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Consumer How To Choose Guide 2015

Dalton Daily CItizen, Dalton Magazine

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48 The Daily Citizen ◆ HOW TO CHOOSE GUIDE 2015 You work hard for the money that you make. A great accountant can make sure that money stays protected and works for you. Choose an accountant wise- ly. The right accountant will be able to plan ahead and advise you accordingly. A bad accountant can not only waste your money but hurt you financially in the long term. Take your time and do thor- ough research to find the right accountant. An accountant is a licensed professional who can examine, organize and keep track of the financial matters of individuals and businesses. Accountants need to possess the ability to crunch numbers and must be familiar with legal issues as they relate to finance. By choosing the right accountant, you will have someone to turn to when you are considering important financial decisions. They will be able to tell you both the financial and legal implica- tions of your decision. If you prefer to handle your own financial affairs, there are many computer programs and software packages that can help you. This is especially true during tax season. Using software to file your taxes can be especially helpful if you have mul- tiple deductions. Personal and business tax software will guide you through your return step-by- step, assuring that you leave no stone unturned. When your return is complete, you can file it elec- tronically and print a hard copy for your records. Tax software can be very helpful when your filing requirements are simple. When things get more complicated, consider hiring a professional accountant. There are several documents on the IRS website that you can utilize, but most prove to be complicated for the lay person. This is where an accountant will be most beneficial. Once you've made the deci- sion to look for an accountant, finding a good one is impor- tant. Look for someone who has a proven track record and a satisfied client base. An Internet search can yield a long list of accountants in your local area. Many sites offer honest reviews from individuals and business owners who have used those accountants. These reviews will provide you with invalu- able infor- mation. Ask friends and family which accountants they have used. Word-of-mouth is often the best way to measure the trust- worthiness and performance of any professional. If you know someone who is already using an accountant, that person will be more than happy to tell you whether or not you should consider using them. The newspaper and Yellow Pages are also sources of information when searching for an accountant, but it can be difficult to choose an account- ant in this manner because there may be dozens listed with very little information provided. If you choose to use the phone book as a source, call up several accountants and ask for references. Ask questions of the accountant or ask to set up a consultation where you can meet the professional face- to-face. No matter what method you use to find an accountant, nar- row your list and then narrow it further. You can accomplish this by reading online reviews, seeking referrals from friends and asking questions directly of the accountants. Look at the Better Business Bureau's website. Many accountants are listed, and you can get a better idea of the sat- isfaction rate of past clients. Be sure to check the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as well. Any member of the institute is likely to be held to a high ethi- cal standard. And once you have a short list of accountants, set up meetings. You will want to hire an accountant that you are comfortable with. Remember that you will be sharing sensi- tive financial details with this person. In the end, it is a judgment call. Go with the one you like the best. H OW TO CHOOSE AN ACCOUNTANT WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW k j A bad accountant can not only waste your money but hurt you financially in the long term. Using software to file your taxes can be helpful if you have multiple deductions. Tax software will guide you through your return step-by-step. k j You want to hire an accountant who you are comfortable with. Remember that you will be sharing sensitive financial details with this person. Ask friends and family which accountants they have used.

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