Searching for an accountant is not exactly the most fun task for anybody, but if you have a business, it’s of course essential. There are also an abundance of accountants and bookkeepers in any given area, so it helps a great deal to have tools at your disposal which can give you a platform to find the right one and narrow it down, making your search feel a lot less overwhelming.
There are a few resources online that stand out, but we found a couple of the easiest resources for you to use, with large databases of CPAs who provide a range of services for all industries.
Finding a Great Accountant Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult
There are so many accountants to choose from, that it can be tough to narrow it down and choose the one that’s right for your business. That’s why the databases provided by the search tools we’re going to list here are so extensive, but they, thankfully, allow you to submit your own search criteria so that you’re not forced to scroll through immense lists of accountants.
Even though it’s never fun to take this time to look at a bunch of candidates, it’s necessary because you can’t just select any random CPA to handle the books for your business. We tend to avoid doing research whenever we can and take the easy route, in this case meaning that a business owner will often just use someone that a friend or colleague uses or recommends to you.
That does eliminate all the time it takes to narrow it down to a few candidates and choose the best one, after going through numerous listings for hours or possibly over the course of a couple of days, but the CPA you get by referral may not be right for your particular business. Frankly, they may not be any good.
If you do happen to know a CPA, you have one in the family, or a friend refers you to theirs, it’s still important to check them out. The tools we’re providing here are the resources you need to do a real search for your new business accountant and to find one that’s a perfect match for you. The idea here is that it does not have to be difficult.
Choose the Best Option for YOUR Business
If there were no online tools like these search engines, then you be stuck, as we were in the old days, of looking through the yellow pages and taking referrals from your friends and colleagues to find an accountant that fits your business and provides all the services that you’re going to need.
That’s important to note, as well, because not every CPA does everything, and you’ll need to find out beforehand exactly what they can do for you. Don’t overcomplicate the process by using these resources in addition to your own manual searches because there’s a good chance that, just by using these sites, alone, you may be able to find the CPA you need very quickly, even in under an hour.
Of course, you always have the option of skipping this whole search process and just going with someone you know or whom was referred to you, which may actually work. It’s not that it’s a bad way to go, as referred professionals have basically already been proven with someone else you know and trust. The point is just that, though fully qualified, that person who was referred to you might not fit the style of your business or what you do.
CPAdirectory is an awesome resource because you can run a search for an accountant really quickly by filling out a few lines in the webform on their site. This is a place where you will probably want to get started, due to its ability to generate a list of a bunch of professionals in your area, from which point you can then look into your candidates more deeply.
Use specific criteria to narrow your search, such as the city or town where you’re located, which services, you’ll need your accountant to be experienced with, and what industries in which this person may specialize. If you already have someone, or a few candidates but need more information about them, you can check them out using CPAdirectory because that’s an option on their site, too.
Just input the information you already have about a certain individual or firm into the site, and if they’re in the database, it will bring up their listing for you to learn more about them. You can easily search for an accountant for whom you only have a last name or their office’s location using the search tool. It can bring up the listing based on only a few bits of information.
The database contains around 500,000 CPAs in the U.S. This is the perfect starting point for your search, but you may very likely find just the professional you need without looking any further. All CPAs in their database are verified by submission of their license to the site, so that you can be sure they are legit, and that the information is correct.
You will get a ton of results when you run a search, depending on the size of the area or city you’re looking up, which is why this might just be a good starting point to get an idea of who is in your area, or what individuals or accounting firms are available for your specific industry. The site does provide a “featured professionals” section to cut out the extensive search if you prefer.
If you use the main search engine, it will definitely put a lot of information in front of you. So, the best way to use CPAdirectory is to narrow it down to a certain location, to the best of your ability, and then try to get that down to 10 or 20 candidates that offer all the services you need and fit your industry. Then, you can either take those candidates and check them out yourself with your own research, or you can utilize the next resource we’re providing here, CPA Finder.
Through CPA Finder, you can input your final candidates into their search engine and bring up their profiles for further investigation. This next tool has a slightly more streamlined site that can work as the logical next step in your research process. You could also, however, simply start with this next resource, skip CPAdirectory, and most likely find everything you need here.
Another very useful search tool with a large database of accounting professionals and firms is CPA Finder, which also allows you to search for a specific accountant whom you know or run a search using a specific location. Similarly to CPAdirectory, you can search more generally by state, or you can start from a smaller area by inputting your zip code.
An additional feature you will find on CPA Finder, though, is the ability to search within a geographic radius of a certain number of miles which you specify. That obviously helps quite a bit to narrow it down. Though it’s not necessarily a prerequisite that your CPA is based in your own geographic area, you can find all of those who are, if that’s what you’re looking for.
This site usually generates a lot fewer search results, so that you don’t have to sift through an overwhelming number of accountant listings. As great as it is to have a ton of options, it can drive you crazy when you are forced to look through so many listings, when you ultimately only need one.
You’ll also find a few short articles about business accounting, wherein they go into a bit of explanation for some further reading to learn about the industry, as well as certain things you should look for in a CPA. The CPA Finder website is very simple with few pages, but very easy to navigate. This is a good thing because you can visit their site and get the information you need without a whole lot of content clouding your search.
Gusto offers another search engine for you to find an accountant or bookkeeper who fits your needs through their “partner directory”. They have created a very well-designed, easy-to-navigate website that gives you all the options you need to conduct a search for your new account.
Again, you can search by city and state or zip code, but in addition to the standard location search, you may also use their advanced filters to narrow it down, including the software experience level of the accountant, the services offered, and the industries served.
In the search results page, there is a quick-view for each listing that shows all the basic information, such as name, address, and contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses. Then, from each listing, you can click on “see profile” to bring up their full information to look into them more closely and connect with their own site if you like what you see.
Gusto “partners” (verified accountants) are screened to make sure they have experience with small businesses and have a certain level of accounting software proficiency. Gusto provides businesses who need a new CPA a seamless and extremely user-friendly experience, so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for as quickly as possible.
Their website also has a feel and functionality that we’re more used to today when visiting the site of a service like this one. It is ultra-streamlined, aesthetically well laid out, and contains all kinds of content that you can interact with and also learn about the best ways to perform a search.
Gusto is obviously the mainstream option, as opposed to CPAdirectory and CPA Finder, which are a little more obscure with websites that could use some updating. CPAdirectory and CPA Finder are definitely still very functional and useful, and they have a huge number of CPAs in their databases for you to search through. You might just have an easier time with the software on Gusto’s site.
Setting up Your Business to Succeed
If you have a new small business, or a business of any type, you’re probably still in the process of securing all the right people, setting up your infrastructure, and discovering all the ins and outs that will make it possible for your business to function and be successful, like marketing, advertising, and other aspects.
During that crucial time, it’s essential to have resources like CPAdirectory, CPA Finder, and Gusto for the particularly boring task of finding a good accountant to make sure your books, and everything that goes along with that, are well-taken care of by someone on whom you can depend.
It can be maddening during that period of time when you’re searching for your new accountant because there are a staggering number of people and firms in the field who all want your business, and all have strengths from which you can benefit. You need resources that make the search process easier and go more quickly, which is why the ones we’re mentioning here are so valuable.
There are also many more tools and features, particularly with Gusto, of which you can take advantage, so it’s a good idea to go to each of their sites and try out all of their features because there could be something there that will help you even further. Gusto actually offers other services besides finding a CPA, so those other services are worth checking out, as well.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.