Choosing a chartered professional accountant (CPA) in Canada is crucial for all individuals and businesses. A CPA provides valuable financial expertise, tax planning, and auditing services, which all come in handy in Canada’s evolving accounting and taxation landscape.
For one, this year’s federal tax brackets have increased by 6.3 percent to account for inflation. The contribution limit for the annual Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) has also risen by about 8.3 percent. More changes are rolling out this year, and a CPA can undoubtedly provide professional assistance to taxpayers.
If you’re looking for a CPA in Canada, here are five tips to help you in your search:
When assessing a prospect, start with their credentials and experience, ensuring they are what they claim to be. They should also be a member of a recognized professional accounting association in the country — Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), for example.
Work with a CPA experienced with businesses or individuals whose financial circumstances resemble yours. There’s no denying that seasoned professionals have a depth of knowledge that neophytes are still trying to build.
Like most professionals, CPAs are only as good as their industry reputation. Ask your relatives, friends, coworkers, or business associates for recommendations. They are most likely to give you accurate information.
You can also explore professional directories or even online reviews. However, stick to trusted websites like the Better Business Bureau or Clutch and avoid anything shady or questionable.
Before zeroing in on a particular prospect, know their range of services and see if they match your needs. This could be tax planning, auditing, business advisory services, or a combination of those services.
Like doctors and lawyers, CPAs can also specialize in certain areas of their practice, so find someone with focused and relevant expertise. At the same time, they must be capable of giving you overall financial guidance throughout the year, in or out of tax season.
Hire a CPA who can effectively communicate while building a fruitful working relationship with you. How responsive are they when you try to reach out? How well can they explain complicated financial matters in a way you understand?
They should be approachable, listen to your needs, and promptly respond when you reach out. The better you can communicate with your CPA and the more accessible they are, the better your financial decisions will be.
Lastly, be clear about your prospect’s fee structure to ensure consistency with your budget and expectations. With some CPAs, you have to pay an hourly rate, while others charge fixed rates for a particular set of services.
At any rate, always request a breakdown of your potential costs, but don’t hyperfocus on them. A cheap offer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve found the best CPA firm in Canada.
Consider the total value for you while balancing pricing and service quality. Don’t hesitate to pay a premium for a reputable CPA. It’s an investment with good returns, such as reduced tax liabilities and an optimized financial situation.
Based on a Deloitte study, certain parts of Canada are experiencing a shortage of CPAs today, such as British Columbia (BC). This increases the competition among practitioners, which is good news for taxpayers. Don’t focus on one prospect at a time when looking for a CPA. Consider at least two or three and compare them before choosing.