Frequently Asked Questions
The more you understand about your needs, the better job we can do together of matching our services to those needs. Your first step is to decide what you want from us. Different CPA firms offer different levels of experience and provide different services. Prior to meeting with any CPA you are considering you should review your present and future financial goals and needs. Some general questions you should ask yourself might be:
- Will you need help with personal financial issues, individual or corporate tax returns, retirement, estate or college planning?
- Do you need financial statements prepared for your business? Must those statements be audited, reviewed or compiled? Will you need special financial reports for government agencies or franchisors?
- How comfortable are you in your own ability (or in the case of a business, your staff’s ability) to handle financial and operational details. Do you want to do as much as possible in-house or are you considering out-sourcing some of your bookkeeping, accounting, or CFO functions?
- Do you need help preparing a business plan or a personal or business loan application?
- What is your budget for CPA services?
We offer a 30-minute, no obligation conference at no charge for someone who is seriously searching for a CPA. We may not provide answers to your particular questions but will be able to assess your concerns, provide a strategy and determine if we can help
It will depend on what you want us to do for you. As a tax client, we will want to see copies of your most recently filed income tax returns – preferably the last 3 years. If you are a new business client, we will also want to see copies of your most recent financial statements. Depending on the type of engagement we are undertaking, we may also want to see your wills and estate plans, business agreements, insurance documents, investment and bank statements, employee benefit statements, divorce or separation agreements, and anything else you think might be relevant. As a new tax client, we will also ask you to prepare a Client Organizer which we can send to you in advance of our meeting.
We use engagement letters that define the work and the associated fees before any work is performed. The letter is designed to prevent any misunderstandings and describes in detail the services to be rendered, fee ranges and other terms and conditions of the engagement. It is a contract determining our responsibilities and your responsibilities and sets both of our expectations for a successful relationship.
We base our fees on a number of factors including the type of services required, the time required to perform the services, the level of expertise and experience required, and the complexity of the work. The fees at Hedley & Co. fall into three categories:
- Hourly based fees— For much of our work we are compensated based on the number of hours it takes to complete the work. We are happy to quote our hourly rates and to provide fee estimates for specific tasks.
- Task based pricing— Our tax preparation service is priced based on the number and types of required forms and schedules. Pricing is based on the complexity of the related tax law, tax research and continuing education required to remain current on the voluminous, constantly changing federal and state tax laws.
- Fixed fee services— For some longer term projects or commitments such as monthly write-up we charge a fixed fee
Different types of services command different rates because of the expertise level of the people who perform them. We will talk frankly with you about our fees and put together a plan that utilizes the right CPA or staff person for the services you need so that the value of the service and the price of the service make sense for you. But when your tax return or project is finished, our service does not end. We will answer any of your questions during the year by phone or email and in most instances, at no additional cost.
The primary step is to commit to a partnership with us. While we believe we are very good at what we do, we are only as good as the information we have. For our relationship to be successful for you, you need to:
- Be prepared to discuss your plans, goals, problems, and questions. We can most effectively advise you and serve your best interests when we understand your goals.
- Gather all relevant personal and business financial information so we can get an accurate picture and ask specific questions.
- Be clear and candid about what you expect from our services.
- Keep us informed of changes in your professional and personal life. A marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, an inheritance, a career change, or a generous bonus can have a significant impact on your tax liability and financial goals.
- Be open to new ideas, tools, and opportunities
- And, of course, you need to make sure you (or your staff) meet your commitments to deliver appropriate, accurate, and timely information so that we have the information we need when we need it.
We maintain a policy of the strictest confidence concerning our client’s affairs. You can rest assured that no one will learn about your business or tax status – even relatives, associates or friends who might have referred you to us.
Referrals are the cornerstone of any service business. This firm relies on satisfied clients as the primary source of new business, and your referrals are both welcome and most sincerely appreciated!
Since your referrals are generally individuals you are well acquainted with, you may have some concern that your business matters will be discussed with the new clients that you refer. This office guarantees the confidentiality of client information. Your personal, financial and tax data will not be shared with anyone else.
An Expression of Confidence
When you refer clients to us, you are expressing your faith and confidence in the services that we offer and will continue to provide to you. You may have business associates who need professional tax assistance or family and friends who struggle to do their own taxes every year. No matter who you refer, rest assured that their individual tax needs will be handled in the same professional manner as yours have been.
Ask Them to Call Early
The tax season schedule is a hectic one. Although new clients can always be accommodated, we recommend that your referrals call as early as possible for the best selection of appointment times and be sure they mention you’ve referred them.
A significant contribution of CPAs in the practice of public accounting is the audit, whereby an independent opinion is expressed as to the fairness of financial statements. CPAs also perform almost every conceivable financial and management advisory service for business and individuals. CPAs do general accounting, tax planning and advice, tax return preparation, estate planning, and representation of clients before government agencies. CPAs also help clients choose and implement accounting systems. They help in the development and analysis of financial models, cost controls, profit plans, and internal reports. CPAs are often consulted on business, civic and other problems on which their judgment, experience and professional standards permit them to provide helpful advice and assistance.
It is imperative that you contact a CPA before you form and start your new business. You will need to discuss the organization of your company for tax purposes as well as numerous other issues relating to operations and federal and state employment and sales tax requirements. Don’t wait until the year-end to have this discussion. You could be making decisions without the proper advice, and that could wind up hurting you financially or legally.
Any professional you choose should not only have the technical knowledge required, but should also treat you with respect.
- Does your CPA and advisor take time to listen to you?
- Does your CPA and advisor return your calls in a timely manner?
- Do you feel comfortable asking your CPA and advisor a question?
- Does your CPA undergo peer review?
When you need a professional in the region who will make you their top priority, call and let us help.
A CPA has demonstrated professional competence by passing a rigorous examination and meeting high standards of education. In addition, they must meet strict continuing education requirements and adhere to a stringent set of ethical standards.
CPAs are authorized to represent taxpayers in an IRS audit, as are attorneys and other professionals are known as enrolled agents (EA). An EA is an individual who has demonstrated technical competence in the field of taxation and is the only taxpayer representative who receives their right to practice from the U.S. government. An accountant or paid tax preparer can only represent a taxpayer before the IRS if he or she is an EA.
We can serve your business …
- Recommend tax planning strategies
- Prepare tax returns
- Advise individuals on personal planning, including retirement and estate planning
- Review a company’s accounting system and recommend improvements
- Consult on business problems and advise ways to improve the use of a client’s resources
- Clients apply for loans and credit by gathering and preparing information required by lenders as well as referring clients to lending institutions in our referral network
- Work with clients, attorneys, and bankers on mergers, acquisitions, expansions, business formations, dissolutions, and estate and trust planning
We can help you financially …
- Develop a personal plan
- Create a family budget
- Develop an estate plan
- Advise on divorce settlements
- Assess your present and future needs
- Provide you with sound tax services
- Other services available
We can help you as a taxpayer…
- Develop tax strategies
- Prepare tax returns
- Minimize tax liability
We can help your business…
- Set up accounting systems
- Secure financing
- Analyze operating results
- Provide management consulting services
- Develop budgets and business plans and forecasts
- Prepare tax returns
- Audit, review, or compile financial statements
- Assess benefit and compensation plans