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How much do you pay your accountant....small biz

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How much do you pay your accountant....small biz

Old 11-08-2010, 06:58 PM
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Default How much do you pay your accountant....small biz

We been using the same CPA since we have our first company and he was always outstanding.... personal relation and atention, prompt service, affordable hourly rates, and most important he would not nickel and dime you to death for every second that he answered the phone or sent you an email....

He worked for himself and not for any type of Accounting firm

If you call him or sent him a quick email... no charge... if he had to do something on our software remotely... no charge...
but if he had to come to our office, for tax pre-planing, taxes or anything else would charge us $90 per hour... for which I would never let him leave without the check...

Well...last 3 month has been lacking baaaaddd, no returning calls, not answering emails, etc....
He called us the other day and said that his clientele portfolio got so thin and of those, just a handful were making any money, that he had to go to work for a big acc firm....he know our corps. up and down... we have been following his advise, and we want to stick to him, but the firm, wants 150 per hour, plus a retainer of a thousand that would be credited toward our tax return preparation for 2010.

I do not know if they are expensive or cheap... I'm afraid that I would start receiving bills for 50, 100 or more every time he even think of me....
On top of that, if I go with another CPA, it will take him some time to grasp the in and outs of our corps, our problems, concerns and priorities. (and I'm sure he will charge for that too...)


Did I have it too good before and this is the norm???? or should I look for somebody else???

How do you pay your acc??? lump sum every month??? fixed hourly rate???
Old 11-08-2010, 08:13 PM
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Go with someone else.
He got hired, for his ability,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, to suck you in.
He brought the client list, and you should no longer be on it.

If he comes and washes you car, mows the yard (protecting you), then maybe...maybe.......???????????

Did you're income increase, like his?????????????
Old 11-09-2010, 05:12 AM
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Knowing upfront what they are going to charge for is important before you start talking with other firms. The firm should be willing to explain how they are going to charge for their services, don't assume anything. Ask for a meeting with the manager or partner in charge to dicuss billing practices and then have them put it in an engagement letter so that you can assess whether to stick with your guy or not.

In my area, $150/hr for tax and accounting work is reasonable. Qualified bookkeeping assistance can be obtained for less.

What you may need to consider is finding a good bookkeeper to assist with keeping your books in order so that the accounting firm can focus their attention on advising you on ways to save on taxes and grow your business.

Be honest with yourself, did you like your guy because he was good or because he was cheap? His real reason for going with the firm maybe that he was not charging his clients enough for the work he was actually doing. Worst thing many accountants do to themselves is underbill to get a client and then they have a very hard time ever bringing the fees up to where they are making a reasonable return to stay in business.

Disclaimer - I am a CPA who owns a firm with 6 team members.
Old 11-09-2010, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by emudryj View Post
We been using the same CPA since we have our first company and he was always outstanding.... personal relation and atention, prompt service, affordable hourly rates, and most important he would not nickel and dime you to death for every second that he answered the phone or sent you an email....

He worked for himself and not for any type of Accounting firm

If you call him or sent him a quick email... no charge... if he had to do something on our software remotely... no charge...
but if he had to come to our office, for tax pre-planing, taxes or anything else would charge us $90 per hour... for which I would never let him leave without the check...

Well...last 3 month has been lacking baaaaddd, no returning calls, not answering emails, etc....
He called us the other day and said that his clientele portfolio got so thin and of those, just a handful were making any money, that he had to go to work for a big acc firm....he know our corps. up and down... we have been following his advise, and we want to stick to him, but the firm, wants 150 per hour, plus a retainer of a thousand that would be credited toward our tax return preparation for 2010.

I do not know if they are expensive or cheap... I'm afraid that I would start receiving bills for 50, 100 or more every time he even think of me....
On top of that, if I go with another CPA, it will take him some time to grasp the in and outs of our corps, our problems, concerns and priorities. (and I'm sure he will charge for that too...)


Did I have it too good before and this is the norm???? or should I look for somebody else???

How do you pay your acc??? lump sum every month??? fixed hourly rate???

Spin this around on the accountant. Tell him that the change in circumstances is causing you to re-think your policy and you will submit bids from 5 firms, and his will be one of them.

Now do it.

Get qualifications from 7-10 firms in your area and then narrow it down to say 5 you feel can best suit your business/industry.

Get proposals from the 5 firms for the SOW you typically need. If there is a greater than 10% spread between the highest and lowest, throw them out and the submit for BAFO from the remaining three.

Get the firms to bid for your work, not the other way around.

As for me, I have an agreed upon SOW with my CPA firm in which certain things are flat fee and certain things are hourly.
Old 11-09-2010, 05:28 AM
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I have a small business with 12-14 employees.
-One of those emplyees is a pseudo-bookeeper, she does invoicing, collections, enters/pays bills, and enters in the employees payroll hrs. She is a regular and salaried in-house employee.
-My CPA does the books, makes corrections/journal entries, handles depreciation schedule and what not. He generates monthly financial statements (p&l and balance sheet) for me.
-My CPA also handles all of our payroll. 941's, unemployment taxes, FUTA/SUTA, and generates the employees paychecks for me to sign.

For this, I pay him $170 per week or $8840 annually.

He also does my tax returns for busines and personal. This costs an additional. $900-1200

Hope this helps... I don't really know if this is cheap, reasonable or too high either.

-Ken
Old 11-09-2010, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mahi231 View Post
Knowing upfront what they are going to charge for is important before you start talking with other firms. The firm should be willing to explain how they are going to charge for their services, don't assume anything. Ask for a meeting with the manager or partner in charge to dicuss billing practices and then have them put it in an engagement letter so that you can assess whether to stick with your guy or not.

In my area, $150/hr for tax and accounting work is reasonable. Qualified bookkeeping assistance can be obtained for less.

What you may need to consider is finding a good bookkeeper to assist with keeping your books in order so that the accounting firm can focus their attention on advising you on ways to save on taxes and grow your business.

Be honest with yourself, did you like your guy because he was good or because he was cheap? His real reason for going with the firm maybe that he was not charging his clients enough for the work he was actually doing. Worst thing many accountants do to themselves is under bill to get a client and then they have a very hard time ever bringing the fees up to where they are making a reasonable return to stay in business.

Disclaimer - I am a CPA who owns a firm with 6 team members.
I really like him... If it makes any difference I got to know him because I was his daughter gymnastics coach. I really like him... and I would had pay more to keep him....I never contest or even ask about any invoice. Several times that he would meet with us and stay for lets say 3hs and 20 minutes... his invoice would come for 3 hs but my check would be done for 4 hs with a request to send a revised invoice.

After giving it some thought I realize that the hourly fee difference is not my main concern, but if the level of service and attention we were getting would change because of having to abide to a corporate environment instead of the one to one professional relation we used to have....

Thanks anyways...
Old 11-09-2010, 07:33 AM
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$90/hr is dirt cheap for a CPA. I believe you are in S. Florida and down there $150/hr is still on the low side. It really depends what you need. Being in a larger Firm, he probably has lower cost staff to handle most of your work, so the overall cost may not change much. I know several local CPA's who merged their practices into larger Firms. Most of their clients stayed.

My advice would be to talk to him openly about your concerns. Believe me, you are not the only one concerned. Ask him straight up if he can limit the fees at a certain level for the next year at an amount acceptable to you, assuming your needs remain the same. This is what the CPA's I know have done. After a year, he will know if it makes sense from his side and you will know if it makes sense on your side.

The other advice, from my own experience, is that the larger Firm will most likely have better resources. Do not discount this. I am a CPA, although I sold most of my practice several years ago, and referred several other clients to other Firms. If all you need is a bookkeeper, then find a Quickbooks Pro Advisor to do routine stuff including payroll, and only use the CPA to prepare the tax work.
Old 11-09-2010, 08:32 AM
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My accountant bills me $ 750.00/qtr for all of my small business needs. But he also gets my partner's personal business.
Old 11-09-2010, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Ft Myers Ken View Post
I have a small business with 12-14 employees.
-One of those emplyees is a pseudo-bookeeper, she does invoicing, collections, enters/pays bills, and enters in the employees payroll hrs. She is a regular and salaried in-house employee.
-My CPA does the books, makes corrections/journal entries, handles depreciation schedule and what not. He generates monthly financial statements (p&l and balance sheet) for me.
-My CPA also handles all of our payroll. 941's, unemployment taxes, FUTA/SUTA, and generates the employees paychecks for me to sign.

For this, I pay him $170 per week or $8840 annually.

He also does my tax returns for busines and personal. This costs an additional. $900-1200

Hope this helps... I don't really know if this is cheap, reasonable or too high either.

-Ken
I'm in the same boat...12-15 workers, wife does book keeping and acct does taxes, and such.
I pay $440 a quarter + $300 for personal return.

This is in Manhattan.
Old 11-09-2010, 02:19 PM
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very small business ...admiral does tally sheets etc.acc.does taxes,answer manetc.for this I pay $125/month.Problem is,they got ya by the shorties;mine does anyways.He has been my man for 23 yrs!
Old 11-09-2010, 03:39 PM
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I am in the same boat, same cpa for 6 years. But he has gotten terrible at returning calls or emails.
so I am in the hunt for a new one.
I pay $5k a year just for taxes to be done.
I pay a bookeeper $50/hr. Probably $400 a quarter.

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