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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What is an accountant?

Accountants are financial professionals who have received an accounting degree from a four-year university or college. By trade, accountants prepare, maintain and examine the financial statements of an individual, business or institution. An accountant prepares reports for tax purposes and can also perform audits of public companies. Common tasks include creating budgets, analyzing profits and losses of a company, processing payroll, preparing financial statements for company leadership, and creating and maintaining financial database systems for a company.    

Accountants do not automatically have a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation unless they have passed the Uniform CPA Examination and received the proper license. Regardless of whether they are CPA certified or not, accountants can assist businesses and individuals with bookkeeping and financial reporting, while CPAs are more knowledgeable in tax codes as a result of the CPA licensing examination and continuing education requirements. CPAs are also eligible to represent clients before the IRS if audit support is required, while a non-CPA accountant is not. Academic background, years in the field and professional reputation all can affect an accountant’s rates.

Check out the average hourly rate for accounting services in your area.

How much does it cost to hire an accountant?

Accountants’ rates vary based on their education, licenses, experience, and the work for which they are being hired. An accountant may charge an hourly rate when a company or individual needs their services on a short-term basis, such as when performing an audit or requesting assistance setting up a financial database or process. Hourly rates can range as widely as $40 per hour to $300 or more per hour, depending on your geographic location and the accountant. Check out the average hourly rate for accounting services in your region.

Accountants may offer a package rate for weekly, monthly or annual services to reward ongoing customers. Many accountants offer online services where small businesses can access online accounting software and payroll assistance, and the accountant — for a monthly or other recurring fee — provides financial analysis and reporting of their numbers. For basic monthly accounting services, an accountant might charge anywhere from $75 to $500 or more, depending on what was included in a given package, the size of the client’s business, and the complexity of work requested. Nationally, full-time staff accountants earn between $40,000 and $80,000, depending on experience and other factors.

Who licenses CPAs?

The Board of Accountancy for your state or district licenses certified public accountants (CPAs). When searching for a CPA to help you with your finances or taxes, make sure they are properly licensed in your state. Here are a few tools you can use to verify an accountant’s license:

You can also ask an accountant to provide proof of their license and credentials.

What do CPAs do?

According to the American Institute of CPAs, certified public accountant (CPAs) financially advise individuals, big companies and small businesses to help them reach their financial goals. For example, they can consult you on taxes and other accounting needs. 

What do forensic accountants do?

Forensic accountants investigate financial crimes involving fraud, embezzlement and other issues. They often work closely with law enforcement and lawyers, and they can help determine the legality of financial activities, according to the BLS.

Reviews for Ashburn accountants
TiJuan E.
I contacted Antega LLC for some tax and accounting help. They have been very informative. I initially reached out on thumbtack, and was able to get a consult within 24 hours. I would definitely recommend them to assist with all of your tax and accounting needs.
Antega LLC | Finance, Accounting & TaxAntega LLC | Finance, Accounting & Tax
Garet F.
Entrust the taxes, bookkeeping, and everything in between of our business and personal accounts to C&A Associates/Cheshier Tax Resolution.
C&A Associates Inc/Cheshier Tax Resolution IncC&A Associates Inc/Cheshier Tax Resolution Inc
Mike C.
I contacted several bookkeeping services and was pleased to find EasyBooks especially since they also offered me a solution to some other accounting needs.
EasyBooks, PLLCEasyBooks, PLLC
Katie H.
Tim was professional, knowledgeable and easy to work with. I was looking for an accountant to help with our new and growing business and feel very fortunate to have found Tim. Would highly recommend.
Tim Thompson CPA PLLCTim Thompson CPA PLLC
Fiona T.
Amazing! I appreciate your expertise in handling my accounting and payouts with my business contractors. As a business owner, I have many jobs. It is refreshing to know that I can delegate this and it is done properly and professionally.
The Gamblin GroupThe Gamblin Group
Thumbtack Customer
Randy is the best! He was very easy to get in touch with and even easier to work with. I had a few challenges with my return this year and Randy was able to seamlessly navigate them in order to maximize my return. I will absolutely be returning to him for next years tax return and any other accounting needs!
Cornerstone Solutions LLCCornerstone Solutions LLC
Thumbtack Customer
This is a complete waste of time and money. Jeff works for several companies and overcommits to the work he takes on. The price is three times what it should be for the quality of work performed. I paid him thousands and he never took the time to go over the reports with me. Jeff blamed me for "negative reviews" and held my accounts hostage while charging me monthly fees. Stay away from Excel Financial Consultants and Jeff Peterson! Your small business cannot afford this unless you want to go under. I would gladly discuss this experience with anyone who contacts me to save you from the horrible experience I have endured with this "company"
Excel Financial Consultants, LLCExcel Financial Consultants, LLC
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