When you’re a humble business, your numbers are everything – so you can’t risk it when you pay an accountant to manage your money.

The CPA you hire shouldn’t be the go-to guy for your tax return; they should be your trusted confidant who points out problems before they spiral out of control and provide the necessary information to make sound business decisions. Plenty of people have this belief that CPAs are they to tackle your tax returns, but at the end of the day, they will save you money and help to grow your business.

Besides that, your CPA will know your businesses deepest and darkest secrets –and make damn sure you trust them with that information.

The both of you should mesh well
You’ll be meeting with your CPA on a regular basis. If they’re going to be analyzing your business’s numbers, you have to make sure the both of you don’t step on each other’s toes. Ask them about their standards and protocols: do they meet face to face with their clients, or is everything handled over the phone? These questions will help you feel out the person to see if they are a perfect for your business.

The point is to have someone who will be there for you, help you solve your problems, and know your business on a higher level. And it’s important that they describe everything in simple terms, not only to make sure the both of you are on the same page, but to teach you what you don’t know. You don’t want someone that talks tax law jargon – nerd speak – you want someone that shows you what you need to know right now.

Must be dependable
I strongly highlight the importance of making sure your CPA is dependable. You want someone who will be there for you when you need them the most and who exceeds their deadlines. It’s not worth your time and money to waste time with an undependable CPA.

Must be hands-on and personal
When it comes to your money, you want to know about any potential problems ahead of time, so discovering a CPA who is hands-on and personal is paramount. You want someone that will ask the right questions and uncover any problems before they happen.

CPAs are required to continue their education in order to keep their license and stay ahead of the changing tax laws. I recommend you verify your CPAs credentials are in line and up to date.

Make sure your CPA is experienced
Accounting is broad industry – make sure your CPA is educated in one exact area. For example, in the retail world, inventory is a big part of the financial process; in banking, inventory doesn’t exist. A CPA who has in-depth knowledge within your industry will be better equipped to tackle your numbers.

Are they trustworthy?
Lastly, you should make sure that the CPA you’re giving your financial details to is trustworthy. You’re giving them information that is vital to your business – you need to know if they’re honest. Recheck their credentials, ask them for their license, or pull up your state’s accountancy board website to see if they’re even registered.

The best way to find a trusty CPA is to ask for recommendations from the people you already trust. Above all, ask them why they love their CPA – if they talk about the points I have made above, then you’ve already found one. And, if you schedule a meeting with the recommended accountant, and your spidey sense says they might be dodgy, go with that instinct.