Small Business - Choosing a CPA / Accountant in San Francisco, CA

November 17, 2011 – San Francisco, CA. At Safe Harbor CPAs, we specialize in helping small businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area with their bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs. Our clients, however, are often puzzled at choosing the best CPA for their individual needs. In this blog post, we explain our thoughts on choosing the best San Francisco CPA for your small business needs.


Titles, Titles, Titles: CPAs, Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Bookkeepers

People love titles. Mr., Dr., Ph.D., Sir, Madame, Ms, Mrs. So it is with the accounting profession. There are CPAs (who are also accountants), there are bookkeepers, and there are enrolled agents. Any number of these folks can help your San Francisco Bay Area small business with your tax and bookkeeping needs.


Titles are important – a CPA means that that person has a state license to act as an accountant; similarly, an enrolled agent is a person who has been certified by the IRS, but doesn’t have the education or status of a CPA. And a bookkeeper is a person who does the nitty gritty of getting your paperwork in order. Which should you choose?


Of course we are CPAs, so that makes us partial to the CPA level of knowledge and skill. CPAs are experts not just on taxation but on business structure, and CPAs can issue statements of opinion that may be required by law.


Are CPAs expensive? Should You Choose a CPA for your Small Business?

People hear the word CPA and they are intimidated. We work very hard at Safe Harbor CPAs to be the best in tax advice (yes, we are tax geeks) but also to be friendly and approachable for our clients. Our philosophy is to recognize that you as a small businessperson know your business, better than we ever could. We respect that.


So as a small business CPA we want to work as your partner. We don’t want to intimidate you; we want to work alongside you to get the job done. Even better, we aren’t expensive – not in terms of value for job done. We know our subject, and can charge rates appropriate with what you need as a San Francisco small business.


CPAs vs. Bookkeepers

Our relationship with your internal or external bookkeeper can be very harmonious. Small businesses need to watch every penny, and one way to do that is to divide the labor. Bookkeepers can be very inexpensive on getting your documents ready for us, so we encourage you to either do your own books with a program like Quickbooks or to work with an inexpensive bookkeeper. In that way, our fees are kept to a minimum, and we are doing what we do best: tax preparation, tax planning, and tax advice. Your bookkeeper is doing the daily / weekly / monthly data entry.


Everybody’s happy, and everybody wins. So whether you need a CPA (Accountant) or a bookkeeper for your small business, reach out to us to discuss how we can work together with your team to reach a cost effective small business accounting and bookkeeping structure here in San Franciso!