Looking for a lawyer or CPA
A small business owner searching for a lawyer or certified public accountant may hear from a friend, “I've got a great one for you!” That's a good reason to check the person out — but not to hire right away.
An owner needs a lawyer or CPA who has experience with and understands the needs of small businesses, is able to be an adviser and help with strategy and is aware of changes in laws and regulations. A professional also must be familiar with the industry a small business is in. Someone who does your friend's 1040 form at tax time may not know much about farming, real estate, construction or other industries that have specific rules for accounting, taxes and complying with regulations.
Owners are better off seeking recommendations from people in their industries, even if they're competitors. It's also possible to search online for a professional with expertise in a specific industry. But word-of-mouth advertising is still important, to give owners a sense of whether they'll be comfortable working with an attorney or CPA, and that the people they hire will give them the time and attention they need. So ask for several references.
No matter how you find a pro, schedule at least one meeting to get to know the person you'll be working with. Show up with a lot of questions, and be sure you get answers.
Owners are better off seeking recommendations from people in their industries.