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Consult professionals

In starting a small business, you are almost guaranteed to come across tax and legal rules that require professional help. Which professionals you should consult depends entirely on your individual business needs. However, there are some general guidelines:

  • Consider consulting a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or an Enrolled Agent (EA) for accounting and tax planning advice. (Enrolled Agents are tax experts licensed by the federal government.) Search the Go online QuickBooks Professional Advisors Referral Database for an accounting professional in your area who specializes in QuickBooks.

  • Get free help at your local Go online Small Business Development Center. SBDCs administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration exist with the sole purpose of offering management assistance to people like you—owners and prospective owners of small businesses.

  • If you have questions about regulations, consult a lawyer familiar with your business field.

  • Have a lawyer help you correctly form your business.

  • If you plan on forming a business that owns real estate, you should consult a real estate lawyer.

  • If your business is based on a unique technology, you may need to hire a patent lawyer to help you apply for the correct patents.

  • If you form a Non-Profit Corporation, you will need to find a &CPA; who specializes in Non-Profit accounting. There are many issues specific to Non-Profits that only an expert will be able to advise you on.

  • If you use TurboTax Business, you can find answers to many of your tax questions by consulting the product's business tax reference library. For more information about TurboTax Business, visit Go online www.turbotax.com.

In seeking a good professional, start by asking friends and the owners of similar local businesses for referrals. Ask them:

  • Who do you use?

  • Why do you use them?

  • Do you like them?

  • Why do you like them?

  • Do they help you?

  • How do they help you?

Once you get names of people to consider hiring, visit the professionals and ask them questions to determine whether they are right for your business.

Nine questions to ask a tax or accounting professional

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