Questions?

Accounting FAQs

On this page, we’ll answer your burning questions about accounting services at Stern Cohen.
We’re passionate about accounting, too! 🙂

How to Select an Accountant

Choosing a new accounting firm is an important decision with long lasting benefits. Make sure you do your research before making an informed decision. Here’s some key pointers!


How to find the best accounting firm for your needs

As Stern Cohen’s Marketing Director, I’m answering this question because of the high volume of inquiries we receive from people looking for a new accountant, tax specialist or bookkeeper. My answer shares tips on on how to select the right accounting firm, CPA, or Tax Specialist based on your requirements.

Believe me when I say there’s a wide range of accounting providers and it’s crucial to find the right one for you and your unique needs. One size does NOT fit all when it comes to finding the best accounting firm for your needs. Find out what I have learned about choosing your accounting provider…

Fit: One Size Does NOT Fit All

The accounting industry is a complex one. In general, CPA’s (chartered professional accountants) either work within “industry” (as a CFO or Controller for example) OR they are in what we call “public” accounting.

In public accounting, an accountant has many clients. They might be a sole practitioner running their own practice OR they may join a more sizable firm with a greater range of services from income tax preparation to financial statements or audits. A public accounting firm can be small, mid-sized, or large like the “Big Four” firms we’re familiar with (like Deloitte, PWC, etc.) The large firms focus on serving public companies and large business whereas small and mid-sized firms are an ideal solution for small to medium sized, privately-held and/or owner-managed businesses. Stern Cohen is a mid-sized firm and we focus on the owner-managed business market. We also have a strong nonprofit specialist practice.

How do you know it's a good accounting firm?

Read Online Reviews, Ratings and Testimonials. While searching don’t forget to look at Google Business Reviews or ClearlyRated. Many established firms, like Stern Cohen, feature a page of client reviews on their website. You can view ours here: https://www.sterncohen.com/testimonials/

Are you the right fit for Stern Cohen?

It’s a two way relationship. Just like you expect the best from your accountant, your accountant has expectations from you!

In order for us to provide accurate and efficient services, we require:

  • business owner or finance team members’ availability during key service delivery times
  • timely responses to our requests for information
  • minimal adjusting journal entries

Increasingly, like any business, Stern Cohen is choosing clients with the following attributes:

  • Pleasant: Firms are severing ties with “difficult” clients to ensure that valued staff have a positive work experience.
  • Specialty or Niche: Firms are zeroing in on client types they can provide the highest value to (based on industry or service expertise). As a result, firms are carefully screening prospective clients to ensure fit. It benefits the client and the firm!
  • Technology Friendly: Clients open to adopting modern practices and efficient apps are highly desired. The classic “shoebox of receipts” is a red flag.
Do accountants help with accounting technology?

The pandemic accelerated cloud accounting systems and a good firm will assist with migration to modern accounting technologies like QuickBooks Online and other industry-leading payroll apps like Wagepoint. If you have let your tech infrastructure get obsolete, you’re taking a risk and missing out on efficiencies and improved reporting capabilities, too. Our clients regularly tell us how happy they are with their modern cloud accounting platforms.

Does location matter when choosing an accounting firm?

Geography doesn’t really matter anymore. During the pandemic, accounting firms like Stern Cohen adapted to a virtual model. While in person meetings are always available, we can speak with you over the phone or in a Zoom call AND save everyone the travel time! This frees you up to choose an accounting firm like Stern Cohen even if you’re in Barrie, Collingwood, Hamilton, Sudbury, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary or Vancouver! We have the tax and advisory services you may need thanks to our experience in a mature, sophisticated market. Now you can work with one of the best accounting firms in Toronto Canada even if you’re in Orillia.

All About Fees

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What are some GENERAL cost estimates of services at Stern Cohen?

We value transparency and trust at Stern Cohen. So we’re happy to share some general fee estimates for our rates and services (2023):

  • Small business year-end accounting, corporate tax return: $3,500/year and up (includes tax planning with respect to your personal tax return and compensation from the corporation)
  • Monthly bookkeeping, payroll, and annual compliance services for businesses: $2,000/month and up depending on number of transactions and the service mix
  • Stern Cohen Tax Partner / Tax Specialist: $635/hour
  • Stern Cohen Partner: $575/hour

Other Common Questions

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Surprise!

Accountants know a lot about other topics too!


Will the Blue Jays win the World Series?

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