5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Healthcare Accountant

Hiring the right accountant will impact not only your bottom line – but also your peace of mind.

Healthcare professionals have unique and specific needs, so if your accountant has a broad-based general practice then they may not be familiar with the issues or ongoing developments in your profession.

Tax may very well be your largest expense, so hiring an accountant with an expertise in tax is critical. Below are five key questions to help you make an informed decision when shopping around for a healthcare accountant.

 

  1. Do you “outsource” client work?

 

Surprisingly, many Canadian tax firms outsource their clients’ bookkeeping and tax return preparation to shops in the developing world to reduce labour costs and increase profits.

This is a big red flag not only from a privacy perspective but also in terms of the quality of work you can expect.

 

  1. What certifications, training, continuing education, and memberships do you hold?

 

The field of tax is always changing, so without up-to-date training, accountants may not be aware of the latest regulations and requirements.

For example, less than five per cent of Chartered Professional Accountants in Canada have completed the multi-year, CICA In-Depth Tax Course and even fewer have completed the CICA In-Depth GST course.

These are Canada’s leading and most comprehensive on-the-job tax training programs.

 

  1. How much do you charge?

 

Too often, clients are charged exorbitant rates for brief phone calls, markups on disbursements and technology charges.

When selecting an accountant, insist on transparency – ensure that you are given a clear and comprehensive outline with respect to fees before you sign an engagement letter.

As well, ask for a listing of partner and staff rates, potential additional charges and any other fees that could appear on your bill.

 

  1. What can you expect from your accountant?

 

While it’s important that an accountant be able to help you set up an accounting system and recommend appropriate accounting software – that should be just the beginning.

The next question to ask is: How involved will this accountant be afterward?

Don’t accept a level of service that involves meeting up only once per year. The reason being, that in order to take charge of your financial future, you need proactive support from your healthcare accountant.

 

  1. What are the most innovative things you have done in your practice and how will that help me?

 

Technology and data now allow accountants to provide you with greater support and deeper insights.

For example, traditional accountants may ignore electronic data sourced from financial institutions in favour of old-fashioned, manual bookkeeping.

This dated thinking can cost you a significant amount, , resulting in an inflated tax bill and costly accounting fees.

 

To learn more about the benefits of working with a healthcare accountant, contact Jonathan Tucker at 1-800-845-0540 or email jtucker@tuckerspc.ca.

 

Jonathan Tucker, CPA, CA, LPA, is Managing Director of Tucker Professional Corporation, a practice that provides tax, accounting, and advisory services for health professionals.