A tax accountant has been trained as an accountant and is able to inspect, prepare, and maintain financial records for a business or individual. However a tax accountants main focus is on preparing and maintaining tax information.

Tax accountants also advise businesses about the tax advantages and disadvantages of certain business decisions. Accountants must have skills in math and using the computer because computers are often used to make graphs, reports and summaries. Nearly all companies require that a tax accountant have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and many even require a master’s degree level of education.

Almost all businesses and many individuals would greatly benefit from having a regular tax accountant. So how do you choose the right tax accountant for you or your business? Here are a few questions that may help you make the decision:

· Is one-on-one contact important to me or my business? In this case look for a smaller firm. Or is a team of professionals better suited for my needs? If this is the case look for a larger firm.

· Will I need advice in many different expertise areas? Or will I simply need someone to advise me in tax matters? If you are going to need help in a wide variety of areas consider a team of accountants, or you make sure the firm you are considering has network ties to other firms that could handle things they can’t.

· How complex are my needs? Do I need someone just to handle tax returns and year-end financial summaries or do I need a financial plan, retirement plan, employee benefit plan or other tax related plans? Discuss your needs with potential firms do research and find out what they have done for other businesses.

· Does the firm or individual have a good reputation? Ask for references, talk to friends and business associates, taxes and finances are a major aspect of your business or individual needs and you want to make sure you get someone who can handle your situation.

· Is the individual or firm qualified? Make sure they have liability insurance and a supervisory body you can file complaints with. Make sure they are CPA’s or Certified Public Accountants, which means they have vowed to adhere to certain standards. Find out if they are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or the New York State Society of CPA’s. If they are it means that they have had continuing education in their field and must undergo peer reviews.

· Do they bring a proactive approach to your financial situation? Do they understand your goals and provide ways to reach them?

· What do they charge? Make sure that their fees are competitive, shop around. If the price is much higher or much lower than other firms it may point to a problem.

· Make sure the firm or office is open year round and that you can get help whenever it is needed. There are some tax accountant firms that close for part of the year.