Values Your CPA Firm Should Have
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are licensed accounting professionals that maintain a CPA license through rigorous training and strict adherence to professional standards in the accounting industry – at least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. Every CPA has public accounting experience and has passed their Uniform CPA Exam, but it takes more than just book knowledge to make a good CPA. At Rohloff Associates, we believe there’s a big difference between certified and qualified, and we work hard to not only stay at the top of industry trends and maintain our knowledge, but to also always have your best interests at heart creating a relational CPA.
Your CPA Firm Should Be Reputable and Relational
All CPA firms are guided by the same accounting principles, audit rules, tax regulations, and are expected to follow a code of ethics that includes honesty and putting the client’s interests first. A qualified CPA firm needs to always have ethics top of mind, or else there could be terrible consequences down the road for both the firm and the client – the Enron Scandal is an example of smart CPAs with bad intentions. The most important difference between firms comes down to their people, their professional expertise, and the level of service they deliver. However, “professional expertise” and “level of service” isn’t limited to how quickly they can get the job done, or how sound their advice is. Your accountant should take the time to understand you and your unique circumstances. They should foster a year-round relationship with you that will give them greater context when tax season comes around. The relationships Rohloff Associates builds with its clients are at the core of why we do what we do, and is what qualifies us to make informed decisions that are always in your best interests. Our commitment to you and your financial health is the heart of our mission, and the close relationship we look to build is a key component of our secret recipe.
Why Is a Close Relationship With Your CPA So Important?
When talking with business owners who came to us from other CPA firms, we often hear things like:
- “I can never get a hold of them.”
- “I didn’t know I was going to owe so much until a few days before it’s due.”
- “I didn’t know that I should have done x, y, and z last year.”
- “Why didn’t they tell me that?”
- “They tell me they are ‘too busy’ to talk to me right now.”
In fact, feeling neglected, misunderstood, or misinformed by their previous accountants are the top reasons why they come to us. During tax season, our team always takes calls from non-clients, too. They are overwhelmed and looking for advice, and we answer their questions and help ease their minds. Yes, it’s busy and inefficient. Yes, it’s easy to get sucked into numbers. Yet, caring for people is a core value for us, and it goes beyond just the team and our clients. We want to show respect and care for those that call us wanting another option. Perhaps it’s the start of a new client relationship, or maybe not. Regardless, we aspire to do things differently by staying true to our values whether the recipient pays us or not.
The Best Accounting Firms Aren’t Traditional
We do things differently than traditional CPA firms because we believe that the better way forward isn’t the way it’s always been. Business owners of all different sizes come to us because they feel let down by their traditional CPA, who treats their case the same as the next business owner they meet with. Or worse yet, they call their traditional CPA and are told to call back in May. This is how traditional firms work. In reality, every circumstance is unique and requires a personalized action plan, regardless of if it’s tax season or not. Maybe they’re launching a new business or going through a really difficult situation and need urgent help. RA wants to take a new approach – one built on relationships. We believe that a top accounting firm is a resource for clients throughout the year. A strong foundation is started by listening, providing time, and asking questions. Even better yet – by removing the billable hour model, we accomplish this WITHOUT a clock ticking in the background. We want to hear about the different things your business has going on and the challenges it’s facing. We also want to celebrate your successes with you, both big and small.
Why We Interview Our Potential Clients
It may sound odd, but we “interview” our potential clients as well. We want to know that we work well together and provide strategic, proactive advice. If we both want a relationship built on trust and sharing knowledge, seeing how we click is imperative. During that time of learning about the business, we warn clients that we might ask a lot of questions. This helps us to learn, allows us to dive deep into the books quickly, and starts building rapport. It gives us insight into things you may not realize are affecting you, your business, and your taxes. Tax strategy can only go so far if we don’t know long term personal goals, and understanding you helps us provide long term strategic solutions instead of just a band aid approach.
How Does This Process Provide Long-Term Benefits?
During the year as new tax laws come out, changes are made, and your business grows, we can start bringing new, relevant, proactive advice that is tailored to you. It’s not a one size fits all approach because everyone’s business is so different. No one likes finding out the week of the due date that they owe money for prior year taxes, their HSA, their retirement plan, AND 1st quarter taxes. Especially if they went from years of growing a business and not having to pay, to suddenly owing. If you have a close relationship with your CPA, they should be letting you know what you will owe for taxes. Surprises involving the IRS, money owed, or deductions lost are never fun. We would rather provide advice during the year when we can make informed decisions, determine what cash flow is, and know the budget is being tracked. Having the conversation of how we work with you is instrumental to you as a business owner as well. We’ll ask questions such as:
- What if we are more aggressive than you want to be? Too conservative?
- What if we don’t have experience in your industry?
- What if you don’t speak numbers and they only speak in numbers?
Don’t Wait Until Tax Season to Start Building a Relationship
Our top reason for wanting to build a relationship with you? It can be really lonely at the top. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7/365 gig. There are issues that arise, topics you haven’t dealt with, and a plethora of obstacles as your company grows. Think of us as your financial therapists. We’re here to support you throughout the year with the same level of commitment to you as you have to your customers.
Sometimes, you want a solution. We can do that.
Sometimes, you want to talk it out. We can do that, too.
Being able to discuss financials, money, and taxes is never easy. By building and fostering that relationship, our team can provide solutions, advice, or next steps to solve the issue.
It is our passion for partnering with you to make your life goals and dreams a reality that truly makes us get up every day. We seek to cultivate relationships with each client, accommodating specific requests and working to provide the personal attention, recognition, and respect our clients deserve. Don’t wait to start the conversation, we’re here year round and would love to hear from you! Give us a call or reach out to us on our website. We can’t wait to learn about your circumstances and show you why we outshine traditional accounting firms.