The most crucial criteria when looking for an accountant firm is to find one that’s a good fit for you.

That doesn’t mean the best one, the one that wins all the awards, or is the biggest, but the one that has the most clients similar to yourself. You want the accountants at the firm to have defined and verifiable experience in your area.

So, the first step is to figure out what your needs actually are.

Do you just have one T4 and are you just looking for someone to file your year end taxes?

That’s pretty standard stuff for any firm and your needs are so low you can really go pretty much anywhere, even a free service online.

Are you taxes slightly more complex, like do you own a small business or have an income property?

If so,  you need to find a firm that specializes in that area and can help you out with some nifty strategies to keep more money in your pocket.

Or maybe you’re trying to expand your business and grow your income and you want to structure your financial life toward that goal?

You’re going to want to find a proactive firm that isn’t just sleepwalking through April but is actually passionate about being aggressive and helping you with developing a comprehensive plan.

Once you figure out what your needs are, you should research firms by asking them a lot of questions about the types of clients they work with to see if any are similar to you. Yes, that means getting on the phone and calling around.

Our firm, for example, has a specific focus on small businesses, real estate investors, incorporated professionals, high income earners, so on and so forth.

Doctors who do investing on the side, Canadians with a few houses they rent out, retail stores, start-ups, graphic designers — those are all situations we’re familiar with and excel with.

Someone running a mining conglomerate that is operating all over Venezuela and Mexico and northern Canada wouldn’t be interested in us, (and we wouldn’t be interested in them).

Accordingly, you need a firm that knows what they’re doing in your particular situation and can prove they’ve delivered before.

Second of all, you want to find a firm that’s the right size — big enough to have the resources to take care of most of your problems, but small enough to meet your needs.

If you’re Bell Canada, you are not going to go to a medium size accounting firm because you’re not a medium sized business. You are an extremely large business and you are not going to get the proper support from anything but a massive firm. You need one of the big shots — PWC, KPMG etc.,

If you’re a small business you’re probably not best served by a medium sized accounting firm either, so you’re gonna want to look for a practice that is around your size, or slightly bigger so you get enough attention.

And finally, just because it needs to be said, you always want to double check that the firm is properly insured and registered with their provincial regulatory body.

That’s because if there’s a mistake you’re going to want someone to complain to and ensure you can recuperate any damages from any mistakes they cause on your file.

If you’re a small business, real estate investor, incorporated professional, or high income earner looking for strategic thinking tax specialists to have your back, reach out and let’s have a conversation about how Campanella McDonald can help you reach you crush your financial goals. You can reach us at (289) 813-0097 ext. 101 or by email at info@cmllp.com.