I am a CPA; so I will comment.
I had to have 5 years of education before sitting for the exam, which was a total of 14 hours. It covers tax but also goes into business law, economics etc. Then I had to work for a CPA for at least a year before I actually got my license. So, long process and not easy. By the way the pass rate on that exam is very low, possibly lower than even the Bar exam.
Many CPAs do not understand the value they provide. To some extent, that includes me. You are paying for my knowledge and years of education, experience and guidance. I don't give that away for free. Given how many people have taken advantage of it, I definitely have gotten more careful over the years as to how I set up Engagement Letters and agreements.
On that note, unless a client hires me on retainer for the entire year, I don't "check" on them. My time is important and yes, if you would like to pay for that time, I will bust my behind to ensure you get the right answer.
Now let's talk about the right answer. The right answer isn't what you can research and find in the Tax law or even on the Internet. It takes years of education, experience and understanding of common practices to get to the right answer. A bookkeeper cannot do this. To some extent, neither can Enrolled Agents (EAs). EAs can do everything CPAs can insofar as taxes but they do not possess the level of education and experience (combined) that CPAs possess.
Don't get me started on Bookkeepers. There are some excellent ones, but their job is to basically take numbers and put them into buckets. As far as which bucket it goes in and what the tax implications are of those buckets, they typically will not tell you. If they do tell you, I would suggest you not listen to them. I think a good Bookkeeper is a necessity for companies, BUT do not think they are tax experts or even Accountants (who have a degree but may not be CPAs). They are the paralegals of the CPA profession. Nothing more, nothing less.
As far as rates, I am extremely careful on how I price clients. If they pay me a monthly fee, they get a LOT more than if they hire me by the hour. If they buy an hour of my time, I cannot provide the momentum that comes from prior knowledge and files on the client. Retaining a CPA is infinitely better if you are trying to grow a business. I offer S Corporation "packages" to clients who are at that level and carefully walk them through the process to ensure they comply with the tax laws and save tons of money on their taxes.
As far as political views go, I know some of you guys are adamant that the CPA has to be conservative in their politics. That's fine but that's not how our profession works. Trying to "find" a libertarian or conservative is a horrible idea. You need to find a CPA that will save you the most money on your taxes and understands the tax law on paper and in practice. Experience matters 50x more than politics.
Do with this what you will. I'll pop in here and there and am happy to offer general advice and directional advice for free if I find the time.