CPA 101: What does a CPA do? Why do I need a CPA? How CPAs help small businesses?

New to the world of business and complicated financial matters? Still learning to get a grasp on the many difficult processes involved in running a business?  Want to have a fresh set of eyes review your accounting and tax services?

We are quite sure that you have come across several terms that you’ve probably never heard of all your life. If you have people telling you that you need a CPA on board and you have very little to no clue as to what they mean, you are just in luck!

So, what does a CPA do?

A CPA, more formally known as Certified Professional Accountant, is a step up from being an ordinary accountant. As a part of an organization, CPAs act as consultants on financial issues relating to accounting and taxes. They work together with other members of the organization to help the business reach its financial goals. Wondering how a CPA differs from other accountants? A CPA can offer a range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services much similar to any qualified accountant. However, what truly sets a CPA apart from others is their ability to represent their clients in front of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), prepare an audited or reviewed version of financial statements and file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why do you need a CPA?

Whether you are looking for ways to save some money here and there, trying to straighten out your financial records or considering a new investment — a CPA can come in very handy. If you’re still a little unclear as to why you should hire a CPA, you should seriously consider the following reasons:

  • They are the true experts when it comes to managing financial and tax-related matters. They have the highest level of knowledge and perhaps the most experience when it comes to guiding you through your finances.  
  • Keeping up with the ever-changing tax laws is quite the task and can often lead to some serious mistakes being made when filing tax-related documentation. A CPA has complete knowledge of latest tax laws and ensures that you have access to the latest tax benefits.  The new tax law which was just passed will affect all taxpayers.
  • While most of us are not geniuses when it comes to investing in the right things, a CPA can help advice on making financially sound investments.

How CPAs help small businesses

All business big or small requires a financial and tax advisor to handle their finances. While an accountant can help prepare your financial documents and reports, a CPA, on the other hand, can help your business in more ways than you can imagine.

Small businesses, in general, often overlook the importance of strategic financial planning, but with a CPA on board, a small business can achieve its goals and deal with financial matters without any hiccups.

  • Develop a business plan

CPA’s do a lot more than simply crunching numbers. A CPA can help small business owners develop and analyze their business plan and determine how financially stable it is.

  • Maintain financial records

A CPA can help ensure that your accounting records remain up-to-date and help determine if a certain aspect of your financial report requires special attention.

  • Manage a set budget for your business

For small businesses, it is important to stick to a set budget. A CPA can help you develop and analyze a budget and help ensure that your business reaches its budget-related goals.

  • Represent you before the IRS in an audit

Perhaps, the greatest way a CPA can help is their ability to represent you and your firm before the IRS. During the growth stage of your business, a CPA can support you and your business during an IRS audit.

We would love to speak to you about the benefits of working with a certified public accountant.  Please contact us at (843) 743-5005 to set up a free consultation with our firm.


About the Author:

Chris Duncan, CPA

As a South Carolina native, Chris has spent the better part of his life in the Charleston area. Chris graduated from The Citadel with a degree in Business Administration (Accounting Concentration) in 1999. Chris has spent his career working with large manufacturing and distribution companies, real estate developers, as well as many high net worth individuals. In 2006, Chris launched his own CPA firm. For the past twelve years, Chris has worked as a local CPA and provided services to both individuals and commercial clients in a variety of industries to include accounting, bookkeeping, tax, and payroll services.

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