I'm looking for a good accountant for freelancers (and families) in the Philadelphia area
September 8, 2009 7:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good accountant in the Philadelphia area. Ideally one that can help with both tax issues for a freelancer in the tech industry, as well as more general family accounting (I just got married and we just opened our joint account). Any recommendations?

I reside within Philly city limits and I work from home, so I'd prefer someone familiar with Philadelphia tax issues (I have no idea what I owe the city) and with the particular needs of and deductions for freelancers in the tech industry.

I like building long term relationships, so I'd like to find someone who can help with all the other stuff that's going to come up in the next few years: children and raising a family, buying a house, saving for our potential kids' education, and retirement.

Also, if I want to figure out things like budgeting and getting on sound financial footing, is that something I would talk about with my accountant or is that someone else?
posted by Deathalicious to Work & Money (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a personal recommendation to make in the Philadelphia area, but I have a few suggestions for good sources you might want to explore. First, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has a "Find a CPA" function, and I'd suggest following the "Personal Finacial Specialists" link there for a number of local firms doing personal accounting work. Next would be to visit your bank, and ask some of the officers there for local CPA referrals - many bank branch managers with long community experience can offer you subtantial local history and information on referrals they might make. Also, ask you lawyer for a referral to a CPA firm they do business with regularly.

Most accountants don't do a lot of personal finance education. They might be able to refer you to local community colleges and universities that offer courses in personal finance, and if you haven't ever taken one, you should. You get an overview of personal finance topics, including income, personal tax accounting, savings and investment strategies, wills, insurance, trusts, and marriage/divorce implications for personal wealth. These courses provide you with a common vocabulary and concept base, with which to talk to your spouse, your accountant, your attorney, your insurance broker, and your banker about financial moves you'll need to make throughout your life.

It's good to have an accountant you trust, as well as a lawyer you can do business with. But it's up to you to know what you want; professionals are not teachers, they are practitioners within their areas of expertise.
posted by paulsc at 9:30 PM on October 3, 2009

Response by poster: Also, ask you lawyer
Ha ha ha ha ha hee hee hee...

Thanks for the rest of the suggestion, however. A fellow programmer told me that one possible resource in the Philadelphia area is IndyHall, which is geared towards freelancers in the Philly area. If I become a member, I can use the office share there and I'd be likely to run into individuals with similar needs who can recommend someone.

My understanding that there were people out there who could meet with you, and based on your income and taxes, could help you determine a working budget, figure out how and when to save, and help you write up a financial plan for the future. If that's not the case I guess a course in personal finance would be the next step, but I feel that someone who is wildly knowledgeable of personal finance would be able to give me at least a foundation or guideline that I could use or follow, rather than having to figure out everything from scratch. I'm not saying that I'm not willing to learn this myself, it just seems like a lot of work to go through a course at community college just to figure out a budget and some basic savings, especially since this is sort of something that needs to get set up now (and actually should have been set up a while back, really). I mean, I could probably make a safe guess right now even without formal education in this, but I'd rather be advised by someone who knows what they're talking about. Is there a name for this kind of individual? A financial planning advisor or something?
posted by Deathalicious at 12:05 PM on October 15, 2009

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