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Why is it so hard to find a good accountant?

AdiAdi subscriber Posts: 2 Member
Hey All,

I’ve noticed a lot of people recently that are getting frustrated with the process of looking for recommended accountants. It seems a crazy simple thing that everyone has trouble with!

Why is everyone finding it so difficult to find a good person? Is it having a bad experience, hard to search for accountancies or that when you start out you just don’t know what sorts of services you need? I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts! It's something I've found a pain.


  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness administrator Posts: 1,137 Site Admin
    edited June 2017
    It may be a mixture of both. 

    One other thing I've noticed for smaller businesses that I've worked for is that it is often one person responsible for both accounts payable and accounts receivable, and it can understandably be a lot for one person to keep up with. So things fall behind, people get angry, services cease, etc. So I think the managing of it, and prioritizing payment deadlines is most important. 

    For the most part, though, I've had positive experiences with accountants. 
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
  • AdiAdi subscriber Posts: 2 Member
    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for letting me know. Certainly in our early stages, I felt pretty overwhelmed with what I should be doing. The subsequent search for someone was quite hard because I wasn't clear on what I needed. Did you find that? Or how did you decide to work with an accountant (and find one)?
  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness administrator Posts: 1,137 Site Admin
    edited June 2017
    I haven't actually been in a position to hire one for a company, but I was just reflecting on some of the struggles I've seen at places I've been employed. 

    Here is another thread in the community that be beneficial for you to check out: https://community.startupnation.com/discussion/10210/what-to-look-for-an-accountant-for-your-business 

    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
  • PZagottiPZagotti subscriber Posts: 23 Bronze Level Member
    There are a few reasons.
    1. In the CPA world 75% of the current licensed CPAs are expected to retire over the next 5 to 10 years and there are fewer young CPAs and even fewer who are in public practice.
    2. As a result the younger good CPAs are already full of clients and don't have the bandwidth to take on new business.
    3. Many new businesses don't have the funds to pay a CPA and use bookkeepers and other paraprofessionals. The end results are not what the client desired and create issues down the road.

    Now the question is what kinds of services are you really looking for?
    - If its bookkeeping then you should be able to find a good bookkeeper for $20 to $50 a hour, depending on the size of your business, accounting system and kind of work needed.
    - If you are looking for audit and tax work then that bookkeeper does not have the education, skills or certifications needed. You will want a CPA for the audit / tax work and they are typically $100 to $250 an hour. If that sounds expensive just remember that a CPA spend 5 years in college, one year working under another CPA and then roughly 1 years completing 4 separate test to get that license. They have 7 years in that license similar to a lawyer who has 4 year in an undergrad degree and then 3 years of law school.

    My advise is to get a bookkeeper to maintain the books and then have a CPA to do the taxes and audit, (if an audit is needed). That way you are not paying the CPA more then you need to and you also have two sets of eyes on the books to keep the bookkeeper honest.
    Phillip Zagotti
    Zagotti & Burdette CPA, LLC
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