Choosing the right accountant: 3 reasons to pick a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA)

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As a small business owner or as an individual looking for tax advice or tax preparation services, you might have considered getting in touch with someone to take care of your accounting or tax needs. The question then arises do you go to a non-certified accountant or pay a higher price and the get services of a CPA. In this blog we highlight three reasons why it might be worth it for you to work with a professional:

1. Knowledge

CPA’s master the skills of accounting and taxation by lengthy training and education. The CPA designation is then earned by passing a rigorous set of examinations. In order to keep a good standing as a member of a professional body, CPA’s are required to maintain and improve their skills by undergoing continuing professional development.

Many non-certified accountants having worked for several years in public practice or industry might be just as capable as CPA’s, however, what sets CPA’s apart is their ability to act as strategic business partners and provide sound financial information and analysis that can help businesses grow. 

2. Professionalism

CPA’s are part of a professional organization and are governed by a code of conduct. The fundamental principles of which are professional behaviour, objectivity, professional competence, confidentiality, integrity, and due care. When working with a professional accountant you can expect to receive high standards of service and top-quality work.

In addition to being part of an organization that strives to maintain high ethical standards, CPA’s engaged in the practice of public accounting or providing accounting services to the public are required to have professional liability insurance. This provides confidence to the client that when working with a CPA, he/she will go the extra mile to make sure that they provide the best professional advice given the circumstances of the individual or business.  

3. Audit Assistance

CPA’s educate clients about tax regulations, potential red flags and recommend best practices for record keeping. Most CPA’s offer audit assistance as part of their service offering and help clients through the process. There is always a chance for an audit when a submission is made to the CRA either for personal or corporate taxes. With a CPA representing your business, you will not have to directly deal with members of the CRA audit team which will save you a lot of time and panic moments.  

Unfortunately, what we see more often is that individuals and small business owners that work with non-certified accountants or tax preparers, find themselves abandoned by their service providers when the CRA requests for information years later. Even worse is when taxpayers try to deal with audits on their own or rely on advice from non-qualified sources. Working with a CPA right from the beginning helps you prepare for a potential audit and with professional advice, you can avoid getting into business transactions that raise a red flag with the CRA.    

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