action that makes sense.
There are times when a prospective client will want to skip the Q&A and know what it is going to cost as soon as possible. While I can understand the need to manage costs, we cannot bypass this crucial step if I am to determine a reasonable estimate for my services. So my request: please be patient so I can best understand your needs and how to meet them within a reasonable budget.
I am a CPA licensed in Ohio and California. In 2016 I invested heavily in gaining proficiency in using Microsoft Access. Now I can write VBA Code and put together SQL code strings. Doing so has greatly increased what I can do, and it will only deepen over time.
All of us CPA's are required by law to have at least 40 hours of continuing education every year. I take the education part seriously, so I don't attempt to skate by with easy courses. Nearly all of my courses are self study because I get the most from that format. Anybody can sit in a seminar and pretend to listen to the speaker while doing crossword puzzles. To me, that isn't learning - that's doing time.
It's not really that complicated, but it's a departure from the hourly rate model that is common in my profession. My pricing is largely activity based. I have a price list for various services and activities - and I use this price list in my work order system much like a plumber or electrician would do. This list has got to be something like seven pages long and could easily be misunderstood, so I won't post it here.
When I was 13 my grandfather suggested "you should really consider becoming a CPA as a career choice."
Me at the time: "what's a CPA?"
Acting on his advice, I took my first accounting course as a senior in high school. The material came easily to me and I was clearly head and shoulders above the rest of my class in understanding the material. So my college major was a no-brainer. Clearly my grandfather was on to something.
Manufacturers, real estate professionals, medical practices, non-profit organizations, individuals and small businesses.
My business clients tend to be closely held corporations or partnerships and often have $500k to $5m in revenue. My largest single client at this time is a manufacturer with about $8m in revenue.
I also prepare personal income tax returns, but I prepare more business returns.
During the Summer of 2019 I was working a database for a client to prepare financial statements, make cost accounting calculations, and other things like that. To really take it to the next level, I needed to figure out how to post records to tables using a VBA procedure. Previously I relied on action queries and macros for this.
I must have made 20 or so attempts to get the code right - including hours of research and a few weekends playing mad scientist until I found the answer. I knew it: the answer could not be far, but it was just barely out of reach...
But you know something: I finally found the answer. I made that breakthrough. Then I copied the code onto a Word Doc for future reference. I suppose it was akin to finding the Triforce in Hyrule. And I have been using this to great effect ever since.
A good CPA or bookkeeper will ask and answer a lot of questions about your business operations, how your administrative procedures work, etc. So please be prepared for that. This is part of the process of understanding what your needs are and how you can benefit. You should have some questions in mind too, and not just those that are price related. Some prospective clients want to know what it's going to cost as soon as possible - and I totally understand that feeling. However, this inquiry process is essential in understanding how best to structure the service agreement and fee arrangement.
I believe many clients that have a CPA aren't utilizing that expertise the way they should. Yes, a good CPA will keep you out of trouble with the IRS and other taxing authorities. But we CPA's are good for a lot more than that. If you have a CPA and only see him (or her) once a year for tax time, then you're really missing out on some opportunities to do what you do and do it better. Is your cost structure appropriate for your business? Are you likely to be short on cash three months from now? Is your current course a sustainable one? These are the kind of questions that a good accountant can help you find the answers to.