How to find a good real estate CPA?

15 Replies

Does anyone have advice on how to find a good real estate CPA? I’m in the heart of NC if you know someone personally in the area. I formed a LLC with my partner last year and we have a few units now so when it comes to filling my taxes I don’t think H&R Block is going to cut it this year. Thanks! Dan

@Dan Bryant - You are absolutely right! A good CPA is clutch in any business. We found ours through a business friend's recommendation. He isn't a REI specific CPA but we have enjoyed working with him.

I'm assuming that you have already asked around your business acquaintances to see who others would recommend (or who to avoid - valuable as well). If not, do that. I'd also ask within your local REI networking groups. I know our Memphis group has several who are members. Once you get a few recs, I'd make appointments with them and see if they are a good fit for what you need now and will help you get where you want to be as your business grows!

Best of luck!

@Dan Bryant not only will your tax filings be more complex, but you also need a CPA to prepare (or extend) your LLC's return before March 15 (if you haven't already done so).

@Logan Allec - Good point!  Also since you are a CPA what are the pros/cons of using a local vs non-local CPA?  Does it matter?  

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@Dan Bryant

There are many ways to find a savvy CPA

1. Biggerpockets search function - Use the search function to see if a BP colleague requested a CPA in your area. This method allows you to reach out to the BP colleague and ask who they interviewed with, who they decided to go with and if they like working with their CPA. I went ahead and pulled up posts from BP colleagues who requested a CPA in your area.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/51/topics/160...
https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/51/topics/241...
https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/51/topics/387...
https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/575/topics/33...

You may want to send a message to the thread starter of the above links 


“Hi _____,

I noticed that you recently requested to connect with a CPA in _______. I am currently in the market for a CPA and I would like to inquire who you ended up choosing. Thank you for connecting and let me know if there is anyway that I can help.Thanks,______

2. Keyword Alerts - Add the keyword alerts "Durham" and/or "North Carolina". You will notice that there are frequent members who respond to posts that have these keywords. Feel free to send a colleague request to these members to connect and see who they use as a CPA. Connecting with members who have the pro-membership have a higher tendency so be more serious and provide you a good recommendation.

3. Real Estate Networking Events - These events contain seasoned investors and would be more than happy to refer you to a CPA. You can find local networking events through the BP events section or meetup.com

4. Reach out to CPA who works with clients remotely - If you are still unable to find a local CPA that matches your needs. You may want to reach out to a CPA that works with clients remotely. I would argue that working with a remote CPA who has experience in real estate will likely be a better fit for you than a local CPA who is a Jack of all Trades. Technology has enabled communication with a remote CPA through phone calls, emails, skype etc. There are many CPA's on this site that work with clients remotely.

In the meantime - feel free to ask any tax related question. I would be more than happy to help give my opinion.

Good luck in your search!

Originally posted by @Dan Bryant :
Does anyone have advice on how to find a good real estate CPA? I’m in the heart of NC if you know someone personally in the area. I formed a LLC with my partner last year and we have a few units now so when it comes to filling my taxes I don’t think H&R Block is going to cut it this year.

Thanks! Dan

Dan, @Brandon Hall   CPA, is your man in NC.

There are a lot of great CPAs on this site, and many that work virtually like @Daniel Hyman  

Best of luck!

@Elizabeth Wilson Good question.

As a CPA with clients in various states and who is eager to pick up more clients from across the country to get as much business as possible, I am eager to say, "No! It doesn't matter!  Most states are based on federal tax law!  Seen one, you've seen them all!"

Because sure, all CPAs worth their salt will know how to get around in all states.

But there are some pros to working with a local CPA.

Reason 1: state tax laws are different

A local CPA is generally very well-acquainted with the laws in their state.  And laws can vary a lot from state to state and even in the same state from year to year.

Staying on top of the tax law changes for all different entity types (individuals, corporations, partnerships, etc.) is difficult enough for one state, and it's just not possible to do so for dozens of states.

Sure, if I am working with a client in Tennessee on a particular issue, I can do my research and come to the right conclusion, but that knowledge won't necessarily be top of mind for me like it would if the client were in California, and there may be planning opportunities that I miss because my TN tax framework I have in my head isn't second nature like my CA tax framework is.

Of course, the issues where in-depth state tax knowledge comes in handy typically don't come up when working with your typically BP newbie.

Reason 2: network

Also, a local CPA typically has a network of professionals that they know and trust that you can tap into.

For example, as a California CPA, I have a network of lawyers, agents, etc., that I can refer my California clients to.

I can't say the same for most other states, although I do have (limited) networks in those states when the needs arise.

Conclusion: look in-state for a local tax professional (CPA, EA, etc.) who is knowledgeable about real estate investing, preferably an investor him- or herself.  If you can't find such a person, then look out-of-state.

This is just my two cents.

@Logan Allec - Thank you for taking the time to share all of that!   I know there are others who will benefit from that answer as well!

@Dan Bryant my cpa is a friend from college. They answer all my questions (real estate related or not) usually within 24 hours and they have an app that I can upload all my documents to remotely. It works very well.

They’re based in Houston even though I invest in Memphis and Cleveland (while working in NC)

@Dan Bryant ,

You definitely need someone qualified, does not have to be a CPA, could be an Enrolled Agent or an attorney. Just make sure they specialize in tax and have significant experience dealing with real estate investors.

Here is a great list of questions to ask a potential accountant: http://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/51/topics/70447-questions-to-ask-a-cpa

Also check out the www.NAEA.org page in your search. It should help you find someone local. If someone comes to me, I'll send them your way.

If you need help in your search or want to verify something don't hesitate to ask.

For example: I have clients worldwide and things are just as easy as I e-mail them, talking on the phone. I even use Skype and TeamViewer to communicate with clients so I'd highly recommend looking for one of the best with great references that interviews well with you.

So look for someone you can connect with that works out for your situation.

Feel free to ask here if you have questions

@Dan Bryant Speak to a few real estate who are active in Durham, NC and of course on BP.

Another good way is via REIAs, you can simply ask the organiser of the event, as they typically know the players and the good CPAs in town.

Hope this helps, Dan. Goodluck. Thanks! - Ola 

@Dan Bryant ,

@Brandon Hall is a CPA in the Triangle area and he is very active on Bigger Pockets.  Maybe you've seen his posts on here.  He seems very knowledgable and is also an investor so I would reach out to him and see if he can help you with your needs!

H&R Block doesn't cut it for anyone. Go to a local meetup and ask who people use. You may be surprised how many use the same person. 

@Dan Bryant I use http://www.sosnowskicpa.com/ and have used her for several years. She focuses on small to medium sized businesses. She also personal owns some investment real estate.

@Dan Bryant - Try Thomas Crawford with Thomas Judy & Tucker in Raleigh.  He does a lot of work with owners and operators of real estate assets.

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