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Business leaders are increasingly demanding of their tax and accounting partners. Is your business aware of the latest guidelines from the Internal Revenue Service on Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness? Does it offer Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting services? Does it use data analytics to help you grow your business?

“If you’re going to be a C-suite partner, you have to care about what interests them,” says Matt Armanino, CEO and managing partner of San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino. Today, that means focusing not only on how to better perform essential accounting and tax tasks, but also on how to contribute to clients’ strategic decision-making. “We see tax and accounting, not as a limitation, but as a great platform and a privileged position of trust to ask: ‘How can we do more for you?’ he says.

Does your tax and accounting firm do everything it can for you?

For the third year, Forbes has partnered with market research firm Statista to create a list of the most recommended companies for tax and accounting services in the United States. For more on the methodology, see the bottom of this story.

Click here for the full list of top recommended tax and accounting firms in the United States.

Here are some questions to discuss with your advisor – or a potential advisor – as we approach 2022.

Covid-relief and ever-changing tax laws. 2021 has been another challenging year for businesses and advisors with respect to new tax laws and evolving federal government guidance around Covid relief. Will 2022 be better? “A year ago, I would have said that 2021 will probably be a quieter year than 2020; now I’m not sure if it will stabilize next year,” says Armanino.

As the pandemic continues, it is reasonable to expect that there will be new laws and ongoing guidance from the Internal Revenue Service and Small Business Administration to deal with. Two examples from last month: The IRS issued three tax procedures on how to handle Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness. And in the Infrastructure Act, Congress ended the employee retention tax credit of up to $7,000 per employee three months early.

“We constantly come back to clients to update their advice. It’s been tough,” says Sarah Belliveau, CEO of BerryDunn in Portland, Maine.

This month could be a doozy. The fate of the Build Back Better Act, which passed the House in November and is before the Senate, will determine whether tax changes take effect on December 31 and require last-minute tax planning. A minimum corporate tax and higher taxes on the wealthy are in the mix.

Meanwhile, advisers are already working to prepare clients for the upcoming 2022 tax season, despite the fact that the IRS still has stacks of 2020 returns in process. In a recent survey, the AICPA cited tax complexity around Covid relief programs, shifting tax deadlines, and challenges working with the IRS as top concerns for CPAs. Is your advisor ready?

Adopt advanced technology. Tax and accounting firms are dealing with complexity by embracing technology. Is your business up to date? “Many tax and accounting firms struggle with the idea that they are not built for change in a world that demands rethinking and reimagining what we do,” says Armanino.

Of course, the primary goal of your tax and accounting firm should be to act as a trusted advisor to the CFO. This is where it all begins, but as the CFO role has grown functionally, the best tax and accounting firms grow with it. Companies are asking for more information. How to make sense of the data? Customers want complete AI solutions, chatbots, and RPA (robotic process automation) technology.

“One day we will be able to push a button and audit a year’s activity in hours, unlike something that is labor intensive today; we won’t get there overnight, but we’re headed in that direction,” says Belliveau. Ask your advisor: How are they using technology to innovate tax and audit processes, and more?

Meet ESG expectations. The rise of environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards to assess corporate practices is a coming wave, says Armanino, who sees ESG reporting as a bigger opportunity for tax and accounting firms than corporate audits. financial state. “If you’re a surfer, you have to start paddling to catch it,” he says.

In March, Armanino became a Certified B Corporation, demonstrating a high level of corporate responsibility, joining companies like Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia. Now, Armanino helps its clients achieve their ESG ambitions. Does your advisor put ESG front and center?

PwC offers a product called ESG Pulse that helps companies assess ESG metrics such as employee diversity and greenhouse gas emissions to show progress to investors. KPMG announced in October that it would commit $1.5 billion over the next three years to its new global ESG “impact plan” that will help its clients make a positive difference. Ask your advisor: what is your ESG commitment and how can you help us?

Bind it together. Tax and accounting firms face these issues for themselves and for their clients. “To truly thrive, businesses must be resilient and agile. They seek the same with their professional services partners,” says Belliveau.

Methodology. To create the list of America’s Best Tax and Accounting Firms 2022, market research firm Statista considered survey responses from CPAs, enrolled agents, tax attorneys, accountants and CFOs across the August 3 and September 13, 2021. Survey participants who worked for a tax or accounting firm could name up to ten tax firms and ten accounting firms they would recommend if their business was not able to take on a client. Survey participants who have worked in a client-side firm were asked to name up to 10 firms each in tax and accounting that they would recommend based on their work experience over the past three years. The companies that received the most recommendations were included in the list. Self-recommendations were not taken into account. The final list includes 223 companies, with 200 recommended for tax services and 200 recommended for accounting services. (177 companies received an award on both lists and 46 received awards in one area.) Approximately 4,400 recommendations were considered in the final analysis.