Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
top of page

Local VS. National CPA Firms: What Small Businesses Need To Know Before Choosing

In the intricate world of business finances, small businesses often find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to selecting a certified public accountant (CPA) firm to manage their financial affairs. The decision to opt for a local firm versus a national one is not one to be taken lightly, as it can significantly impact the financial health and growth trajectory of the enterprise. Understanding the nuances and implications of choosing between these two types of firms is crucial for small business owners embarking on this selection process.

Local VS. National CPA Firms: What Small Businesses Need To Know Before Choosing

In this article, we delve into the essential considerations that small businesses need to ponder before making the pivotal decision between local and national CPA firms. From the personalized touch offered by local firms to the extensive resources and expertise of national counterparts, each option presents its own set of advantages and challenges. By examining factors such as proximity, specialization, cost-effectiveness, and service quality, small business owners can gain clarity on which type of CPA firm aligns best with their unique needs and objectives.

As the financial backbone of any business, the role of a CPA firm transcends mere number-crunching; it encompasses strategic guidance, compliance adherence, and proactive financial planning. Thus, selecting the right partner is paramount for small businesses striving for sustained success in today's competitive landscape. Through this exploration, we aim to equip entrepreneurs with the insights necessary to make an informed decision that propels their business towards prosperity and longevity.

Local VS. National CPA Firms

Personalized Service

Local CPA Firms: These firms offer personalized service, building close relationships with clients to understand their specific needs. They provide tailored advice and hands-on support, focusing on the unique aspects of each small business they work with.

National CPA Firms: On the other hand, national firms boast broader resources, including access to a wider range of expertise and specialized services. While they may lack the personalized touch of local firms, they can offer comprehensive solutions for complex financial situations.

Familiarity With Local Tax Laws

Local CPA Firms: Due to their local presence, these firms have an in-depth understanding of the specific tax laws that apply in their area. This familiarity allows them to navigate regional regulations effectively, ensuring compliance and maximizing tax savings for small businesses.

National CPA Firms: Although national firms may excel in handling federal tax matters, they might not possess the same level of expertise. Small businesses operating in multiple states or regions may find it beneficial to work with a combination of local and national firms to address all tax considerations adequately.

Communication Preferences And Accessibility

Local CPA Firms: Clients often appreciate the direct communication channels offered by local firms, fostering quick responses and easy access to their accountants. Face-to-face meetings and personalized interactions are common practices, enhancing client satisfaction and trust in the firm's services.

National CPA Firms: While national firms may provide advanced technological tools for communication, some clients prefer a more personal touch. Business owners who value accessibility and frequent updates may opt for local firms that prioritize regular face-to-face meetings over virtual interactions.

Questions To Ask Potential CPAs

When selecting a CPA for your small business, inquire about their experience working with similar-sized companies. Ask how many small businesses they currently serve and for how long. This will give you insight into their familiarity with the unique challenges faced by small enterprises.

Ensure the CPA has a track record of helping small businesses navigate tax regulations, financial reporting, and strategic planning. Look for a proven history of assisting companies in your industry to ensure they understand industry-specific nuances.

Discuss the fee structures upfront to avoid any surprises later on. Inquire about hourly rates, flat fees, or retainer options. Understand what services are included in the fees and if there are any additional charges for extra services.

Make sure to ask about the range of services offered beyond basic tax preparation. A comprehensive CPA should provide financial analysis, budgeting assistance, and strategic advice tailored to your business goals.

Clear communication is key when working with a CPA. Clarify the communication channels available – whether it's email, phone calls, or in-person meetings. Establish expectations regarding response times for queries or urgent matters.

Look for a CPA who is responsive and accessible when you need them most. Timely communication can make a significant difference in addressing financial issues promptly and ensuring compliance with tax deadlines.

Meeting Your CPA In Person

Meeting your CPA in person allows you to establish a personal connection beyond emails and calls. This face-to-face interaction can help build trust and understanding.

It's important to discuss your specific business needs and goals during these meetings. By doing so, your CPA can tailor their services to suit your unique requirements.

Reviewing past successes and client testimonials can give you insight into the experience and expertise of the CPA. This can help you gauge if they are the right fit for your business.

When meeting in person, you can also inquire about the difference between local and national firms. Understanding this distinction is crucial in making an informed decision.

Client testimonials provide firsthand accounts of how the CPA has helped other businesses succeed. These stories can give you confidence in their abilities to handle your financial matters effectively.

Navigating The Biden Tax Plan

Small businesses must stay informed about potential changes in tax policies under the Biden Tax Plan. Being aware of upcoming alterations can help businesses prepare adequately.

Understanding the level of impact these changes may have on their operations is crucial for small businesses. By being proactive, they can adjust their financial strategies accordingly.

Planning ahead for tax implications is essential for small businesses. They should assess how the proposed changes could affect their finances and make necessary adjustments.

By analyzing their current financial situation and projecting future outcomes, small businesses can develop a strategic plan to mitigate any negative impacts. This proactive approach can help them maintain financial balance.

Small businesses should consider restructuring strategies to optimize their tax planning under the new policies. This may involve reevaluating their business structure or implementing new tax-saving measures.

Exploring different restructuring options can help small businesses take advantage of potential tax benefits and minimize liabilities. Seeking professional advice from CPAs specializing in tax planning is advisable during this process.

Self-Employment Taxes Explained

Self-employment taxes differ from regular employment taxes by requiring self-employed individuals to pay both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Regular employees have these taxes withheld from their paychecks, while self-employed individuals must calculate and pay these taxes themselves.

For self-employment taxes, the current rate stands at 15.3%, which covers both Social Security (12.4%) and Medicare (2.9%). However, only income up to a specific threshold is subject to this tax.

In 2021, the threshold for self-employment tax was $142,800 for Social Security. Any income above this amount is not subject to the Social Security portion of self-employment tax.

One advantage for self-employed individuals is the ability to deduct certain business expenses before calculating their taxable income. These deductions can significantly reduce the overall tax burden for self-employed individuals.

Common deductions include home office expenses, vehicle expenses related to business use, health insurance premiums, retirement contributions, and professional development costs.

Utilizing QuickBooks For Efficiency

QuickBooks is a versatile tool that streamlines financial processes for both local and national CPA firms. By utilizing QuickBooks, businesses can efficiently manage their bookkeeping tasks, ensuring accuracy and organization in financial records. This software simplifies the process of recording transactions, categorizing expenses, and reconciling accounts.

Small businesses benefit from QuickBooks' ability to track income and expenses effectively. With features like automatic bank feeds and receipt scanning, users can easily monitor cash flow and identify areas for cost savings. This level of insight allows CPA firms to provide valuable financial advice to their clients based on real-time data.

One of the key advantages of using QuickBooks is its capability to generate insightful financial reports. These reports provide a comprehensive overview of a business's financial health, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow forecasts. CPA firms can leverage this information to make informed decisions on behalf of their clients.

Saving Money With Tax Advisors

Tax season can be daunting for small businesses, but tax advisors can help identify key tax-saving opportunities. By analyzing your finances, they can pinpoint areas where you might be overpaying on taxes.

Small businesses often overlook deductions and credits that could significantly reduce their tax burden. Tax advisors, with their expertise, can guide you through the process of maximizing these benefits.

With the guidance of tax advisors, small businesses can optimize their tax planning strategies to ensure they are in compliance with all regulations while minimizing tax liabilities. They can assist in structuring your income and expenses effectively.

By leveraging the knowledge of tax advisors, small businesses can navigate complex tax laws and regulations. This ensures that they are not missing out on any potential savings opportunities.

The experience and training of tax advisors enable them to provide valuable insights into minimizing tax liabilities. They can offer tailored advice based on your specific financial situation and goals.

Small businesses that work with tax advisors benefit from a team dedicated to helping them achieve a balance between fulfilling their tax obligations and maximizing savings. The guidance provided by these professionals can make a significant impact on a business's bottom line.

Finalizing Your CPA Selection

Ensure that the local or national CPA firm aligns with your business values and goals. It's crucial to have a shared vision for success. Consider the firm's industry expertise and track record in handling businesses similar to yours. This ensures they understand your specific needs.

When finalizing your CPA selection, negotiate terms that work best for your business. Review the engagement agreement carefully to avoid any misunderstandings later on. Clarify the fees structure, including billing methods and payment deadlines. Make sure these terms are clearly outlined in the agreement.

Establish clear expectations for ongoing communication and support. Regular updates on financial matters are essential for making informed decisions. Discuss how often you will receive financial reports and updates from your CPA. Open communication is key to a successful partnership.


You now understand the vital role CPAs play in guiding your small business through complex tax landscapes, like the Biden Tax Plan and self-employment taxes. By leveraging tools like QuickBooks and seeking advice from tax advisors, you can streamline your financial processes and maximize savings. When choosing between local and national CPA firms, consider factors like proximity, personalized service, and industry expertise to make an informed decision. Asking the right questions and meeting potential CPAs face-to-face will ensure you find the perfect fit for your unique business needs. Now, finalize your CPA selection confidently, knowing that you've equipped yourself with the knowledge to make a wise choice.


Elevating Your Small Business With Expert CPA Services

In the dynamic world of small business growth, Joel Smith of Clear Action Business Advisors offers a game-changing solution: Specialized CPA Services for Small Businesses. This service isn’t just advice; it’s a targeted strategy to transform your business into a thriving enterprise, with Joel Smith as your dedicated CPA partner.

Embrace the opportunity to enhance your financial management and unlock your business's full potential. With expertise in identifying financial opportunities and refining accounting practices, we're here to support your ambitions. Contact Joel Smith today and take the first step towards a future of financial success and expansion.

bottom of page