Not all R&D tax providers are created equal. Firms have different values, priorities, and sales targets — all of which evolve over time and can lead to less than positive outcomes for clients.
For business owners, choosing the right firm is critical for future growth, and most CPAs feel a responsibility to recommend the most suitable firm to their clients. That's why it's so important to have a proven, well-documented, and consistent process to evaluate your relationship with your provider(s).
So, how do you know if your R&D tax provider is still right for you? Here are some tips to find out.
Whether you're a CPA or a business owner, selecting the right R&D tax provider can be a difficult task. But by re-evaluating certain aspects of your relationship, it will help you to understand if it’s still working or not.
Start by asking the following questions to determine if your current provider is meeting your needs:
- Did the team assigned have deep hands-on industry knowledge?
- How did the last engagement go? Were your expectations met or exceeded?
- Were they interested in helping you improve the value of your business by discussing various reinvestment options for the credit?
- Do they “still” have a good reputation?
- Did they conduct themselves in a way you would expect your own staff to conduct themselves?
- Were there any unexpected surprises?
If you can't answer each question in a positive way, it doesn't mean a provider is a poor match. However, it should give you pause for concern and perhaps some additional reflection about considering potential options.
Align Your Values
Another way to help ensure a stable and mutually-beneficial partnership is to make sure your R&D tax provider's values are aligned with your own. Consider the following principles and ask yourself how your provider stacks up with each of these questions:
- High integrity – Do they put your interests before their own?
- Trustworthy – Do you have full confidence in what they tell you?
- Dependable – Do they fulfill their promises completely and on time?
- Knowledgeable – Do they have deep industry as well as deep technical R&D knowledge?
- Experienced – Have they done exactly what you need done before?
- Professional – Do they represent themselves the way you would represent yourself?
- Collaborative – Are they willing to listen, share ideas, and work as a team?
- Personable – Do you like working with them?
Life is short -- why not surround yourself with great trustworthy people who are enjoyable to work with?
Refresh Your Research
Things change quickly. What was once a solid firm with a good reputation can quickly turn toxic with just a few bad decisions. That's why it's so important to regularly update your research.
Start with a simple Google search. It’s an increasingly transparent world with a wealth of information available online. What you don’t know could hurt you, and you don’t want to be the last to know the latest news.
Not many people like surprises. This is especially true if you're a CPA and have made a recommendation to a trusted client. There’s no penalty for recommending what may just now be the wrong firm, as there will always be things that are beyond your control. What’s important, however, is that you know before your client does so you can take proactive steps and remedy the situation.