How to Find a CPA

(Versus Tax Preparer or Enrolled Agents)

Need to know how to find a CPA? Want to know the difference between a CPA and a tax preparer?

CPAs and tax preparers each have their advantages and disadvantages. Each can help you file your business tax return, but it’s important to choose the right professional for your needs – and save yourself both time and money.

Do you just need your taxes filed quickly and cheaply? Or, do you need want guidance and advice? What you need determines the right path.

How to find a CPA

CPAs have many more credentials and can represent clients in front of the IRS, if needed.

Types of CPAs:

  • Tax accountant: Tax accountants specialize in the laws and regulations for preparation and calculation of taxes. They prepare and file tax returns.
  • Managerial accountant: A managerial accountant provides important information to stockholders and parties outside of the organization.
  • Compliance accountant: A compliance accountant makes sure that posting, balancing, and reconciliation of the general ledger are accurate. They also prepare reports for internal accounting and auditing.

The more complex your tax situation, the better off you are hiring a CPA.

CPAs have:

  • 150 hours of higher education
  • Have professional accounting experience
  • Have continuing professional educational

CPAs audit financial records, perform governmental accounting, help companies with financial planning, and more.

They often do more thorough work than tax preparers and have the tools to delve really deep if needed. Many accountants recommend tax preparers when they see a given situation is not that complex. A CPA generally has better tools to minimize your tax liability.

A CPA can even help with issues that go way beyond taxes: “Whether you need monthly accounting support or seasonal support during your busiest seasons, a CPA can provide additional value to your tax strategy and finances as a whole,” finance and accounting firm Paro says on getting accounting help.

“For example, several clients we have met with in the past several years have only had income from employment wages (W-2 form); which would result in a tax return that our firm cannot offer any additional expertise in the preparation of, while also charging a higher fee for the same end result.”

Tax preparer

Tax preparers, on the other hand, don’t have to have a college degree at all.

There are a couple of different types of tax preparers. Some require credentials. Enrolled agents have the highest level of certification by the IRS and can represent clients to the agency.

A tax preparer or enrolled agent may be all the help you need to file your taxes. Tax preparers collect relevant financial records and determine deductions, refunds, and payments. They also file documents with the IRS.

For smaller companies whose taxes aren’t too complicated, tax preparers can save them money and help them get their tax returns done quickly and easily. 

What about bookkeeping?

Now that you know how to find a CPA or tax preparer, you might be wondering how much each will cost you.

Accounting and bookkeeping fees vary. However, bookkeeping fees tend to be a lot lower since they require basic services.

“Each year, the I.R.S. compiles a “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams. Although the scams are wide-ranging, many of them include actions taken by shady tax preparers, such as promising inflated refunds, falsely claiming deductions and credits, or encouraging clients to avoid their tax obligations,” writes The New York Times about the tax preparer vs CPA debate.

“Unfortunately, just about anyone can become a paid tax preparer. Most states have few to no requirements for certification, training, or even competency testing.”

Bookkeeping and accounting are some of the oldest – and most necessary – professions – dating back to ancient civilizations.

How to find a CPA:

Now that you know all there is to know about how to find a CPA or tax preparer, you may be ready to hire one. So, what’s next? was founded in 2016 as part of Nazaire & Co, a Garden City, New York accounting and business consulting firm. Our bookkeepers and accountants are certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors in bookkeeping, equipped with anywhere from three to more than 15 years of experience as well as vast expertise in QuickBooks software. Whether you require on-site or remote assistance, our bookkeepers can track every penny entering and exiting your business.