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What to Look for in CFO and CPA Services

Do you find yourself looking for expert tax advice that goes beyond the standard online software? Perhaps you’re one of the millions of people that tried online selling? According to the latest numbers, there are about 32.5 million small businesses in the U.S. with many of these having only one or two employees. 

Regardless, businesses and individuals must pay taxes, which can be complicated come tax season. While sole proprietors can combine their business and personal income tax payments on one tax return, there are other things sole proprietors can do to make tax season easier. For example, a sole proprietor could outsource chief financial officer (CFO) services. 

The Difference Between CFO and CPA Services and Why It Matters

One of the best things you can do ahead of tax season is to hire a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), like Peter B. Scala. While this is good advice for everyone, if you are a sole proprietor or own a small business, hiring a CPA adds a layer of professionalism to whatever financial situation you and your business encounter.

The primary difference between a CPA and CFO is the scope of practice. For instance, CPAs largely focus on financial reporting for accountability purposes. CFOs, in contrast, focus on financial decisions about the welfare of the company. Most small businesses and sole proprietors don’t need and can’t afford a full-time CFO. However, that doesn’t mean a small business and sole proprietor would not benefit from outsourced CFO services.

Common Outsourced CFO Services

Individuals, small businesses, and sole proprietors can tap into a wealth of financial knowledge and education by hiring an outsourced CFO service expert. Better still. When you hire a CFO expert like Peter B. Scala, you get personalized financial advice you can apply to your situation.

  • Financial System Design and Strategy–if you need help developing a financial payment or other systems, a CFO can help with a custom-made system for your financial needs.
  • Forecasting (short and long-term)–CFOs see the big picture from both the business environment and how the small business and/or sole proprietor fits into that environment. CFO forecasting services provide a road map for reaching specific short and long-term goals.
  • Raising Capital–Those experts that understand the business environment have the best connections for raising business capital.
  • Budgeting–Everyone needs a budget and it is a crucial part of a financial footprint.
  • Scaling and Expanding–Perhaps you want to expand your sole proprietorship  

This is a broad cross-view of what a CFO does. But it nonetheless represents the variety of CFO services available. 

Versatility is one of the key things to look for in both a CFO and a CPA. With extensive knowledge about tax liability and what it takes to scale a business, it makes sense to hire a professional such as Peter B. Scala that specializes in CFO services and CPA services. 

What To Look For In CPA Services

With the number of technology and software companies offering free tax software as a benefit for hiring a professional tax preparer, is hiring a traditional CPA even necessary? The short answer is yes and here’s why.

Reputation–Above all else, CPA services should operate within strict codes of ethics. A large amount of professionalism attached to the accounting profession comes from the trained ability to keep records. Keeping records requires integrity and transparency. The CPA service should promote integrity and transparency. 

Education and Training–Not all accountants are CPAs. Some legitimate and reputable accountants never earn the CPA title and that’s fine. Being a CPA simply means the professional took training and tested for certification to act in an official capacity in the public’s best interest. As a CPA the professional gets listed with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Some accounts obtain specific training and certification with advanced software packages like QuickBooks. These are private courses that help accountants do specific collections of tasks. Some CPAs are also members of Accountex, a global community of accountants and CPAs. All CPAs and accountants should follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and/or something similar as a companion to a code of ethics. 

Experience–Because CPAs are inherently in the public finance space, they have records and reputations that can be checked into. When looking for CPA services, make sure the firms you look at have the experience you need. If all you need is tax preparation and advice, make sure the CPA services you choose are really good at taxes.

Much of what a local CPA does is community-based, that is, they help local residents with things like tax preparation and returns. To this end, the CPA should have a local reputation either through word of mouth and/or social media platforms.   

Location–Local residents, sole proprietors, and small businesses sometimes want to hire a local CPA or CFO for in-person looks into personal and business finances. This is an important option for some. However, these days technology like cloud computing makes CPA services possible anywhere needed without physically being there. 

Closing Thoughts

These days, it helps to have a CPA and/or CFO on your side who knows the complexities of tax law and business accounting. The business world can be unforgiving to those without the knowledge to prepare actionable financial reports and legal audits. It helps even more if the CPA and/or CFO has local reputations with business owners who trust the CPA services. 

If you need reliable and reputable CPA and/or CFO services, give Peter B. Scala a call. With almost 25 years of public accounting service, he’s seen a thing or two about finances. From preparing your local tax filings for your sole proprietary to getting the best possible tax return Peter B. Scala is your trusted partner. Give him a call for trusted CPA services.

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