Shed Some Light: Chartered Professional Accountants vs. the Big Box Accountants

As Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs), our partners and associates are asked every tax season – what’s the difference between JMH&CO and tax prep companies or using off-the-shelf tax preparation software.

To help answer this question, we first have to Shed Some Light on what the CPA designation really means.

What makes a CPA?

The CPA certification program and final examination is reputed to be among the world’s most challenging professional examinations.  The requirements to enroll in the CPA certification program include an undergraduate degree with specific prerequisite courses.  Once enrolled, the program is comprised of 6 comprehensive modules and a national common final examination.  To obtain competency on the examination candidates are required to display depth and breadth in the following areas:

  1. Financial Reporting
  2. Strategy and Governance
  3. Management Accounting
  4. Audit and Assurance
  5. Finance, and
  6. Taxation

In addition to the formal education and successful completion of the examination, candidates must complete a term of relevant practical experience.  The knowledge and competencies gained through practical experience complement those developed through education.

In all, the process of obtaining a CPA designation is typically a 7 year process.  In comparison, the “Big Box” tax experts are trained through the company’s trademarked academy, which require applicants to prepare for every type of tax situation in just 70 hours.

What does that mean for our clients?

Beyond the training, the main difference is the respective approach to doing business. The retail tax centres typically do the majority of their business over the course of a couple months each year, during tax season.

For JMH&CO, it’s a year-round profession. We take the time to get to know our clients and their situations, we know all the latest regulations and tax laws – which in turns means we can discover tax deductions which will minimize the taxes our clients must pay.

How much more expensive is it?

This is a common misconception because there are a few things which must be factored in. Every individual’s situation is different, which is why we get to know our clients. We’re not just focused on entering numbers into forms.

The cost for our services tend to be very comparable, however, we pride ourselves in bringing next level quality and maximizing your returns, with the goal that clients will wind up with more money in their bank accounts.

What’s The Difference?

Going back to the initial question – what’s the difference?

In short, the difference is that we’ll get to know you and your situation and really help shed light on your tax return. We’ll figure out how we can maximize your return because we spent years preparing for the opportunity to prepare your tax return and all year working with you to know the applicable ins and outs of the taxation system.

Allow our team to shed some light on your personal tax return – make an appointment with us today.