Do you run a small business, or are you self-employed or working as a freelancer? Do you have difficulty organizing all your receipts, tax records, and other important financial documents? Do you have a complicated set of tax deductions to wrangle with each year? Did you have any gains or losses in your business or investment transactions this past year? If so, chances are you need a CPA.
What Is a CPA?
A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a professional in the accounting field who has passed a standardized and state-recognized exam demonstrating his or her qualifications in the field and maintaining the other state qualifications to have an official CPA license.
Every state has a different CPA exam and additional licensing qualifications and requirements. Therefore, if your small business is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, for example, your accounting needs will be best served by a North Carolina CPA.
What Does a CPA Do?
A CPA performs many accounting duties for a small business, including:
- Accounting consulting
- Tax consulting
- Business advising
- Financial advising
Differences Between a CPA and Other Financial Professionals
A Charlotte CPA differs from other financial professionals like accountants and bookkeepers in several ways.
CPA vs. Accountant
CPA licensing is the only form of licensed qualification for accounting in the US. Besides passing a test to prove a certain basic level of accounting knowledge, particularly as it pertains to state law in addition to federal law, a CPA in many states must also hold a Bachelor's Degree, ideally in accounting or a related field, and have at least two years of experience in accounting.
In short, a CPA gives you greater confidence in his or her accounting knowledge and accountabilities than an unlicensed individual who happens to call themselves an accountant. Consider the licensure like a prescreening and a reference of experience rolled into one.
A CPA can also only handle specific accounting responsibilities, such as a tax audit, which unlicensed accountants are not authorized to perform.
CPA vs. Bookkeeper
A bookkeeper looks more at the short-term state of your small business's finances, like day-to-day expenses, while a CPA looks more at its long-term state, like financial planning and tax returns.
Both are vital to a business's success, and a good bookkeeper can make a CPA's job a lot easier. You can hire two separate individuals or firms to perform your bookkeeping and CPA responsibilities or find one CPA who is also a qualified bookkeeper.
That said, if you can't afford both a bookkeeper and a CPA, you can probably do without a bookkeeper before you can do without a CPA. The reason is simple: when you make errors in your day-to-day finances, you have only yourself to be accountable to, but when you make errors in your taxes, you have the government to be responsible to.
Benefits of a CPA for Individuals and Small Businesses
As your accounting and tax consultant and business and financial advisor, a CPA can provide many invaluable benefits to your small business.
- Changes in Tax Law: Not only can a CPA help you prepare your taxes, but he or she can make sure it's done right every year, even in the face of tax law changes. Tax laws are changing all the time. A CPA is responsible for staying abreast of all these changes and can help you do the same.
- Maximize Your Investments: A CPA is not the same as an investment advisor. However, a CPA can undoubtedly help you understand and better manage your investments and make wiser investment decisions as they fit into your larger financial picture.
- Reduce Your Debt: A CPA can help you manage your debt, negotiate better terms with your creditors, and keep you from getting bullied by debt collectors.
- Juggling Multiple Income Streams: As a business owner, you may well have multiple streams of income to navigate at once. You may run numerous businesses, or your business may be involved in various industries. Whatever your income sources, the more you have to manage, the more you could benefit from a CPA helping you keep those inflows coming smoothly and growing.
- Philanthropy: If you've ever wanted to incorporate charitable giving into your business operations or you've decided to make a large one-time financial gift, a CPA can help make sure you do it right and glean the most tax benefits.
- Free Your Time: A CPA can give you back valuable time you could better spend applying your unique expertise to your business's demands. You're not an accountant. You may not even be a business person. Who you are is an expert in what your company provides, and it is there where your attentions are best served. By ridding yourself of number crunching and other financial headaches you're not even the most qualified to handle, you do your part to help your business grow and prosper.
Individual & Small Business CPA in Charlotte | Scott Boyar
Once you've come to a decision, or realization, that you, indeed, need a CPA for small businesses in North Carolina, Scott Boyar, CPA is the only one you need. Both a small business tax advisor and a small business bookkeeping services, Scott can see your business through financially, come tax time, and throughout the year.