Whether you’re a number-crunching wizard, or if you need a little assistance when it comes finances, you’ll likely need to hire a financial expert at some point in your life.
Besides lightening the load of “to-do’s” on your list, hiring a financial expert can have some other advantages, like helping you save on your tax return or securing the best deal on your home loan.
But did you know that the kind of financial expert you’ll need to hire differs depending on the circumstance? Let’s discuss the different kinds of financial experts out there, and who you might want to hire depending on your situation.
What Type Of Financial Expert Should You Hire For Your Situation?
1. Financial Planner
A financial planner is a generalized finance specialist. They can help you strategize to save money, give you investment advice, protect your savings, and get you ready for retirement.
Using a financial planner has plenty of advantages, especially if you’re nearing retirement and are trying to figure out how much cash you need before your much-needed R&R.
If you’re not quite ready to hire a financial planner, just know it’s never too early to start saving. Try using a budgeting app to start building your savings account early.
2. Tax Professional
Tax season is just about every taxpayers’ least favorite time of year—especially if numbers aren’t your thing. And there’s a major difference between filing your personal taxes with a W-2, and filing taxes when there are property, assets, and deductions involved.
Hiring a tax professional to help you navigate the complex IRS labyrinth will help you avoid making tax mistakes, along with additional help to:
- Ensure you file your taxes properly
- Identify deductions you didn’t know you qualified for
- Help you save the most on your tax return
- Represent you in front of the IRS in case of an audit
But there’s not really a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to hiring a tax professional to handle your taxes. Depending on which services you need, you might require one of three options.
If you’re just filing a couple W-2’s and your deductions are few or nonexistent, you can probably get by just fine using one of the standard tax preparation software systems like H&R Block, or Turbotax. These methods tend to be pretty user-friendly and designed for the general public to file their taxes.
- Licensed by state
- 150 hours of college credit required before they can take CPA exam
- CPA Exam
- Continuing Education required
- Federally licensed
- IRS Exam
- Continuing Education required
Both CPAs and Enrolled Agents (EAs) are authorized to represent their clients before the IRS in the event of an IRS audit, and both are able to prepare taxes and provide tax advice.
In general, CPAs have more experience in accounting practice so they may be able to provide some accounting help to you if you need, which could be helpful throughout the year, not just during tax season.
Before hiring a CPA or EA, ask the firm these questions:
- Do you use a tax accounting software? This can help make filing easier if they allow you to use e-Signature and cloud-based storage features.
- What certifications does your staff have? Do they complete continuing education?
- What kind of fees do you charge to file? They should be able to give you the sum of fees upfront—and it shouldn’t be based on your tax refund.
The IRS also recommends checking a tax preparer’s credentials beforehand, and says taxpayers should never file a blank tax return.
3. Investment Advisor
Looking to maximize your savings account? One way to make cash fast is to try your hand at investing in the stock market! While it’s never a guarantee that you’ll be able to cash in on your investments, it could be worth a try if you’ve got a little extra money sitting in your savings account.
If you’re not well-versed in stock market speak or strategy, you might want to start by hiring an investment advisor. These financial professionals can help you research different companies that look promising and guide you toward the right investment decision.
But if you’re already on a tight budget, hiring an investment advisor might not be the best move for your finances just yet. But don’t let that stop you—use an investment application to start investing small!
If you’re looking for help managing your finances, planning for taxes, or growing your savings account, follow these tips to help you hire the right finance professional for your needs.