How to Assess and Hire Tax Advisors?
Published on January 7th, 2023
Who are Tax Advisors?
A tax advisor is a professional who specializes in providing advice and assistance with tax-related matters. They can help individuals and businesses understand and comply with tax laws, as well as develop strategies to minimize their tax liability.
Tax advisors can also represent clients before the IRS or other tax authorities. They can be certified public accountants (CPAs), attorneys, or enrolled agents (EAs).
Types of Tax Professionals
Depending on your requirements, you can hire a,
- CPA: CPAs are licensed accountants who have passed a rigorous exam and meet ongoing education requirements. They can provide a wide range of services, including tax preparation, financial statement preparation, and auditing.
- Attorney: Attorneys are licensed legal practitioners who have graduated from law school and passed a bar exam. They can provide legal advice and representation on tax matters, as well as other areas of law.
- Enrolled Agent: Enrolled agents (EAs) are tax professionals who have passed a comprehensive exam and undergone background checks administered by the IRS. They are authorized to represent taxpayers before the IRS and can provide a wide range of tax-related services.
What do their Jobs Entail?
In order to reduce the amount of taxes that need to be paid to the taxing authorities, a taxpaying entity, such as an individual, partnership, business, trust, etc., that has a complex financial situation (such as complex investments and deductions), can seek the advice of a tax advisor.
The recommendations and services that a tax advisor provides will vary based on the circumstances of the taxpayer. A person making retirement plans will receive different guidance than a business owner starting out. Similar to how a commodity trader will likely have different tax requirements than a real estate investor.
Because tax advisors are well versed in tax laws and IRS guidelines, businesses may retain their services to represent the businesses before tax authorities and courts to resolve issues relating to tax.
In a gist, the job of a tax advisor typically entails providing advice and assistance with tax-related matters to individuals and businesses. This can include:
- Reviewing and preparing tax returns: Tax advisors can review financial records and documentation to ensure that clients are reporting all of their income and deductions correctly and that they are taking advantage of all tax breaks for which they qualify. They can also prepare and file tax returns on behalf of their clients.
- Planning and strategy: Tax advisors can help clients develop strategies to minimize their tax liability. This can include identifying tax deductions, credits, and other opportunities to reduce tax payments, as well as identifying potential tax problems and developing solutions to address them.
- Representation before the IRS: Tax advisors can represent clients before the IRS or other tax authorities if their clients are audited or have other disputes with the tax agency.
- Advising on tax laws and regulations: Tax advisors must keep themselves updated with the tax laws and regulations and they need to be able to provide guidance to their clients on how tax laws and regulations may impact them.
- Advising on compliance and reporting requirements: Tax advisors can help clients understand and comply with all tax-related reporting requirements, and how to avoid penalties or fines for noncompliance.
- Continual learning: Tax laws and regulations are constantly changing, and tax advisors must continuously update their knowledge and skills through continuing education courses to ensure that they can provide accurate and up-to-date advice to their clients.
Skills of Tax Advisors
1. Understanding of Tax
To fulfill the responsibilities of the position, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of both tax law and accounting. Naturally, the level of skill and experience you need will depend on the seniority and responsibilities of the particular position you're searching for.
2. Proficiency in Accounting Software
Accounting software will be a must for any tax advisor to use on a daily basis. Therefore, it can be useful to check candidates' familiarity with the software you use or their aptitude for learning quickly before hiring them.
3. Knowledge of Microsoft Office
Your tax advisor will need to be proficient with the Microsoft Office suite in order to complete daily activities like organizing meetings, sending emails, creating papers, and putting together spreadsheets and presentations, as is the case with most office jobs.
4. Error Checking
A qualified tax advisor must have the capacity to identify inconsistencies and errors in both text and data because even the tiniest error can have significant repercussions.
5. Communication Skills
A tax advisor must be able to connect with customers throughout the whole tax preparation process, listen to their problems, and break down complex material for them.
For the majority of tax consultants, solving problems will be an everyday occurrence. Whether it's figuring out why something doesn't add up, searching for missing information, or processing the laws and regulations that must be followed.
To complete their day-to-day task, tax advisors will need to work well with others, but they will also need to have confidence when they are in charge and must demonstrate their knowledge and authority to win over clients.
8. Critical Thinking
By logically analyzing an idea's advantages and disadvantages, critical thinking helps you choose the optimal course of action.
9. Active Listening
Listening to customers goes beyond only listening, but making them feel heard. In a job like tax advisory, building trust and making strong connections with customers is crucial.
10. Mental Math
Tax advisory often involves quick calculations and candidates who can do quick mental math is definitely a plus for the position.
How to Assess Tax Advisors?
1. Use Pre-employment Assessment
Use HireQuotient’s Tax Advisory Test to gauge your candidate for the job role.
Our assessment is an AI-based pre-hire test for recruiters to assess an individual's numerical, logical, and verbal reasoning skills, as well as their ability to assess, digest, and communicate financial information.
It also assesses a candidate's capability to be patient, empathetic, and passionately communicative toward customers.
Additionally, it also gives you an analysis of how all the candidates performed in the assessment to give you an overview and make your decision easier.
2. Ask the Right Questions
Interviewing the potential candidate is a key step in assessing the character and knowledge of the person. Ask these questions to gain an understanding of your applicant.
- What are some of the most common challenges you’ve encountered when filing taxes?
- If I was the owner of a small business, what are some tax deductions that you would recommend for me?
- How do you stay up to date on the latest tax changes?
- Have you ever discovered compromising information in a tax document? What did you do?
- Think about the last time a client or stakeholder was unhappy with your work. How did you handle the situation?
- Describe a situation where you made a mistake on a tax return. What did you do?
- What credentials do you have that qualify you as a tax advisor?
- How would you assist a client who has overdue tax payments?
3. Assign a Task
Have the potential candidate engage in role-playing exercises by simulating a real-life customer interaction and evaluate their ability to handle various types of situations.
Build scenarios with different types of customers and make the candidate take the call and monitor how they are handling their accounts and taxes.
How to Hire Tax Advisors?
1. Check for their PTIN
A preparer tax identification number, or PTIN, is required by the IRS for anybody who prepares or aids in completing federal tax returns for remuneration.
An ID number that originates from the IRS is known as a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). It is legally required for all enrolled agents and tax professionals who want to file tax returns for paying clients to possess a PTIN. Every tax professional in the office, whether they are one or several in number, should have their own PTIN.
2. Find a Professional Who Thinks Non-Linearly
Most tax advisors have linear thinking patterns, but a better accountant looks for legitimate and practical ways to apply the law so as to save the taxpayer a lot more money. A qualified accountant will be able to advise you on the best feasible tax planning that will reduce your tax burden.
3. Consider Aptitude Tests
Conducting Aptitude tests for tax advisors will give you insight into the areas such as communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal relations. These tests may also include multiple-choice questions, situational judgment exercises, and role-playing scenarios.
This will give you a sketch of the overall personality of the candidate and parse them out from total dud candidates.
4. Use Unique Candidate Sourcing Channels
Candidates are not going to buzz around your building just because you have an opening. You need to announce your opening through different channels and attract candidates to you. Here are a few tips for the same:
- Job Boards: Because they feature open positions from throughout the internet, job boards are an excellent place to find new hires. Find niche job boards to advertise your tax advisory opportunities, and think about focusing on particular nations or regions.
- Social Media: Social media is a great platform to connect with prospective candidates. Reach out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks to find a whole new set of candidates.
- Employee Referral Program: Put your employees to work and ask them to refer candidates from their network who might be a good fit for the position. In return, you can pay them incentives in the form of bonuses, gift coupons, or paid vacations.
- Recruitment Agencies: You can work with a recruitment agency if you don't know where to begin or don't have the time to find tax professionals on your own. Recruitment firms are experts at locating and vetting people for particular positions, so they can assist you in finding the greatest match for your business.
Hiring can be a difficult task, as it involves finding the right candidate who not only possesses the necessary skills and experience, but also aligns with the company's culture, values, and goals.
It requires a lot of effort and resources to attract, screen, and evaluate potential candidates, and there is always a risk that the chosen candidate may not be the best fit for the role or the company. It also requires attention to detail and good judgment, as well as the ability to assess candidates not only by their qualifications, but also by their soft skills, work ethic, and cultural fit.
Make use of pre-employment assessments to clear your judgment and hire not only the best person but also the right person.
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Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.
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