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Who are the best CPAs for startups?

Vanessa Kruze, CPA, is a leading expert in startup taxes and tax compliance. Her team at Kruze Consulting has filed thousands of tax returns for companies that have raised billions in VC funding, and her work has been diligenced by leading VCs, attorneys, and M&A teams at the largest technology companies.
Vanessa Kruze, a highly-experienced CPA, brings valuable tax expertise to startups, drawing from her rich background at Deloitte Tax and as a financial controller for a $20 million startup. As the leader of Kruze Consulting, recognized multiple times in the Inc 5000 list, she specializes in navigating the complex tax landscape for startups. Her firm is known for delivering precise and strategic tax solutions, delivering tax credits utilizing advanced tools to ensure compliance and optimize tax benefits for startups throughout the United States.

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I’m happy to report that the majority of our business comes from referrals from existing clients, so I’ll venture to say that my firm, Kruze Consulting, is becoming well known within the startup community as one of the best CPAs for startups.

Kruze: the Largest CPA 100% Dedicated to VC-backed Startups

While there is no database of CPAs who only work with startups, I’m pretty confident that we are the largest CPA totally dedicated to serving funded startups. We provide Accounting, Tax, Finance, Bookkeeping and HR expertise for over 800+ funded startups. Our clients raise over $3 Billion in VC and seed funding last year!

I’m a CPA, and in the past I’ve worked at Deloitte Tax and I was the Controller of a 120+ employee startup. Our COO Scott Orn is a Kellogg MBA, former VC Partner at Lighthouse Capital Partners, and before that was an investment banker at JPMorgan’s technology group. Our tax leader is a CPA  - and is an expert on R&D tax credits (a great way for unprofitable companies doing a lot of engineering and R&D work to reduce their burn rate). Our Vice President of Financial Strategy has an MBA from Wharton and used to be a VC, and an exec at several companies that raised a ton of venture funding. Our VP of Financial Services worked at Morgan Stanley and a startup, and now helps our clients manage their cash, produce financial models and more.

We have over 150 people on the team, from CPAs and CMAs to experienced controllers to technologists - yes, actual web developers who create tools our team uses to automate accounting tasks.

What to look for in a CPA for your funded startup

Companies that have raised seed and venture capital are not like other businesses. They need finance and tax advice from a CPA who understands the unique needs of high-growth, often times unprofitable, companies. Knowing the cash out date, the average burn rate, the variance to burn… plus, since many early-stage companies are in more “regulatory complex” cities like San Francisco or New York, so your CPA needs to be aware of filing deadlines and governmental paperwork.

A 10+ year old firm like Kruze also has a deep network of startup bankers, debt providers, VCs - and customer service people at the major startup payroll providers, credit card providers, expense management companies, etc. So if your startup needs something, we can assist in getting it done right.

Plus, a good tax CPA will know the tax code well enough to be able to help the business use tax incentives to reduce their burn rate. Kruze Consulting’s CPAs know what government incentives are available to help cut startups burn - our firm has executed almost $25 million in startup R&D tax credits last year. 

Do you really need a CPA, or will a bookkeeper do?

CPAs are regulated by their individual states’ accounting boards, and are required to have specific accounting knowledge, keep up to date with that knowledge, and follow strict ethical guidelines. However, for a venture-backed startup, the real benefit of a CPA is twofold:

  • Stronger advice and help during due diligence
  • The ability to handle tax work in-house

How a CPA can help startups during due diligence

For the first, most VC-backed startups will go through complicated financial due diligence during a funding round or during an M&A exit to a large technology player. Later-stage VCs are increasingly hiring outsourced due diligence experts - including large accounting firms. The team at a huge accounting firm that is investigating your startup’s financials will have pages upon pages of questions. Having a CPA who knows your company and financials (and tax returns) on your side will make due diligence that much easier and less painful.

There have been numerous times that our clients have had VC’s and major acquirers hire big 4 accounting firms to conduct accounting and finance due diligence during transactions - transactions where our clients succeeded in raising tens, if not hundreds, of millions in financing (or got acquired for massive amounts!). These big 4 accounting firms are the biggest and best public accounting firms on the planet, and their due diligence is no joke. We’re proud our work and expertise were accepted by the major accounting firms during these due diligence processes, and are even more proud of our clients, who have raised billions in funding and have had their startups acquired by major technology players like Apple and Cisco. 

I have to say, when I get on a diligence call with a big company that is acquiring one of our clients, and me and my team make it clear that we are CPAs, it really helps change the tone of the conversation. The acquiring company realizes that they are dealing with a professional team of world-class accountants focused on serving startup clients. 

Additionally, our team of CPAs is augmented with some experienced CFAs on our financial services team. This team helps put together projections and financial models that are used in fund raising and exits. Our combined CPA and CFA expertise not only enhances the quality of your financial forecasts but also instills confidence in potential partners about your startup’s future success. By demonstrating a deep understanding of your financial trajectory, we help position your startup for the best possible outcomes in any due diligence scenario.

Taxes - where a startup’s CPA can really shine

Secondly, Kruze Consulting is a licensed CPA firm, as are many of our employees. This gives us the legal right to take on specific tasks for clients - such as interacting directly with the IRS on our clients’ behalf (given the wait times for the IRS customer service numbers, this alone is worth the investment in a CPA for many startup founders - the Washington Post is reporting the IRS only answers 2% of phone calls to one of its hotlines!) You can check to see if a firm or individual is a CPA by using the CPA Verify service here

We also pride ourselves on being tax-nerds, and being up to date on tax laws and credits that can help our clients lower compliance costs and reduce their burn rate. Our CPA team has saved unprofitable startups over $30,000,000 through our R&D tax credit work, and we were one of the pioneers in helping startups take advantage of this tax incentive. 

Given that Kruze’s CPA services are priced similarly to many of the low-cost, “automated” bookkeeping services, a better question is why wouldn’t you use a CPA when you can likely get one for about the same cost as a basic bookkeeper? Check out Kruze’s competitively priced services.

Specialized Startup CPA Services

Early-stage companies are not all the same - a SaaS business is very different from a biotech company, and a hardware company is not at all similar to an ecommerce company. Some CPAs are specialized in particular verticals - ours is high-growth, VC-backed companies. From SaaS to healthtech to hardware to ecommerce, we have specialized CPAs and accountants on staff who can help your company navigate the VC landscape and manage your growth.

Some of the CPA and accounting services we provide include: bookkeeping, payroll, benefits, taxes, venture and venture debt advice, 409A valuation reporting, board prep, budget creation and HR. 

How to Find the Ideal CPA for Your Startup

A Certified Public Accountant with deep insights into the startup landscape can provide essential advice, ensure adherence to compliance regulations, and assist with strategic financial planning. Identifying a firm that perfectly matches your startup’s requirements necessitates thorough investigation and precise inquiries. Here are some questions you can ask potential providers that can help you find the best one for your company.

  • Is your firm a licensed CPA firm?
  • How many VC-backed startups do you currently serve?
  • How much VC funding have your clients raised in total?
  • Which venture capital firms have your clients raised funding from?
  • Have any of your clients been acquired by public tech companies? If so, what was your firm’s role in the process?
  • Can you provide examples of how you’ve helped startups navigate financial challenges?
  • What specialized services do you offer for startups in our industry?
  • How do you stay informed about changes in tax laws and accounting practices that could affect startups?
  • Can you describe your fee structure and how it scales with a startup’s growth?

Selecting an experienced Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a critical step for startups aiming to enhance their financial well-being and propel growth. A CPA with deep insights into the startup landscape can provide essential advice, ensure adherence to compliance regulations, and assist with strategic financial planning. Identifying a CPA firm that perfectly matches your startup’s requirements necessitates thorough investigation and precise inquiries. This guide emphasizes key queries designed to pinpoint the most suitable CPA partnership for your startup’s development phase.

The Best CPA Services Near Me

We have offices in NYC, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Austin and Los Angeles, and have experience with VC funded startups in any area near you! Learn more about our commitment to bringing Silicon Valley quality accounting advice near me, you or anywhere:

CPA Services Near San Francisco

Founded and headquartered in the bustling tech ecosystem of San Francisco, our CPA firm stands as a pivotal ally for startups seeking affordable yet exceptional accounting expertise. Our profound grasp of San Francisco’s unique business fabric, especially in startup-rich areas like SoMa, Hayes Valley and down to Silicon Valley, enables us to provide tailored, cost-effective CPA services that resonate deeply with the needs of emerging businesses. We specialize in navigating the intricate venture capital terrain prevalent in San Francisco, offering strategic insights into securing funding and managing fast-paced financial growth. Our localized approach includes comprehensive tax planning, astute financial reporting, and proactive cash flow management, all essential for startups aiming to make their mark in San Francisco’s competitive environment. By combining our affordable services with our deep-rooted knowledge of San Francisco’s startup ecosystem, we ensure that our clients are not only financially sound but also well-equipped to thrive amidst the city’s dynamic blend of innovation and opportunity.

Experienced Chartered Public Accountants Near New York City

At the forefront of New York’s dynamic startup landscape, our CPA firm is recognized as a leading provider of top-tier accounting services, perfectly tailored for the fast-paced, diverse business environment of New York City. Our deep-rooted understanding of local areas like Wall Street, Silicon Alley, and the burgeoning startup hubs in Brooklyn positions us uniquely to support New York-based startups. We bring specialized expertise in navigating the complex venture capital networks prevalent in NYC, offering strategic financial advice and robust tax solutions essential for startups aiming to secure VC funding and manage rapid growth effectively. Our services, ranging from meticulous financial reporting to proactive cash flow management, are designed to meet the high demands of New York’s vibrant startup scene. By aligning our accounting expertise with the specific needs of New York startups, we provide more than just accounting services; we offer a strategic partnership that helps our clients thrive in one of the world’s most competitive and innovative business ecosystems.

Affordable CPA Services Near Austin

In Austin’s dynamic startup scene, renowned for its innovative spirit and robust venture capital activity, our CPA firm stands out as a beacon for affordable, high-quality accounting services tailored to the unique needs of startups. Our deep understanding of the Austin market enables us to offer specialized CPA services that are both cost-effective and strategically aligned with the challenges and opportunities of local startups. We excel in assisting Austin-based entrepreneurs in navigating the complexities of VC funding, optimizing tax strategies, and managing financial growth with precision. Our local expertise in Austin’s diverse economic landscape, from the thriving tech sector to the bustling small business community, ensures that we are not just service providers but strategic partners. Our commitment to affordability and excellence makes us the ideal choice for startups in Austin looking to balance cost-efficiency with top-tier financial expertise. By choosing us, Austin’s startups gain a valuable ally in their financial journey, equipped with the knowledge and tools to thrive in one of America’s most vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems.

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Randy Hall
Viz AI

$250M+ VC Funding Raised


"I had a great experience working with Kruze Consulting when we raised Series A. They know what VCs need to see, and how to present a startup’s books and finances. If you are going to raise venture capital, you need experts like Kruze."
Chris Mansi

Chris Mansi

CEO

Startup Venture Capital Assistance

With former venture capitalists on staff, our team is here to help you navigate the fundraising process and manage your board of directors

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Scott Orn
COO | Former VC
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Healy Jones
VP FP&A | Former VC
Pequity

Scale Remote Operations & Team


"Kruze has supported us above and beyond basic accounting needs by ensuring we have everything we need to expand and support our team wherever they may be located"
Zack Fisch

Zack Fisch

Head of Operations & Legal

Clients who have worked with Kruze have collectively raised over $15 billion in VC funding.

We set startups up for fundrising success, and know how to work with the top VCs.

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Vanessa Kruze, CPA
Founder & CEO
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Experienced team helping you

Our account management team is staffed by CPAs and accountants who have, on average, 11 years of experience.

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Bill Hollowsky, CPA
VP of Accounting Services
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Claudine Vantomme, CPA
Controller
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Morgan Avery
SUT/R&D Sr. Tax Accountant
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Beth Bassler
Controller, CPA
Protara Therapeutics

Grew from a 2-person startup to a NASDAQ listed public company.


"The Kruze team helped us grow from a 2-person startup to a NASDAQ listed public company in 2 years. We wouldn’t have gotten public without Kruze’s support. Anyone thinking of launching a startup should make Vanessa their first call!"
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Jesse Shefferman

CEO

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