Maybe I've just had bad luck, but the four CPAs I've met so far with have been morons.

The first one I found on superpages and he couldn't help me set a structure for my LLC. Didn't know what paperwork to file, how often they pay taxes, and told me to register the LLC in Montana. The next I met on craigslist (whoops) told me to put my money into a house insurance plan to avoid paying taxes. The third, who works in my office building, was helpful but didn't know anything about paying 1040-S (estimate taxes for self employed) and .. well, we won't get into the fourth. How is it that with basicallymoney.com, limited Googling and 6 mo experience running my own business I seem to know more about the tax code than these guys? [/vent]

I'm a sole proprieter software consultant, hoping to soon start an LLC. I need a local San Diego CPA who can advise my business, make sure I'm following the tax law, make sure I'm paying everything I owe, and I really don't know where to look. Please help?

8 Answers 8


Ask your colleagues! I know that sounds obvious, but just go to where people who do your sort of business hang out (or better, find some venture capital firms and ask their portfolio companies). It's not something people would keep secret from you...


Check your local better business bureau. They can tell you who is in business, who's bonded, and who has had a lot of complaints levied against them for shoddy practices.


People to ask:

  1. Lawyer.
  2. Insurance broker.
  3. Other small business owners.
  4. Family and friends.

Granted I live in a small town, but when the same guy's name comes up more than once that's who you should hire...


Ask for at least 10 references. Ask for 10 because it will be harder for them to refer you to ringer references like their family or friends.


I have had better experiences with accountants in smaller towns. It seems they are used to working with small businesses and their reputation is very important to them.


The first place to look for an accountant is the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants which has a directory of CPAs, accounting companies, and local accounting societies. I was also looking for one for my own small firm. It really helps.


Consult your local Small Business Administration office - they may have resources that can help you find what you're looking for.


Look for an accountant who brings not only expertise in number crunching, but consulting and business planning - a full package.

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