Choosing a Personal Accountant

Taxes are tricky. If you have one job, nothing to write off, and no dependent, doing your own taxes is a relatively simple and painless task. You can either do it on paper on use one of the many online tax services that require little more than registering and inputting all of your information - the program calculates everything and tells you how much you owe or how much you’re getting back.



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But what if your personal finances are a bit more...involved? If you have more than one job, dependents, bought a new home, or any other of the thousands of potential things to include and ways to interpret them all. It can be a daunting task, and while online programs can help, nothing can beat the talent and knowledge that a personal tax accountant can bring to the table.

Choosing a personal accountant is no easy task. You have a choice between an uncertified accountant and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA); the smart decision is the CPA, as they’re licensed and typically have a far greater knowledge of tax preparation and are more adept at helping you manage your personal finances. An uncertified accountant can be suitable if you only need something simple done, but the more in depth your finances and taxes are, the greater the need for someone with the necessary qualifications.

If all you need is simple tax preparation or bookkeeping, then an uncertified accountant, or, conversely, one that is still climbing the corporate ladder in a firm, may be a suitable option. They don’t have the knowledge of a CPA, but they’re typically qualified enough to assist you in basic tax preparation and other minor financial matters.

Finding an accountant can be as simple as opening a phone book or doing an online search, but if you need to find a CPA, your best bet is to seek out your state’s local CPA registry or find a local CPA firm. Before doing this, remember that CPAs can be very expensive, so be sure to discuss your needs with one in detail before making a final decision.

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Posted on May 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM