Shape Up For The Search

Accountants want information their way

Some preparation can increase your odds of being taken on as a client once you do find a good accountant. Any Big Four or large multi-regional firm will want to see that your company is profitable and that you have a good business plan with growth prospects, says John McAteer, a partner at Holtz Rubenstein Reminick in New York. And don't show up with jumbled receipts in a shoebox. You need internally prepared financials that hang together, says Randolf Katz, a partner at St. Louis law firm Bryan Cave. The large firms will want you to have a staffer dedicated to documenting internal business processes and preparing financial statements.

For help finding a local accountant, start by asking your banker for a recommendation. You can also try the Service Corps of Retired Executives' service. It's free, and it helps match small companies with CPAs via the Web.

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