In the end, I turned to the Yellow Pages and called several accounts. I had three or four issues that I asked each one and evaluated their responses. The range in hourly fees was $75 per hour to $200 per hour. That makes a big difference. My thinking was that I wanted someone in the middle. I did not want the cheapest accountant in town. Maybe that accountant would make sloppy errors and also not inform me of key things.
I also did not want the most expensive accountant in town. As a growing C corporation, I needed someone with experience, but it's hard to be comfortable sitting in an office which costs $200 per hour. When it comes to difficult issues, then I think it warrants paying top dollar, but for basic C corporation accounting, I wanted someone who could talk to me for a couple of hours to help fill me in on key laws and key tax strategies.
My phone conversations proved worthwhile because I found an accountant whose office was close to mine which made it easy to meet. He spent time with me to give me perspective and to help to work out a good plan for my tax strategy. He also was able to help me with the tax information, payroll information and a series of legal steps necessary for California.
Accounting is a critical step in business.