How Much Does Hiring a CPA or Accountant Cost in 2024?

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How Much Does a CPA or Accountant Cost in 2024?

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Handling your tax return can be risky, leading to missed deductions and costly errors. Many small business owners hire a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to avoid these pitfalls for tax preparation and business advice. So, how much does a CPA charge? CPA charges vary based on location, experience, complexity of your financial situation, and required services. In 2020-2021, average fees ranged from $220 for a simple Form 1040 to $913 for a corporate tax return. Accountants typically use hourly, project-based, or fixed fee structures. However, in this blog, we will discuss all the details related to how much does a CPA costs. Let us get started:

How Much Does a CPA Cost? Understanding Different CPA Charges

 Hourly Rates for Accountants

Hourly rates are a standard pricing structure for accountants, varying significantly based on their experience, training, and certifications. Typically, a CPA’s hourly cost ranges from $150 to over $400 per hour, depending on their expertise and the complexity of the work required.

Project-Based Rates for Accountants

Accountants often provide a project-based estimate for tasks such as tax preparation or audits. This CPA charge is usually calculated by multiplying their hourly rate by the estimated hours needed to complete the project. It gives you a clear understanding of the total CPA cost upfront.

CPA Fees for Business Advising and Consulting

According to the National Society of Accountants, the average rate for management advisory services is $158 per hour. Many CPA firms offer packages that combine these advisory services with traditional tax and accounting services for a fixed monthly or annual fee.

How Much Does a CPA or Accountant Cost in 2024?
How Much Does a CPA or Accountant Cost in 2024?

How Much Does Hiring a CPA Cost in 2024?

CPAs specializing in forensic accounting leverage their financial knowledge and investigative skills to assist in disputes or litigation. They can quantify losses for insurance claims, assess economic damages in breach of contract lawsuits, value businesses in partner disputes, and uncover hidden assets in divorce cases. According to, forensic accountants typically charge between $300 and $500 per hour.

Diverse Services Offered by CPAs

CPAs offer a wide array of services beyond basic bookkeeping. They provide personal financial planning, human resources consulting, technology consulting, startup assistance, and estate planning advice. Given the variability in CPA charges, it is advisable to shop around when hiring an accounting professional.

When to Opt for Fixed or Monthly Accounting Fees

Businesses requiring ongoing services, such as bookkeeping or payroll, often benefit from a fixed-fee structure. Paying the same rate each month simplifies budgeting and can be more cost-effective over time.

Accountant Salaries by City

If you’re considering hiring an in-house accountant, it’s essential to understand regional salary expectations. Here are the average annual accountant salaries in the five largest U.S. cities:

  • New York: $67,988
  • Los Angeles: $66,150
  • Chicago: $72,336
  • Houston: $69,037
  • Phoenix: $65,212

Is Hiring a CPA Worth the Cost?

While hiring a CPA may have a higher initial cost, the long-term benefits can be substantial. A CPA can identify tax-saving opportunities, prepare necessary financial statements for investors or loans, and offer strategic advice to help your business grow. However, not every business requires a CPA’s expertise. Accounting software or bookkeeping services may suffice for straightforward tax returns and minimal transactions. Here are some scenarios where a CPA’s expertise is crucial.

Is Hiring a CPA Worth the Cost?
Is Hiring a CPA Worth the Cost?
  • Audited Financial Statements: Only a CPA can issue audited financial statements and an auditor’s report.
  • Going Public: Public companies must issue financial statements based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), which CPAs can help with.
  • Complex Tax Situations: A CPA ensures accurate filing for consolidated tax returns, R&D tax credits, and other complexities.
  • IRS Issues: CPAs, Enrolled Agents (EAs), and tax attorneys are the only professionals who can represent taxpayers in IRS audits or disputes.
  • In-Depth Financial Advice: Many CPAs provide advisory services beyond fundamental financial issues.

Tips for Reducing CPA Costs

Build a Long-Term Relationship: Consistent collaboration with the same CPA can lead to a better understanding of your business, reducing time and costs for audits and financial reviews.

Stay Organized: Keeping your financial documents organized can significantly lower the time and costs your CPA needs to prepare your tax returns and financial statements.

Seek Proactive Advice: Consult your CPA before making significant business decisions to structure transactions advantageously.


Hiring a CPA can provide significant long-term benefits, from identifying tax savings to offering strategic business advice. A CPA’s expertise is invaluable for forensic accounting, ongoing bookkeeping, or comprehensive financial planning. Stay organized and build a long-term relationship with your accountant to ensure you get the best service. Now, you will have a clear idea of How Much does a CPA Costs. In case for professional accounting services, visit AquiferCFO to find the right fit for your business needs.


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