Choosing a CPA or any professional - Posted by Lin
Posted by Lin on July 10, 2003 at 16:53:06:
First, eliminate any CPA’s who don’t invest in real estate themselves. I work for a CPA firm during tax season that has 7 CPA’s. A couple of them had been investing in real estate for many, many years. That can be a great help. They have a personal stake in keeping informed.
My RE attorney gets credit for this next bit of advice. Attorneys and CPA’s (and everyone, for that matter) range from extremely conservative to extremely liberal in their interpretations of things, and that to find the best one FOR YOU, you must understand where you fall in the spectrum, yourself. With that in mind, find out your comfort zone with regard to a number of different scenarios, then ask the professional you’re interviewing how they would interpret the scenario you described.
Here’s an example:
I asked the first CPA about an IRC 1031 exchange - what holding period would she recommend before an exchange should occur. She said two years, one at a minimum. She said she had “let go” clients who had started an exchange before a year of ownership was up.
The next CPA I asked said, “Holding period? There’s no required holding period. Make sure you have a good case for calling your subject property an investment, and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve owned it.”
The first CPA was WAY too conservative for me to be happy with her advice, and not just on that issue. She is very competent, well-regarded in the community and gives rock-solid advice. I also knew I’d be endlessly frustrated by the cautious positions she takes.
With the help of my attorney I explained where I fall on that liberal-conservative spectrum, and he gave me a few names of CPA’s who fit the profile. The fellow I ended up interviewing was a very creative guy, and asked for my situation and desired results, then listed a number of different options that might work. I was very pleased. He was easy to talk to and very organized. The session cost $160, and he recapped our entire meeting in a letter to me afterwards, which was great 'cause my notes weren’t nearly as comprehensive.
It’d be my guess, since you’re posting on CREonline, on the MOBILE HOME board, of all places, that you’re a guy who plays on the edge! Don’t settle for any old bean counter. Find somebody who can match that creativity, or at least respect that about you and work to solve problems and organize your business to YOUR satisfaction.