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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
Homero M.
Great accountant. Hired her on the spot
Tax And Business Solutions  MBA,EATax And Business Solutions MBA,EA
Angela B.
I spoke with Naresh today. He is incredibly competent and is a sound accounting advisor.
Naresh Setlur CPA, CGMANaresh Setlur CPA, CGMA
David O.
I have had a hard time thinking of how to navigate through my llc accounting. I spoke with Naresh and within 15mins he laid down the entire process, gave detailed explanation and offered the greatest advice I wouldn't have imagine without having to pay him. Naresh is your go to guy for all your accounting needs and sure he will be handling all my friends and family accounting needs.
Naresh Setlur CPA, CGMANaresh Setlur CPA, CGMA
Somya S.
I just finished my talk with Mr.Naresh Satlur and WOW!! just wow!! In short 30 mins, I learned more about accounting, bookkeeping and running my business on sound financial health - more than what Ii have ever learned in school or colleges! He explained everything very clearly and was 'to-the-point' - no waste of time and no loose words! I will be keeping in touch with him and can't thank him enough for his help, his wisdom and his generosity. In fact, another accountant had told me earlier I needed this and that for my business.....Mr.Naresh set it out clear that it is all very simple and that you DON'T need what all that accountant told me! Whoa! If you are thinking of booking his services, go for it! There is nothing to doubt or contemplate - he is the one you need for your business.
Naresh Setlur CPA, CGMANaresh Setlur CPA, CGMA
Thumbtack Customer
I am amazed with Roderick, he is a great accountant, very professional, and delivers what you need, on time and with exceptional quality! I wish I hired him before, I really recommend him for your business!
Roderick Robeson CPA LLCRoderick Robeson CPA LLC
Jazzyn B.
Naresh solved my tax issue so fast and knew exactly what issue I was facing in Quickbooks without seeing my details. I will definitely be reaching out to him again. Hire him for your accounting needs!
Naresh Setlur CPA, CGMANaresh Setlur CPA, CGMA
Thumbtack Customer
Roderick Robeson CPA is currently my virtual accountant. He does a wonderful job. Always keeping everything up to date as it comes in. You couldn't ask for a more responsible person to handle precious matters. A+++++ services and would recommend them to anyone.
Roderick Robeson CPA LLCRoderick Robeson CPA LLC
Nicole S.
Mr. Cassim is amazing, he has taught so much and we are confident our taxes are being handled correctly. He goes above and beyond for us by working everyday to include weekends. He is truly one of the best accountants we have ever worked with.
Cassim Madha,EA, MBA.  SAFCA Financial Service LLCCassim Madha,EA, MBA. SAFCA Financial Service LLC
Bobbyjo s.
I have spoken to many different accounts and Naresh has made this a very easy process for our company and completely put our mind at rest with any issues. Naresh is very professional, honest and goes above and beyond to satisfy his client. Would highly recommend to anyone.
Naresh Setlur CPA, CGMANaresh Setlur CPA, CGMA
Andrea S.
We just started working with Number Sense Accounting. So far so good.. She is very knowledgeable, professional and personable. She found a lot of errors our previous bookkeeper made in our QB She is having to reset up or books and correct the errors and get us on the right path.
Number Sense Accounting & Bookkeeping ServicesNumber Sense Accounting & Bookkeeping Services
Kelley M.
I'm just starting to work with Krystin at KLSM and I was so relieved after all the help she gave me at our first meeting. I was really nervous about going to see an accountant for my small business because I felt like I had a huge mess on my hands, but Krystin calmly helped me start to sort through everything without being judgemental. Thank you!
KLSM CPA Firm PLLCKLSM CPA Firm PLLC
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