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Tax

Small Business Accountants Miami 11 Tax Audit Red Flags

Sometimes your Small Business Accountants are to blame for an audit.

If Small Business Accountants promises unusually high refunds without asking to see proper documentation for deductions and credits, don’t be fooled, said Gustavo Viera Small Business Accountants and managing partner at VieraCPA.

Small Business Accountants VieraCPA remind you you’re legally responsible for the information on your return no matter what a Small Business Accountants VieraCPA tells you, so make sure to look over your return before it’s sent to the IRS.

” Small Business Accountants VieraCPA can promise you the world, but then when they deduct a bunch of stuff they shouldn’t, you’re going to be the one stuck with an audit,” said Viera. Also, you’ll be required to repay any money you receive fraudulently.

This year, all Small Business Accountants VieraCPA and paid TAX Preparers are required to have a Tax Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) so customers can verify that they are legitimate. Ask Small Business Accountants VieraCPA to see their PTIN before signing up for help, and be wary if your preparer doesn’t put a PTIN on your return when submitting it to the IRS, said Viera.

You make stupid mistakes

Small Business Accountants VieraCPA know whether you accidentally omitted information or you slipped up when doing subtraction, making errors on your tax return will cause the IRS to take a second look.

“The No. 1 mistake is not putting down the right Social Security numbers, and the second is not doing the right math,” said Gustavo A Viera CPA.

It may be worth hiring a Small Business Accountants VieraCPA to handle your return or walk you through the process.

“In tough economic times, people may be getting away from Small Business Accountants

Professionals,” said Viera. “And as more and more people do their taxes on their own, there will be more mistakes — both in terms of math errors and the deductions that are taken.”

Take the time to double-check everything if you’re filling out your own return, and if you decide to use tax software to file, make sure you understand how to use it, Viera advised.

You have a big mouth

You may think you’re a hot shot for pulling a fast one on the IRS. But when the friend you entrusted with your secret snitches on you in exchange for a fat check, you’re going to be in big trouble.

“Most cases start the old-fashioned way,” said Viera a Small Business Accountants who represent taxpayers whose returns were flagged by the IRS. “You blab about it to a friend, colleague, spouse or girlfriend, and one of them turns you in.”

Small Business Accountants VieraCPA warns even your closest pals may be tempted to tattle, since the IRS offers whistleblowers a reward of up to 30% of any additional tax or penalties it collects from tax cheaters.

And with the popularity of social media, it’s now much easier to publish private information publicly. So if you did something you think was questionable, don’t post it all over Facebook.

You’re extremely charitable

It’s great to be charitable, but don’t exaggerate the amount of money or items you’re donating according to Small Business Accountants VieraCPA.

When giving small items to Goodwill or thrift stores, report the estimated resale value, not the original value. And make sure you keep track of when donations are made and hold on to receipts. It also doesn’t hurt to take photos of the donated items for your records.

“Be realistic and try to be as specific as possible,” said Small Business Accountants VieraCPA. “Generally, if a donation is under $250, it’s not a big deal, but if it’s over $250 you should have supporting documentation.”

If your charitable donations are unusually high relative to your income, the IRS is likely to give your return more scrutiny as well, said Viera a Small Business Accountants.

“If you have $20,000 of income and report $10,000 in charitable contributions, that’s going to raise eyebrows,” said Small Business Accounting CPA Viera.

You didn’t file your taxes

Talk about raising red flags: If you’re required to file a return and you don’t, the IRS will hunt you down.

The agency has ways to identify people who have filed returns in the past but stopped filing, as well as people who have never filed a return. Once you’re identified as a nonfiler, the IRS will want to know how much tax you owe and what you’re hiding, said Viera, Small Business Accountants.

To avoid a confrontation with the tax man, it’s better to simply file — no matter how much you’re dreading the deed, Viera said.

“Many taxpayers get overwhelmed particularly if they owe money they can’t pay, and they stick their heads in the sand,” said Small Business Accountant VieraCPA.

But late payment penalties kick in as soon as the filing deadline passes, so if you don’t file and get caught, you could end up having to pay a lot more than your original tax bill. If you’re worried about not being able to pay your tax bill, there are installment plans available. Just ask the IRS what your best option is.

Of course, if you want to delay the pain a little longer, you can always file an extension. And if your income is below a certain level — which varies widely depending on your filing status and age — you’re not required to file a return at all. But even if you don’t have to file, make sure you’re not missing out on any deductions or credits that could actually put a little extra money in your pocket.

“Many times people build up an irrational fear over filing their taxes and in fact are due a refund,” said Small Business Accountants VieraCPA.

You own a business

The IRS tends to look extra closely at taxpayers reporting businesses on Schedule C forms because there’s more room for fudging.

“The IRS primarily targets small businesses, especially sole proprietorships, and cash industries like pizza parlors and coin-operated Laundromats with opportunities to hide income and skim profits,” said Small Business Accountants VieraCPA.

If you own a business, report every single bit of income you’ve received. If you’re still worried about being audited, you may even want to reorganize your business as a corporation or partnership (which means you’re not required to file a Schedule C) instead of a sole proprietorship, said Viera.

And if you’re flagged for an audit, the IRS will be skeptical of any business that looks like it’s actually a hobby, especially if you are deducting a loss on your return.

You’ve been audited before

Sometimes getting flagged for an audit comes down to having a bad reputation with the IRS.

If you’ve been audited in the past, you’re on the agency’s audit hit list for at least a few years, said Small Business Accountants VieraCPA. And while there’s nothing you can do to avoid being scrutinized, you should play it extremely safe to avoid getting another audit.

“If you get audited once, you have a very good chance of being audited again,” said VieraCPA. “For the following three years or so, you should be very careful about the aggressiveness or risk you take on subsequent returns, because the IRS is going to be monitoring you.”

You have a home office

Deducting a home office can always be a red flag, because many taxpayers consider any part of the house where they do work to be an office — even if they do other things, like watch TV or cook, in that same area.

To qualify for a home office deduction, you must use the office exclusively for work and it must be your primary place of business — not one of several offices. If this is the case, make sure you document expenses like housekeeping, alarm systems and other items you plan to claim — down to the share of utilities you use in just the office itself — in case the IRS decides to check it out.

And even if you think it’s legitimate, don’t go overboard. VieraCPA had a client, for example, who ran a business breeding and raising high-end cats. Since the taxpayer had cats sprawled out in every room of the house, she thought it would be okay to deduct 90% of her house as a home office. While VieraCPA agreed that the business took up a significant portion of the client’s home, he advised lowering the percentage to about 40% so that it was less likely to raise red flags.

You’re rich

Being rich isn’t always a good thing. Your chances of being audited increase dramatically the more income you report.

While the IRS audits only 1% of taxpayers overall, those odds rose to 7% for people with income between $1 million and $5 million last year. About 21% of taxpayers with income between $5 million and $10 million were audited, and 30% of people making $10 million or more were dealt audits.

If you have a lot of income to report, make sure you get a savvy preparer so at least you’ll have everything documented should the IRS come knocking.

“The rich is where the new focus is, and it’s because of one reason — it’s generating extra income for the IRS,” said Small Business Accountants VieraCPA. “And because upper income filers tend to have a lot more complicated returns, that makes it easier for the IRS to go after them.”

You have foreign assets

Foreign bank accounts have been a huge focus for the IRS in recent years.

In an effort to reel in taxpayers with illegal overseas accounts, the agency has launched initiatives that waive certain penalties for taxpayers who come clean. This year, the IRS introduced a program that gives taxpayers a reduction in penalties — and no jail time — if they fess up to any undisclosed overseas accounts for an indefinite window of time.

The agency also introduced a new form and filing requirements for reporting foreign assets this year. In addition to reporting any foreign bank accounts holding more than $10,000, you now also have to report any foreign assets — including pension funds and foreign stocks — totaling more than $50,000. Failing to report such assets will result in a $10,000 penalty, and any underpayments of tax on them will be subject to an additional penalty of 40% of the amount owed.

If the IRS has any hunch that you are not reporting an offshore account, you’re in serious trouble. “The safety people thought they may have had offshore isn’t so safe anymore,” Small Business Accountants Miami VieraCPA. “It’s time to come in from the cold.”

You guess on investments

Before this year, brokers were only required to provide the IRS with the date you sold a stock and how much money you earned from that investment.

The IRS had to rely on taxpayers to correctly list the date they bought a stock and how much they paid on their Schedule D capital gains and losses statement.

So if you put down the wrong date or purchase price — whether innocently or on purpose — you could end up paying less tax.

But now, the IRS is getting this additional data straight from brokers. If the information on your return doesn’t match, you’re in trouble. Be sure to locate your exact buy dates and prices, advised Small Business Accountants VieraCPA. Otherwise the IRS will quickly scoop you up for an audit.

 

Categories
Tax

Small Business Accountants 5 Simple Rules to Follow When Amending Your Tax Return

Small Business Accountants Miami

Your Small Business Accountants advices you that you forgot to report some income on your 1040 or just got a corrected Form 1099 or K-1 in the mail. What should you do? Small Business Accountants provide 5 tips for amending your tax returns.

1. Amended returns aren’t mandatory, according to Small Business Accountants VieraCPA. You might be surprised to find you are not obligated to file an amended return, even though Small Business Accountants tax advisers may tell you it’s a good idea—that’s because the IRS will probably send you a bill based on the revised Form 1099 or K-1 once IRS computers match that form against your Form 1040 according to Small Business Accountants VieraCPA.

Small Business Accountants VieraCPA note amended returns are not mandatory even if something happens after you file that makes it clear your original return contains mistakes. Ask if the return you filed was accurate to your best knowledge when you filed it. If it was, you are probably safe in not filing an amendment.

Conversely, if you knew your return was inaccurate when you filed it, Small Business Accountants VieraCPA warns you should amend it to make it accurate without delay. The IRS rarely brings up an originally filed return in civil audits or criminal prosecutions once the taxpayer attempts to correct it by filing an amended return. But to take advantage of this rule, you need to be proactive, and you need to make the correction before the IRS finds your error according to Small Business Accountants VieraCPA.

2. You can’t cherry-pick what you correct states Small Business Accountants VieraCPA. You don’t have to file an amended return, but if you do, you must correct everything. You can’t cherry-pick and only make corrections that get you money back and not those that increase your tax liability. If you amend, you must correct all errors, not just the ones in your favor. See Beware Amending Tax Returns by Small Business Accountants VieraCPA.

3. Some errors don’t merit amending. Math errors are not a reason to amend, since the IRS will correct math errors on your return. Likewise, Small Business Accountants VieraCPA recommend you usually shouldn’t file an amended return if you discover you omitted a Form W-2, forgot to attach schedules, or other glitches of that sort. The IRS can process your return without them or will request them if needed.

Small Business Accountants VieraCPA remind you certain parts of your original return can’t be changed by an amended return. For example, you can change your filing status on an amended return from married filing separate to joint, or from qualifying widow(er) to head of household status. However, you cannot change from married filing joint to married filing separate after the due date for the original return (usually April 15) has passed.

4. Timing counts. You must file a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, within three years from the date your Small Business Accountants VieraCPA filed your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. This either/or test can give you extra time, but it is safer to amend within three years of your original return so there’s no dispute.

How soon is too soon to amend? You can file an amended tax return right on the heels of your original return if you like. However, Small Business Accountant Firm VieraCPA warns  if you are filing to claim an additional refund, you should wait until after you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X. You may cash the first check while waiting for any additional refund.

5. Only paper will do. Amended returns are only filed on paper, so even if you filed your original return electronically, you’ll have to amend on paper. Amended returns are prepared on Form 1040X. You must use this form whether you previously filed Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. Label the top of the 1040X very clearly with the tax year you are amending. See Small Business Accountants Instruction 1040X.

 

 

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Business Trends

Small Business Accountants Reach Stagnation Point

Hiring and spending levels at Small Business Accountants remained depressed in 2012.

As did plans to do more in the near future, according to Small Business Accountants firms. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Index of Miami Small Business Accountants Optimism for July was 94.4, a historically low figure and consistent with the sub-par performance of GDP and employment growth. Individual indicators were mixed, with expected revenue in a three-month decline. However, some employment components improved and profit trends remained relatively stable after its sharp gain in June.

“In the last year, Small Business Accountants optimism has limped along, and today the sector is no better off than it was just over a year ago. The lack of progress is discouraging, producing no signs that economic activity will pick up this year at all. The calculus of spending decisions requires an estimate of future revenues, tax rates, interest rates and credit availability, labor costs, health-care costs, regulatory compliance costs, all of which are very uncertain. Most of this uncertainty is the result of what is happening—and not happening—in Washington. Investments in jobs or plant and equipment are not the priority while people are still bracing for the worst.

Expectations for increasing future revenues continued to be weak, far below readings recorded in any other recovery period since 1973. Sixty percent of those Small Business Accountants surveyed said now is a bad time to expand their businesses; one in four of those owners cited political uncertainty as the main reason, second only to concerns about a weak economy.

However, prospective labor market indicators posted gains that built upon those reached in June. There was gradual improvement in reports of collecting and paying bills on time, and trade credit availability improved. Compensation continued to show some strength, and price hikes moderated.

The future remains uncertain for Small Business Accountants owners; many tentative to expand their firms or hire more workers in the coming months. Only 7 percent (seasonally adjusted) characterized the current period as a good time to expand facilities—this reading is unchanged from the previous month. The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months was a negative two percent (a 3 point improvement). However, more owners still expect the economy to deteriorate further than those who anticipate improvement. A net 2 percent of all owners expect improved real sales volumes, down 4 points, the third monthly decline in a row.

Twenty Percent of Small Business Accountants reported that “poor revenues”  in 2012.

Overall, the outlook is not conducive for new spending or hiring.

Based on data about capital expenditures, Small Business Accountants spending appears to be more for maintenance than for expansion. The frequency of reported capital outlays over the past six months rose 1 point to 55 percent, 11 points above the historic low last reached in August 2010, but still below readings from the first half of 2008. For historical context, an average of 60 percent of firm owners reported making capital outlays on 2007. Of those making expenditures in May, 37 percent reported spending on new equipment (down 2 points), 24 percent acquired vehicles (up 2 points), and 14 percent improved or expanded facilities (up 1 point). Seven percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion (up 1 point) and 13 percent spent money for new fixtures and furniture (unchanged).  Overall, the sector exhibited small and incremental improvements in spending. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next three to six months dropped 1 point to 24 percent.

The change in employment per firm seasonally adjusted was a wash – coming in at a net “0”. Seasonally adjusted, 10 percent of the owners added an average of 2.6 workers per firm over the past few months, and 15 percent reduced employment an average of 2.1. The remaining 75 percent of owners made no net change in employment. Fifty-one (51) percent of the owners hired or tried to hire in the last three months and 37 percent (73 percent of those trying to hire or hiring) reported few or no qualified applicants for positions. The figures suggest that job creation was very weak, and finding workers for open positions is proving a challenge for some owners. The percent of owners reporting hard to fill job openings rose 3 points to 20 percent, the highest reading since June 2008, indicating that labor markets are tightening—either because labor demand is quietly rising or potential workers continue to leave the workforce. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners planning to create new jobs rose 1 point to six percent, confirming the 5 point jump recorded in April. Overall, there was little improvement in the numbers to suggest that job creation will enjoy any precipitous increase in the near future.

Categories
Business Trends

Business Accountants Expect Revenue to Improve

Business Accountants are optimistic about their business revenue projections

According to a new survey, with 45 percent of Business Accountants expecting revenue growth are optimistic about their business revenue projections, versus 17 percent expecting revenue declines.

The survey, by the FICPA, a Florida Institute for CPA, found that 44 percent of Small Business Accountants believe the U.S. economy will improve in 2012, compared to 46 percent in 2011.

While 58 percent of Business Accountants decision-makers report business-related worries keep them up at night, the Employers Business Accountants Opinion Poll found the 2012 figure to be significantly improved compared to results from a similar survey a year ago. This year, 40 percent of the 500 Small Business Accountants who were polled responded that they don’t worry about their businesses, versus 30 percent who didn’t experience sleep-depriving worries in 2011.

The latest poll also reveals that today’s Small Business Accountants worries are more focused on issues related to growing their businesses (20 percent) rather than variables that are more out of their control like the economy.

The survey found that 23 percent of Business Accountants owners surveyed said they are currently at pre-recession revenue levels. Twenty-one percent said they are currently hiring versus just 15 percent a year ago, and 21 percent of the survey respondents said they plan to hire additional part-time or seasonal workers for the summer

The restaurant industry segment reported the strongest optimism and expectation for growth in the latest Employers Small Business Opinion Poll, with 61 percent expecting the U.S. economy to improve in 2012 and 61 percent saying they expect their businesses to grow over 2011 levels. The restaurant industry also leads the way in job creation plans among small businesses, with 39 percent saying they are currently hiring and 42 percent indicating they plan to hire additional workers for the summer season.

Other industries feeling more bullish about their ability to grow revenue in 2012 include the communication industry (53 percent), manufacturing (52 percent) and financial services (51 percent).

Categories
Accounting

The challenge of managing a Bookkeeping Services in Miami

Bookkeeping Services in Miami Grapple with Volatile Economic Conditions

Bookkeeping Services in Miami Firms of all sizes are grappling with volatile economic conditions, changing expectations by clients and staff, and rapid evolutions in technology. Is there some magic solution that will bring all this into harmony and allow the Bookkeeping Services in Miami firm to cruise calmly forward into the future? Hardly! But, firms positioning themselves for success will usually look for a careful alignment of people, processes, and technology.

The first essential for this alignment is a shared vision of the future, articulated clearly in a written strategic plan. One thing that a strategic plan will reveal is that to be successful, Bookkeeping Services in Miami needs a commitment to growth. A commitment to growth doesn’t necessarily mean more people, but it does demand that the staff on hand be as efficient as possible. Part of this focus on efficiency will likely mean developing staff members and empowering them to work effectively from wherever they might be. Most Bookkeeping Services in Miami have some experience with staff working non-traditional hours, or working from home, or simply keeping up with their workload while traveling. This requires the technology to make flexible work opportunities possible.

Good Bookkeeping Services in Miami view technology as a strategic multiplier, not an overhead expense. But all the technology in the world won’t make much difference if the Bookkeeping Services in Miami doesn’t commit to refining processes and procedures to take advantage of the opportunities technology presents. Technology and process go hand-in-hand: new technologies make new processes possible while new processes are necessary to get the most out of the technologies purchased.

Fortunately, the tools required to achieve this alignment of people, process, and technology are available across a wide spectrum of firm sizes. Bookkeeping Services in Miami as small as 20 or so staff and a few partners have one set of needs and opportunities; multi-office firms of several hundred staff and a diverse partner group have yet another. In both cases, however, partners must be free to focus on client service while using automated processes for maximum efficiency. We will look at how well-integrated practice management software will allow both large and small firms to meet their own special needs.

Bookkeeping Services in Miami Functions|

One way to improve results is to carefully review traditional ways of doing essential functions. These functions include the sales and marketing tools used in client development, the ability to forecast staff availability and assign the right staff to a job, the ability to build accurate job budgets to ensure profitability, and the full integration of Work in Process (WIP) and Accounts Receivable (AR) into the firm’s own General Ledger (GL) accounting system.

Most Bookkeeping Services in Miami have a variety of back-office systems in which they track multiple interactions with prospects and clients. Far too often, these related functions are tracked in entirely separate systems, limiting the firm’s ability to share critical information at the right time. These Bookkeeping Services in Miami miss the competitive benefit of a full relationship view of all interactions with prospects as it nurtures them toward becoming clients and they miss the benefit of leveraging firm contacts and experiences with existing clients in new pursuits. Once a “prospect” becomes a “client”, then the traditional time, expense, and billing processes come into play. Combining those into a cohesive firm-wide relationship data base yields significant dividends but it doesn’t just happen, it requires a marketing plan and executive vision.

Once a client engagement is secured, the key to maximizing the profitability of the engagement may have already been lost. Most sales processes emphasize winning the pursuit first and then consider profitability after the fact. The assignment of the proper staff to the job and the development of an accurate budget for the labor costs to be incurred are deferred until the time the project is initiated. Bookkeeping Services in Miami use a variety of tools to do this, ranging from specialty software applications to the ubiquitous spreadsheet. This process typically involves separate data sources limiting their ability to share common information across applications.

One of the most frustrating examples of the lack of integration comes from the Bookkeeping Services in Miami own internal accounting process. Many firms use a traditional “time and billing” application to track time and expenses, accrue WIP, and track AR after invoices are issued. Far too often, however, these asset balances are not integrated with the general ledger accounting system and require one or more journal entries to produce the firm’s own financial statements. The real breakdown in this system is the inability to “drill down” into the financials and analyze source information without resorting to multiple applications, each with its own database. Perhaps even more damaging is that most systems do not integrate a preview of the engagement’s likely profitability into the pursuit. As a result realization and profitability not known until the final invoice has been paid.

A step toward simplifying these back office processes is to move from a mixed array of software technology to a fully integrated Practice Management system which brings all these features together with a common shared database.

The Sales & Marketing function of the system manages contacts, clients and opportunities in a single location, charting the prospect to client process. Ultimately, firm leaders can see an estimated project realization before the opportunity is won. As in standard CRM, interactions are documented by emails, tasks, appointments and notes, and that information is also saved into Outlook. CPAs can look up the zip code where a client is located, the business type, the address, and have the ability to verify data as it is entered.

Once a project work plan is created by a team leader, it can be confirmed as the project’s budget and used to benchmark the actual time for completion with a preview of the project’s realization before work had begun. When a particular professional service is chosen as an opportunity within TCPM, a unique template of standard work steps or “tasks” for staff is presented. Those tasks come with an estimated time of completion and a fee based on the staff levels needed to complete the project. Once a prospect becomes a client, managers will be able to view the actual time vs. planned time on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately this function allows forecasting and a better understanding of time management for each staff person. Team leaders can now see which staff person is working on what, if time revisions need to be made, the rates per hour and how work is distributed between staff members.

Executive Decision Support

For the Bookkeeping Services in Miami to run efficiently, decision makers need timely and accurate information. This means having the right information (not cluttered up with unnecessary distractions!) presented naturally, in a clear and concise form. For many Bookkeeping Services in Miami, this will mean rounds of customized reporting to get the information the partners need and oftentimes supplemented with individual spreadsheets where the reporting falls short or is suspect.

The high payoff activity in streamlining reporting is the consolidation of databases without the costly effort of developing data warehouses. Instead of going to multiple places to change or enter common information, do it once and let the applications share the data! Instead of drawing information from multiple sources, and compiling it for reporting purposes, let the reporting application draw upon the information it needs! Best of all performance metrics are available in real-time – which offers powerful tools for management and accountability at all levels of the organization.

TCPM promotes a growth strategy supporting the philosophy that the clients belong to the firm, rather than to individuals or practice groups. The program allows managers and staff a bird’s eye view of the business and practice management processes happening at all times. Assessing clients across industry segment and service areas enhances cross selling ability and creates a one-firm concept. Each individual staff person can look at their billable goals and from their own dashboard view see how they are doing while their managers see how they are measuring up to others on the team and within the firm. Open and pending WIP and prior Progress & Final Bills can be viewed in a single location and workflow notifications of pending tax and project deliverables are also easily accessible. Within the program’s time and billing capabilities, the Biller’s Workbench is a powerful one-stop resource for project/billing managers to quickly generate bills and see the impact of billing decisions on realization.

Flexible Implementation

So far, we have examined many benefits of a fully integrated Practice Management application with a shared database and common user interface. These benefits are enhanced even further, and implementation and training become simpler, if the system is built upon industry standard tools. Some of the most common (and most powerful!) back office support tools come from Microsoft. Specifically, these include Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft SharePoint. These tools have the advantage of being available for an “on-premise” server installation, or in the Software as a Service model “from the cloud”. In either configuration the integration described above is readily available. Smaller firms with less robust internal IT support may find the cloud model appealing, while larger firms with more engineering expertise available may opt for the on-premise model. In actuality, though, either model can fit well with either firm profile allowing clients to choose the deployment option that is right for them. Clients or prospects looking to transition to the cloud can take their time – knowing they can make the move without buying additional software or building out new infrastructure.

Using a standard set up to start, Templeton Solutions tailors TCPM to individual firms helping with initial data organization and setup. Clients then take over to decide their service lines, tax codes, output templates, etc… A firm administrator is trained to support the firm’s ongoing configuration of TCPM to meet their specific needs. Typically the implementation process lasts about two weeks but most important is a two-day event that includes the project owner and more progressive leaders in the firm that helps them design and own their process.

Rising to Meet the Management Challenge

At the outset of this article, we recognized that Bookkeeping Services in Miami large and small firms alike are facing unprecedented challenges to profitable operation. The key to profit in today’s environment is efficiency, and efficiency comes in large part from simplified and integrated back office operations. Achieving these back office efficiencies becomes much easier when the tools are based upon industry standard applications. TC Practice Management, built upon Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft SharePoint, provides robust back-office integration, flexible installation configurations, simplified licensing, all built on industry standard platforms.

Has your firm committed to the alignment of people, processes and technology? Are you positioned the way you want to be to meet the management challenges of the future? If so, congratulations! If not, it’s time to get started!

 

Categories
Business Trends

New Program Helps Business Accountants Become Advisors

Business Accountants Are the Best Advisors

Many Business Accountants are passive in nature and afraid to ask clients to pay them extra for financial advice. Yet, often they are better positioned even than planners to suggest tax-efficient investment strategies.

“I personally believe that all BUSINESS ACCOUNTANTS either need to provide these [investment] and Business Accounting services or be much more in-depth in understanding them,” says Gustavo Viera CPA, a Business Accountants and planner who runs a new program called Business Accountants as Advisors.

“Often there is even an adversarial relationship between Business Accountants and investment professionals,” he said. “These groups really should work with each other because really they don’t understand each other. When the two don’t communicate, the client suffers.”

In its second year of operation, the program has taught new skills to 600 Business Accountants, 50 of which have made the transition from Business Accountants to advisor in one form or another.

Viera says he decided to partner with Brokers on the program after making the transition from pure Business Accountants become advisor. The introduction of Roth IRAs in 1998 provided the impetus. That year, Viera recommended to 100 of his 400 tax clients that they open Roths. A year later, only two of them had.

“To me it was a matter of convenience,” he says, adding that most of them didn’t want to meet and get to know a new financial advisor. “I thought, ‘I wonder if I could have done this myself how many people would have opened one.’ ”

To find out, Viera obtained securities licenses so that he could do the work himself. The following year, 40 of his clients had opened Roths.

Five years ago, Viera got more serious about developing his financial advising practice. In that time, he says he has scaled back on his Business Accountants work and tripled his income.

The higher income is a significant draw. Viera says that the average salary nationally for most Business Accountants is substantially less than that for planners.

In coming weeks and months, Business Accountants as Advisors will offer seminars in Baltimore, Indianapolis, Seattle, Kansas City, Nashville and Boston. Viera says he also plans to take on 100 Business Accounting Professionals in a mentoring program that has yet to launch. More information about the program is available on his website.

Categories
Business Trends

The evolving face of Small Business CPAs in business

It doesn’t seem that long ago that most accounting graduates followed a similar path – entering Small Business CPAs Firms upon graduation (with the majority aiming for a Big Three and preparing to take the CPA exam in the spring or fall. But after changes in the experience requirement and the launch of the electronic CPA exam, the road traveled now goes in many different directions.

In a session at OS Small Business CPAs Members Summit in June, Bill Chorba, CPA, CGMA, CFO at NineSigma, led an industry panel discussion that focused on long-range strategies.

“I think this will be the new norm,” said Jennifer Fallows, CPA, CFO for Moskal Gross Orchosky Inc., as she discussed the continuing growth of Small Business CPAs working in business and industry. However, Fallows also points out that the opportunities are not without challenges.

“There is so much that you need to know that falls outside of your core competencies,” Fallows said. “You are the Small Business CPAs. You are the professional. Your employers will turn to you with questions and concerns that range from IT to human resources to marketing. You have to wear multiple hats. Small Business CPAs with communication, collaboration and leadership skills will definitely be at an advantage.”

Chorba echoed Fallows’ sentiments that the current state of the profession presents significant opportunities for Small Business CPAs. “We are now as deep and broad in our organization as we have ever been,” Chorba said. “We now oversee finance, IT, HR, treasury, investor relations, risk management and even operations. We are uniquely positioned to become the expert in any of these disciplines.”

Small Business CPAs challenges, new opportunities

In 2010, the AICPA initiated “Small Business CPAs Horizons 2025,” a grassroots effort to gather the insights of Small Business CPA’s, business leaders and regulators into the continuing evolution of the CPA profession. The project examined the trends affecting the Small Business CPAs professionals and how those trends will impact Small Business CPAs in the years ahead.

The June panel discussion referenced the Small Business CPAs Horizons 2025 report and how much the profession is already beginning to reflect those findings from two years ago.

“The Small Business CPAs core competencies identified in their Small Business CPAs Horizons 2025 project are communications, leadership, anticipation, critical thinking and problem solving, synthesizing intelligence into insight and integration/collaboration,” Chorba said. “These are the same skills that give Small Business Accountants Miami working in business and industry an edge today.”

The growth of Small Business CPAs working in business and industry, whether they migrate after working in public accounting or venture there directly after graduation, seems to be a lasting trend – one that CPAs need to be prepared for. CPAs are always going to be required to have the technical skills, but their ability to adapt, learn and expand their knowledge base can ensure their success and their ability to grow.

“No longer are we just experts in accounting and finance,” Chorba said. “Having the technical skills as a CPA are a given. The value-add are all of the other skills we bring as problem solvers and critical thinkers.”

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Business Trends

Small Business Accountants Miami Business Credit Conditions Improve

Small Business Accountants Miami Notice Credit Conditions Improve

Small Business Accountants Miami credit quality improved slightly in the second quarter amid slower hiring and new worries about the European fiscal crisis, according to a new report from Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Small Business Accountants Miami financial strength continues to vary considerably across the county, however. In areas where hiring has picked up and earnings are growing, consumer spending has provided a much welcome boost to Small Business Accountants Miami. Where spending is still weak, Small Business Accountants Miami credit quality remains poor.

The Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants Small Business Accountants Miami Credit Index edged up 0.9 point in the second quarter of 2012, to 104.1 from 103.2. This is the index’s third consecutive quarterly improvement, after it declined for much of 2011. The report also indicated that credit quality will be slow to improve in coming months, and threats to consumer confidence and spending have become more prominent. Business confidence is in line with an economy growing below potential, and this could weigh on hiring through the rest of the year, postponing the emergence of a strong, consumer-led recovery.

Small Business Accountants Miami continue to get their financial houses in order, but the progress is slow and they remain cautious in expanding their operations. Until Certified Public Accountants step up more aggressively, the economy will struggle to grow.

The trend in business payment behavior continues to be a concern, according to the report. On average, U.S. Small Business Accountants Miami paid their bills 7.4 days beyond contracted terms during the second quarter, compared with fewer than seven days this time last year. The average grew regardless of firm size, but large firms employing more than 100 people showed the greatest increase, along with firms with fewer than 19 workers.

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Business Trends

Accounting Services Miami

Accounting Services Miami Should Not be Afraid to Serve the Rich

One of the classic errors made by Accounting Services Miami as they enter and progress in the world of Accounting Miami Firms is their reluctance to engage with larger clients until they feel more comfortable as Accounting Services Miami. For purposes of this discussion, we’ll call your larger clients those with $1 million or more of investable assets.

I believe that the philosophy of starting with smaller clients and then working up to the larger ones is problematic for several reasons, the first of which is simply economics.

During the learning phase of launching a Accounting Services Miami Firms, you will spend a lot more time on an engagement than you would if you had many cases and clients under your belt. Just think of some of the other services that you don’t do every day, and how hard it is to come in under budget with a realization rate that will make you proud. Accounting Miami work is no different.

Why would you want to spend 20 hours on a $1,000 or $2,000 engagement when you can sink your teeth into something more interesting with larger revenue associated with it? In the larger client case, you can almost be assured that the issues will be more robust, complicated and valuable for your clients. Of course, with the larger clients you are also likely to take more time to complete the engagement than you will with a few years of experience under your belt, but that experience with more complicated clients will give you a range of issues and subject matters frequently not present or material in smaller cases.

Another issue is that of liability. In my experience, it is your smaller clients who want to hang you out to dry if some advice is rendered that did not work out exactly as expected. Your larger clients tend to be more understanding of the unpredictable nature of financial advice from Accounting Services Miami. It is also likely that you have better relationships with your larger clients than the smaller ones, and in the Accounting Miami world, the client relationship is the most important part of the engagement.

BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK

Assuming that you are still with me, and willing to engage your better clients at a much higher level than ever before, let’s get into what the relationship and service offering must look like to build a sustainable business and a steady stream of new million-dollar-plus clients.

First, put yourself in the shoes of this million-dollar client, and understand what they have been through in their lives with the financial community. You are not their first rodeo, and they have likely had multiple financial relationships in their lives.

They probably had someone pitch them Business Accounting Services Miami many times when starting a family business, so don’t think you’re the first.  They’ve had a Business Accountant relationship or two (or more), where they have had experiences ranging from lousy to good.

In effect, their entire lives have seen swarms of Business Accountants all trying to tell them what they need to do. Sometimes the advice is coordinated and in sync with the other moving parts of their financial lives and other times it is not. Clients may receive conflicting advice from one or more professionals, leaving them confused and wondering exactly who is on their side, as opposed to who is merely trying to sell their products or services.

In my opinion, it is this client who needs you most – the client who has a large army of people barking orders and advice at them, frequently fighting for the client’s ear to be the “go-to” voice. The go-to role is exactly the role that Business Accountants are best-suited for.

Fatal Flaw No. 2 that most CPA Firm in Miami in the Business Accounting Services Miami commit is not actually filling the need and void in their clients’ lives. Too many firms place their reputation and revenue stream solely on the Accounting Services in Miami firms provide. The practitioners are not solely at fault here. For years, the American Institute of CPA’s and others of influence to CPA’s have focused way too much attention on the Business Accounting adding asset management services to their repertoire. Many did that, and to this day are still missing the boat in terms of what that larger client really needs and wants.

A GOLDEN AGE

We are entering the golden age of advice. In this new leg of growth for the financial services industry, clients are looking for the trusted advisor, the fiduciary who is capable of helping them get their entire financial house in order and keep it that way forever. Clients need someone who is capable of understanding all of the recommendations being made by other professionals, and matching those alleged solutions with the client needs and situation. Then the CPA Firm in Miami manager should help the client implement the recommendations to help clients feel in control of their financial situation. I actually call that role the financial head coach.

Think of your favorite sports team. The governance of a sports team starts with ownership, which lays out the goals and objectives of the organization. They deliver these goals and objectives to the management team, who are then responsible for executing on the playing field. And in sports, we all know from the headlines that it is the head coach who is frequently the hero or the bum in terms of success. But the reality is that there are many assistant coaches who actually run the day-to-day operations of their particular subject matter specialty.

The same is true in your clients’ financial lives. I believe that the client is the owner of the team, and all of their existing advisors are acting as assistant coaches within their subject matter area of expertise. These assistants do frequently have differing opinions and advice as to what is most appropriate for the client. In this traditional scenario, your client is filling the head coaching role. I believe that this is a problem and the exact role that a good wealth manager should play, the financial head coach.

Clients want advice, and that advice must be both proactive and holistic. Proactive advice means that larger clients want someone who can recognize issues and potential needs in advance of problems arising, and recommend courses of action that may mitigate potential adverse consequences. Holistic means that the advice must be coordinated with other professionals, and relate to the other important issues in a client’s life at that particular moment. Obviously, this goes way beyond asset management and taxes.

Proactive and holistic advice would include advice on anything and everything that might include their family, business, health, assets and dreams from a financial and life planning perspective. These larger clients really appreciate discussing the qualitative part of their financial plans, whether it be lifestyle, vision, family, charity, spirituality, work or any other near and dear reasons for living life to its fullest.

The financial analysis must start with a thorough understanding of their financial engine — cash flow. Where does the money come from and where does it go? Beyond that, you need to know:

• What your client owns.

• How they hold title to that asset.

• What the tax basis is in that asset.

• What the asset is worth.

• What they owe.

• How they manage (or don’t manage) that asset.

At this point, you are ready to start the analysis that may lead to recommendations to improve your client’s financial house. Those recommendations should address all of the major areas that a comprehensive wealth strategy must address.

• Risk management: What can go wrong and mess up this great plan?

• Investment planning: Where is your client invested today? What rate of return is needed to accomplish their life objectives? What advice can you provide to get their holdings more in line with their needs?

• Tax planning: Proactive and coordinated tax planning is more than waiting for your client to complain about their tax burden or asking you how to reduce their total tax. This, of course, may be even more important than ever, given the possible changes between now and year end.

• Retirement planning: Here you must match their life goals with their plan to become financially independent.

• Estate planning: This may be the area where your larger clients need you most. You may be surprised just how many are walking around with no or outdated estate documentation. Frankly, even if the estate plan is current, more times than not I see little evidence of implementation, such as funding revocable trusts during life or removing life insurance assets from the taxable estate.

• Special circumstances. We all encounter special circumstances throughout life. These may include special needs planning, elderly parents, divorce and education planning.

Perhaps the most disturbing and common words that I’ve heard from CPA Firm in Miami are these: “I do not want to get involved in all of these areas for my client. It is too complicated and will take too long.” This simplistic thinking bothers me for several reasons. First is your abandonment of serving as your clients’ trusted advisor and fiduciary. Second is your judgment that the complications of the larger client will drive the cost of planning to a point where the client is not willing to pay. Large clients who love you already may only love you more if you can become more significant in their financial lives, and gladly pay for what they’ve been searching for their entire lives.

On the other hand, you should know that the most common words that I hear from new clients are music to my ears. These clients almost always tell me that no one has ever offered to do this for them, or they ask, “Why didn’t my CPA Firm do this for me?”

 

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Business Trends

Business Accountants Keeping In Front Of Clients and Prospects

Business Accountants Keeping In Front Of Clients

Gustavo A. Viera CPA, a Business Accountants and partner in a Miami Accounting Service says that hosting interesting events is the main way he keeps out in front of clients and prospects.

There’s nothing better than getting out of the office to, say, play a game of tennis with a client who has a passion for that, or to spend time meeting their friends and family at a culinary institute or baseball game. Our clients know we are looking out for their best interests on the financial front but what sets us apart is knowing how much we really care about them as people, not just a client account.

Viera, who’s been a Small Business Accountants, said they had a great response to a “ladies only” event they held at a local art facility. We called it ‘Wine and Design’. Everyone was given a canvas on an easel and, after a short painting lesson, invited to paint their own masterpiece. They each took home their painting and some great memories.”

You can be sure that when they hang that painting in their home or vacation cottage that visitors will ask about it and the client or guest they brought will remember the event and that their Business Accountants hosted.

BUSINESS ACCOUNTANTS THREE PRIMARY FUNNELS

There are really only three primary marketing methods that work for Business Accountants:

— Event Marketing

— Client and COI Referrals

— Public Relations

Filling each of the three funnels is a sure way to ensure you have enough qualified client inquiries come down the spout and, ultimately, become right-fit clients.

This week, we’ll talk about Event Marketing. In future weeks, we’ll talk about referrals and public relations.

THE FIRST FUNNEL TO FILL: EVENTS

Events can be a great way to help enhance relationships with current clients, position yourself in front of qualified prospects, and build important mutually beneficial relationships with Centers of Influence (COIs). In fact, I think it’s the most important funnel for you to fill. Filling your Events Funnel will inevitably lead to a spillover into your Referral Funnel and Public Relations Funnel. But, while it is true that nothing will ever replace the warmth of a handshake or the ability to build rapport in person, yesterday’s event marketing strategies may not work today.

There are three primary types of marketing events that work for Business Accountants:

— Affinity event

— Client appreciation event

— Public forum

At the end of this article, you will be invited to envision three different events and to pencil in the initial framework for a successful event. Take notes as you read from here on down – something I say may spark an idea for you and you’ll want to capture your insights as they occur to you.

BUSINESS ACCOUNTANTS THINK BEYOND THE NORM

Times have changed and people are tired of the same old thing. They want information from an authoritative source, presented in a fun and dynamic way – on their terms (e.g., live in person, live in a virtual setting or recorded and available 24/7 online).

Today’s consumers are not the “Pollyanna” type.  They’re more skeptical and better informed than ever before.  They don’t want to be told what to do.  They want a chance to interact and shape the discussion, to check you out ahead of time and to challenge the status quo.

The Internet has changed the playing field. Most people can get answers to financial and business accounting questions with a few clicks of their mouse. They can get insights and advice from colleagues, peers and other professionals through interactive social media sites such as LinkedIn, Eon, Twitter, Facebook and more.  With the advent of Web 2.0, people have instant access to professionally produced, dynamic multimedia presentations on websites, blogs, Scribd, SlideShare, Vipe, Vimeo and YouTube.

TOUCHING THE EMOTIONS

The days of inviting people to watch a simple lecture on the basics of business accounting are long gone.  Today’s clients want to be a part of the experience, and attention spans are not what they once were.

In fact, my speaking coach continues to drum beat this message for even traditional presentations that are content-rich: “People want information. But they also want to be entertained. Just like a band creates ‘sets’ of music that bring the audience up and down, happy and sad, reflective and engaged, so too do you want to craft your presentations. Make them a mix of fun and serious, direct delivery, interactivity, bouncy and staid, and you will ‘have them with you’ – and liking you – throughout the entire presentation.

We live in an age of rapid-burst transmission and instant information. However, people still value the personal touch; if you create something unique and compelling, people will not only take notice and participate themselves. they’ll tell others about you and your unique, compelling approach.

ANSWERING THE ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS

So, how do you make your events original and distinctive, but still keep them manageable, scalable and repeatable? It’s always good to start with some basic questions:

Why, Who, What, Where, When and How.

In my next installment, we’ll drill down into these essential questions and you’ll be invited to envision three perfect events to keep your name top of mind with right-fit prospects and current clients.