Business consultants provide expert opinions, analysis and recommendations to help businesses solve problems and improve their performance. So why do Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) make the best business consultants? There are four reasons:
1. Vast technical knowledge
To become a CPA, candidates have to pass challenging exams and gain in-depth experience, and it’s this experience that really sets them apart. CPAs have a detailed understanding of financial reporting, compliance requirements, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, accounting software and business processes. Armed with this knowledge, they can use the latest innovations in accounting technology to prevent fraud, solve business and financial issues, provide quick and easy access to data, and boost efficiency.
2. An eye for detail
Accountants tend to be detail-oriented, with a gift for “finding the missing penny”. When preparing financial statements and tax returns, they’re responsible for ensuring perfect accuracy in a situation where a tiny mistake could cause a huge problem, so good CPAs triple check their work.
CPAs never take information at face value but always check the source to ensure it’s accurate. information. They can analyze and explain the story behind numbers and understand the general ledger inside out. Their professional curiosity and skepticism help them uncover the truth, identify a business’s strengths and weaknesses, and devise strategies for growth.
3. Ethical standards
CPAs have to pass an ethical assessment and adhere to a professional code of practice that demands integrity, public interest, objectivity and independence, and due care. This enables them to build deep and often lifelong client relationships. Most people prefer to keep their finances private, so the integrity of the person you trust with them is vital.
4. Expertise in internal controls and business processes
When auditing a business, a CPA has to understand the business’s financial reporting controls, including the control environment, the risk assessment process, the information system, and how the client monitors those controls. This enables them to get a valuable sense of how data flows through the organization and to build their knowledge over time into expertise. After gaining similar experience with different clients, they’ll have built a foundation of best practices that allow them to make expert observations and recommendations to add value to a business.
Although each client may be different, the business acumen gained through years of experience as a CPA is invaluable and rarely found in a general consultant. You can’t go wrong if you choose a CPA as your business consultant.