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There’s no question that an accountant is a valuable asset for any small business. He or she is able to help you balance the books for your company and most professional accountants also offer audit protection. When hiring an accountant for your small business, follow this simple checklist to ensure you hire the right one for you.

1. Ask For Referrals – The best way to begin the search for an accountant is to ask around for referrals. Go ahead and ask your family members, close friends and other entrepreneurs or small business owners you know if they would be able to provide you with a few accountant suggestions.

2. Compare Services – Any smart small business owner will adequately compare accounting services. You will want to get a quote and a list of services from multiple accountants so you can compare and evaluate which one will work best with your situation.

3. Availability – It’s recommended you inquire about the accountant’s availability before you commit to hiring him or her. If the accountant’s client list is already rather full, he or she may not have enough time to devote to your small business as you would like.

4. Review Certifications/Degrees – Make sure you’re working with an experienced professional by reviewing his or her CPA certifications or degrees from an accredited institution.

5. Check References – You’ll also want to be sure to check their references. When corresponding with the individual, ask as many questions as you want so you can get an idea of the experience you will have if you decide to hire him or her.

As you can see, there is a great amount of due diligence required in order to hire the perfect accountant for your small business. Hopefully this checklist has helped you out a bit so you can soon hire a qualified individual to handle all the accounting needs of your small business.