While relying on free or inexpensive online accounting tools may have its merits, electing to forgo an investment in the services of a trained professional accountant – or choosing the wrong one – can prove a costly mistake.

A qualified, certified public accountant (CPA) can help you avoid financial missteps and introduce tax-savings opportunities that you may have otherwise missed. So when you do invest in the services of a reputable accountant, it’s important to know what to ask and when – not only to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth, but also to ensure you do what’s best for your bottom line.

So here are a few questions you should be asking your CPA to ensure you’re getting the service and advice you deserve.

How Is My Wealth Being Preserved?

When it comes to protecting your assets, the biggest threat to your heirs and beneficiaries is U.S. tax law. Your CPA should help you protect the legacy you’ve built by structuring your estate in such a way that it bequeaths cash and assets to family, loved ones, and favored charities or institutions – and not lost to the IRS.

How Are We Protecting My Assets?

Your CPA should be a fiduciary with safeguards in place to ensure that your assets are protected from fraud. Do you know what those safeguards are? Because in order to safeguard your assets, they should be held with reputable third-party custodians.

How Can We Further Minimize Taxes?

Many tax preparers are seasonal, available only the first four months of the year. But beyond simply preparing tax forms, your CPA should also be involved in tax planning throughout the year. A quarterly review could ensure that your books and records are in order for maximum tax efficiency – and minimal taxes paid.

How Can I Best Plan For My Child’s Education?

Your CPA should be able to not only accurately estimate what you will need for your child’s education, but provide you with strategies to maximize your savings while minimizing your taxation. With education costs rising every year, your CPA should identify how much money you’ll need for education so you can elect the investment strategies, financial aid opportunities, and tax reductions specific to your financial needs.

How Can I Establish A Legacy For Future Generations?

Estate planning is not an isolated, static event. While many people will take steps to protect their family’s financial well-being, building a true family legacy that protects your family’s wealth requires detailed planning, ongoing oversight and management, and adaptability as your family – and laws – change so you can preserve your wealth to build a lasting family legacy.

If your CPA doesn’t have all the answers to these questions, it may be time to switch to a firm who is not only answering these questions, but constantly planning and preserving your wealth.

At Bedinghaus & Co, we take the time to get to know our clients so we can best plan for their financial future. Get in touch today to ask these questions and more.