Essential Questions to Ask Before Outsourcing Accounting for Your Dental Practice
For various reasons, dental practice managers may decide that the best course of action when it comes to streamlining bookkeeping practices is outsourcing to an experienced certified public accountant (CPA). There are countless benefits that can come along with this decision, such as getting expert opinions about tax writeoffs, reducing the chances of making costly errors and mistakes etc. At the same token, hiring the wrong accountant can do quite a bit of damage to your practice, which is why it’s essential to tread carefully before settling on a decision.
If you want to get the best possible accountant for handling the books for your dental practice, you can start by interviewing candidates with a series of important questions—here are a handful of essential things to ask.
1. “Have You Ever Worked with a Dental Practice Before?”
This is a question that doesn’t necessarily have to be a dealbreaker, but it’s worth asking right off the bat. An accountant that has worked with a dental practice or similar medical office in the past will have a bit of extra knowledge and experience to work with that can apply to your books, especially when it comes to identifying potential tax deductions. Don’t take someone off your list if their answer to this question is “no,” but move them up a bit if they have prior experience in the dental space.
2. Are You Certified?
Many people don’t realize that just because someone bills themselves as a “bookkeeper” or even an “accountant” doesn’t necessarily mean that they qualify as a CPA. The “C” part of this acronym—short for “certified”—is a crucial, yet easily overlooked detail that absolutely must be focused on when choosing someone to handle the books for your practice. You may want to actually bump this question right to the beginning of the list, as if the person you’re interviewing isn’t a true CPA, they should not be considered for the position.
3. Do You Handle Tax Preparation?
Another common assumption that business owners have when they hire a CPA is that the person is automatically qualified to handle tax preparation simply because they’re an accountant. While it’s true that many accountants are experts when it comes to dealing with the IRS, some have either no experience or simply “dabble” in tax preparation—the latter candidates are not what you’re looking for. As it’s always wise to have the person who handles your books be responsible for preparing your taxes, avoid the temptation to work with someone who has no experience in IRS dealings.
4. How Will My Practice Benefit from Hiring You?
Finally, you’ll want to ask a question that makes the person you’re interviewing think on their toes for a moment. Asking for real-world examples of how the person can help your practice should elicit some thoughtful answers, proving that—if hired—they’ll be able to assist in taking your practice to new financial heights. This question also affords you the opportunity to spot red flags if they pop up, which can be as simple and straightforward as the person not knowing what to say when asked.
Think of hiring an accountant in the same way as you might consider bringing in a full-time staffer—if it’s a good fit, chances are you’ll know immediately.