Selecting an Accountant

7 Replies

Hello BPers, in the past year or so I took on a partner to build a real estate business while continuing to work my demanding corporate job, which I plan to continue indefinitely. We're up to 23 units. We need a more sophisticated accountant who can handle the complexity as we continue to grow. I'm looking for suggestions such as questions to ask and selection criteria. Advance thanks for your input.

ALWAYS select a CPA, not just a bookkeeper and not someone that JUST knows Quickbooks

@Jeff Ronningen for starters, you'll want to know what services they offer and if they are able to provide full accounting services. You'll also want to know if they have a network of team members that they could connect you with. Will they be able to advise you on proper entity structure for tax purposes? In general, it's a good idea to call a few to get a feel for their personalities. I would still make sure that the CPA is personable and a good communicator because you want to make sure that you are setting yourself up for success with a CPA that you can have a long term relationship with. Good luck in your search.

@Jeff Ronningen how are you? We work with out state RE investors and will be glad to help you plan for growth.

Please do not shoot the messenger. You need a team member who specializes in real estate:

1. CPA who does only taxes and gives strategic advice. CPA who does not offer bookkeeping or QuickBooks consulting

2. Bookkeeper who does not do taxes, QuickBooks setup and consulting

3. QuickBooks consultant who does not do taxes

Why do I say this? Because a person who offers tax advice may not have to do your bookkeeping. 

I should have said, who ever is going to do the work, ask them the questions and do your due deligence. Now there may be overlapping services offered by each one. But the key is to get someone who know your industry. 

Before you tell them what you do, ask them what they do in real estate. And ask a question on each an every word they say. Then only you would know if they know more than you do in the real estate industry.

hmm;  The most complicated RE accounting is the depreciation tables and 1040 depreciation recapture.  If the CPA can't handle that, then they didn't pass the exam either.  Many CPSs also provide Certified Financial Planning - - - so much better than Uncle Joe

Hello @Jeff Ronningen , I would say you must meet with at least 3 different accountants/CPAs so you can really compare and select the one with whom you feel the most comfortable. As far as the criteria, I agree it is always best to find a professional who specializes in the real estate/construction industry. The tax code is so complex, and changes so often, that it is important to have someone who knows your industry well. Another thing to consider is whether you want to be able to visit their office or if electronic and phone communication is enough for you.

Hope this helps,

-Ana

A very late thank you for the replies. I selected the accountant who was referred by my attorney. The attorney specializes in real estate and is also an investor. The CPA has REI clients and knows it well.

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