I want a local accountant - Why work remotely?
We think this is a very good question, and we'll look at it in depth. There are a number of reasons why you might want to work with a local accountant vs working remotely. Let's consider them:
- Expertise - By working with us you’ll be working with experts in the field of U.S. expatriate taxation. We focus exclusively on American expats and are practiced at dealing with the kinds of situations that regular accountants (even those working abroad) may rarely or never see. Your local accountant is simply unlikely to possess the same level of expertise. While they may be knowledgeable in tax issues pertaining to the country you're living in, ultimately what matters is how well-versed they are in U.S. taxes and how frequently they deal with the IRS. There are simply no accountants outside the U.S. who can match us in expertise.
- Cost - If you live in a costly location (such as most of EU, Switzerland, Singapore, or Australia), local accountants will charge fees that exceed ours, oftentimes by a factor of 2 or 3 (and then add a 20% VAT on top). On the other hand, if you live in a developing country i.e. the rest of the world - there simply aren't any knowledgeable local accountants that you can approach for U.S. tax help.
- Visiting the Office - The reason most often cited by people looking for a local accountant is the ability to “stop by the office.” But let's consider that, your first visit will likely take roughly 2-3 hours (unless you share the same office building). After that, will you visit your accountant every time you need to ask a question or will you communicate via email/phone instead? Most likely, you’ll email or call. And once you’re communicating by email, the location of the office becomes irrelevant; it takes as long to for an email to reach NYC as it does to travel next door.
- Trust -You probably want to meet your accountant so that you can assess how trustworthy, competent, and knowledgeable they appear. But let's face it, how qualified are you to gauge whether they really know the tax law, how promptly they’ll answer your questions, and how much attention your case will receive? Will you ask to see their CPA exam scores?
We think that the best way to find a trustworthy accountant is to read real references from real clients left independently (i.e. on 3rd-party websites not controlled by the firm). We challenge you to find another accountant who has over 1000 clients willing vouch for them as we do.
So at the end of the day, you have to decide whether the privilege of meeting with your accountant once in a nice office justifies paying triple the price + VAT for years to come.