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How Much Does a CPA Charge Per Hour?

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No matter the business you’re in, you need the services of a professional accountant. They’ll help you to keep your financial books in order and ensure that your company complies with all tax laws. Although an ordinary accountant can handle most of the basic bookkeeping tasks in your business, you’ll need to hire a certified public accountant (CPA) for the more complex accounting tasks.

However, some people shy away from hiring a CPA for small business accounting services for fear of not meeting the cost. But is a CPA really that expensive, and how much does a CPA charge per hour? This article answers all these questions.

What Is a CPA?

A CPA is a designation awarded to someone who has studied public accounting and acquired professional experience in the field. For an accountant to acquire the CPA designation, they must pass the Uniform CPA Exam, which is prepared and graded by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

A CPA must obtain a practicing license from the state, district, and county boards of accountancy. Accountants who have completed their studies and passed the Uniform CPA Exam aren’t allowed to use the CPA designation until they’re licensed by the boards. So, as you hire CPAs, make sure they’re fully licensed.

The Uniform CPA Exam is fairly tough, which is why many accountants don’t have the CPA tag yet. So, you should always insist on hiring a CPA for your accounting needs because it’s a mark of professionalism and excellence.

What Does a CPA Do?

Unlike an ordinary accountant whose main role is bookkeeping, a CPA performs various other important roles, including advisory roles for their clients. Here are the main functions of a CPA:

  • Auditing and reviewing financial records
  • Financial consultancy
  • Taxation consultancy
  • Forensic accounting
  • Financial planning
  • Accounting-related litigation services

So, how much are you likely to pay for these CPA services? Because the CPA designation is considered to be the mark of quality in this profession, you can expect your CPA to charge you slightly more than an ordinary accountant.

A CPA’s world is always fast-paced because they have to help their clients make serious decisions that are likely to have a major impact on their business. So, CPAs are expected to work under immense pressure and meet short deadlines.

How Much Will Your CPA Charge Per Hour?

As of May 2023, CPAs in the United States charge around $37 per hour. Of course, this rate depends on several factors, including the roles performed, level of experience and expertise, and complexity of the work hired for. So, this hourly rate can drop or increase significantly, depending on the prevailing circumstances.

For instance, some CPAs charge as high as $58 per hour, while others charge as low as $18 per hour. Nevertheless, most hourly rates for CPAs in the U.S. currently range between $30 and $42. This implies that the average hourly rate for CPAs varies significantly; therefore, there’s a great chance for advancing and increasing the pay for CPAs in the U.S., depending on the level of skill, experience, and location of the CPA.

When you’re hiring a CPA, review as many offers as possible to find the most pocket-friendly rates. You can reduce your budget significantly by hiring a freelance CPA from a reputable freelance job site like Guru because most freelancers have little expenses, so they offer highly competitive hourly rates.

Even if you don’t want to hire your CPA from overseas, you can still hire an affordable freelancer from a different state or city in the U.S. Generally, CPAs working in large enterprises are likely to charge more than those working in smaller companies. So, if you’re looking for a CP for your startup, you can offer your CPAs other non-financial benefits, like flexible working hours and a better work-life balance, to convince them to accept your offer.  

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