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Asking if all accountants are equal is like asking if all apples are equal.

If you closed your eyes at the grocery store and picked random apples, would you end up with all exactly the same? No. Some would be bigger, some would be lumpy and some would have wormholes. Even apples from the same tree are different. People inspect and pick the ones that they like best.

Similarly, all accountants are not equal. Although CPA training and certification is the same, and there is a baseline standard, if everyone was equal, everyone would be partner.

Not only are certain accountants better than others, but certain accountants are better at certain tasks.

A doctor’s specialty is a lot more straightforward to find out. Doctors clearly specialize in a specific area of medicine and are certified in that field and you can verify that with the letters after their name. There’s foot doctors, plastic surgery doctors, obstetricians, etc.

It’s harder to figure out what accountants specialize in since they don’t always get additional designations or official certifications to display their specialization, and if they do, the public is not always aware of this in the same way they would be aware of a physician’s specialty.

For example, to be considered a “tax specialist,” a CPA would generally undergo a rigorous 3-year program in addition to their normal CPA training. However, only “CPA” shows on their business card with no further indication of this specialty.

While many focus on filing taxes, accountants can go a lot deeper than that. They can focus on helping small business defer taxes, on how to structure real estate deals to minimize taxes, or on how to get more government financial assistance through various programs administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Furthermore, accountants can specialize in particular clients demographics.

Some accountant’s bread and butter is just filing end of year income taxes for employed people, while other accountants work with small to medium-size businesses on creating comprehensive financial plans, and yet even others work out the fine print on complicated large scale transactions.

The only way to find out which accountant is right for you is to interview several accountants on their previous work and get recommendations from friends and family. You’ll want to be confident that they can handle the scale of your needs and have the experience to figure out the small nuances.

If you’re a Bay Street lawyer, for example, with high income and some stock investments and a few kids, you have very little time so you’ll want to find an accountant that specializes in helping professionals.

But if you’re a budding small business, let’s say you own a coffee shop and are considering buying the building in which your retail store lives, then you’re going to need more intensive care in compliance and balancing the books and you’ll want a firm that has proven and practical knowledge of this.

Ask your accountant if they’ve taken additional courses in their area of specialty. Who are their clients and how good have they been at retaining them? Are they personable and do you feel you can have a productive working relationship?

Only once determining the answers to these questions can you feel confident that you’ve chosen the accountant that’s right for you and is an expert in your needs.

Campanella McDonald LLP works with Small Business Owners, Real Estate Professionals, and High Income Earners to establish a solid financial plan to minimize tax owed, defer tax payments, and map out a solid investment strategy.

If you’re ready to crush your financial goals, give us a call at (289) 813-0097 or email us at info@cmllp.com.