DUNS number · Accounting

Startup friendly CPA in SIlicon Valley

Monique Barbanson CEO and Founder at 3PM Revolution

March 28th, 2013

After looking at various options including Testflight, it's looking like the best approach to get my iPhone app tested is to get an iOS enterprise account. This however requires a DUNS number, which in turn requires being incorporated.
I plan to use Clerky to incorporate as a C corp in Delaware, but I'm going to need a CPA to handle the C corp taxes.

Any recommendations for a startup friendly CPA? What should I expect to pay for a CPA to file fed and state taxes for a startup?

Any thoughts on the above welcome. Needless to say I'm looking to keep accounting and other admin back office work to the minimum legally required so I can focus on product and customer acquisition. Thanks!

Josh Moser Founder at VinoServant, Inc.

March 28th, 2013

Monique - You should check out the guy below. He works with a number of start-up to mid-size companies. I would expect that returns would cost b/w $1,000 and $4,000. If it is basically a zero return, then closer to $1,000.  If you are in CA, then why incorporate in Delaware? You will still owe the CA Franchise Tax of $800.

Milan Kojnok
Silicon Valley Accountancy
milan@cpas-svac.com
C: 408.829.7988

Brendan Duffy Product Manager

March 28th, 2013

Hey Monique,

I've worked with John Horn at Infrastructure Group, and I can definitely recommend those guys. (http://www.infrastructuregroup.com/services.html)

John's a Stanford JD/MBA, and a really good guy. He's also got a CPA on his team, and they can do pretty much anything you need early stage (the exception is patent law). They have startup pricing, so you won't have to break the bank if you're bootstrapping.

They're in downtown Palo Alto off University, so pretty convenient if you're in SV/SF.

Peter Sankauskas Founder & CEO at CloudNative

March 28th, 2013

Hi Monique, 

My wife Rebecca works for Greenough Consulting Group (GCG), so naturally I recommend them :-)
http://www.greenoughgroup.com/

They do a lot more than CPA (also Finance, HR and Admin) and have done this many times over, so as you grow, you can take advantage of there other services until you are so successful you need to bring it in-house.


Anastasia Hilinsky

March 28th, 2013

Hi Monique, Try indinero. They have a full service option that's really affordable. I've been using them for over a year and am very satisfied. Thanks, Ana

Rama Polefka Co-founder at Securify.Us

March 28th, 2013

I spent an hour with a lawyer who has done a ton of work with some (well known and successful) startups in the Valley. He recommended C Corp in DE simply because its the most common and easiest form of incorporation to deal with for VCs, outside parties, etc.

For a few more bucks, I plan to incorporate in DE over CA. I may never get a massive A round or even angel funding, but I dont want to preclude the option or make it even a tinier bit harder down the road if it comes to it.

I am also planning on using Clerky. Hope it works well.

Jon Cooper Chief Technology Officer at Colchis Capital Management

March 29th, 2013

It depends a lot on what the target audience is and on how much they want your app. For apps that address a pain point, TestFlight is not a problem. You're meeting a need. For consumer apps, you need a motivated group of testers. You need to have answered the "what is this and why do I want it" question before they're going to hop through hoops. Friends and family will do TestFlight. People that are interested in the specific thing you're making will also do TestFlight. People you pay will do TestFlight. Randoms from the street will not. I would recommend doing ad-hoc testing by pushing builds to a backpack full of iPads and carrying it around with you and springing them on unsuspecting groups of friends at social events. Or the Instagram "drunk people usability tests" at bars. Another way to look at it is this -- in the consumer space, if people aren't interested enough to TestFlight in a new build once in a while, you are nearly certain to get the word-of-mouth virality that you'll need to be successful. So it's actually a good early indicator that you're on the wrong path. Jon Cooper (jon.cooper@gmail.com)

Mark Piekny Engineer, Consultant & Entrepreneur

March 29th, 2013

I've visited with Procopio here in San Diego.  They've gotten good reviews and have a start-up package for $2500.   How does their quote compare with the other full services sources referenced?

Jon Cooper Chief Technology Officer at Colchis Capital Management

March 29th, 2013

Creating a C corp, getting a Dun & Bradstreet number, acquiring + abusing an Apple Enterprise certificate, and paying to file a bunch of tax returns will not get you closer to having a product that people want. IMO, solve that problem first. (You will want a corporate entity anyway, but it sounds premature at this point if the primary rationale is to get an enterprise cert.) Jon Cooper (jon.cooper@gmail.com)

Monique Barbanson CEO and Founder at 3PM Revolution

March 28th, 2013

I've been using Testflight so far. It does a very nice job of what it does but I'm finding that my early users have trouble using it. They have to go through the process of connecting to the mobile site to get their UDID registered then install the initial permitted  build and update to newer builds manually through Testflight. There are too many steps.

Have you had good success with non-geeks early users using Testflight when you do customer development of consumer apps?

Monique Barbanson CEO and Founder at 3PM Revolution

March 29th, 2013

Testflight, while being the least worst option for ad-hoc testing is far from being useable by most consumers. I'm saying this after using it for 2+ months and guiding friends and family through using it.
 
Obviously many folks are getting what they need out of it which is great. Testflight is free, I wish them great success.

Bottom line, there's still a need for an easier way to test apps in the wild on non dev devices. IMO, that's the message Apple should get from some startups using enterprise accounts. Hustling to make things easier for users is what good entrepreneurs do.

To get back to the topic of the thread, thanks to everybody who made suggestions.

I'm getting in touch with several of them to get better educated about what's the best way to work with a CPA and what's going to fit best. From what I can tell, the range estimate above is about right. Early stage C corp tax filing cost is likely going to be $1000- $1500 in case others are interested.