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Accounting

What is a CPA?

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CPA

What is a CPA?

A Certified Public Accountant Miami or CPA Miami is a special type of accountant. Officially it’s the title of someone in the United States, who has passed the Uniform Certified Public Accounting Examination and has met some additional state education and experience requirements to get this certification. This test is grueling and requires upwards of 150 hours of special education and Accountant Miami complies and reports it’s CPE to the Florida Board of Accountancy.

But what does this mean to you as a small business owner in Miami. Do you need a Miami CPA or will a regular Miami Accountant or even a Miami Bookkeeper be sufficient for your business?

Most people use the term CPA and accountant interchangeably but there is a very big difference. The CPA designation carries a lot of weight within the financial community and certainly within the accounting profession.

Services Provided By Accountant Miami:

In public accounting, those accounting services provided to a business on a contract basis, a CPA attests (to a financial audit) and gives assurances that financial statements are reasonable and accurate and adhere to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). They also attest to the reasonableness of disclosures and that statements are free from “material misstatement”.

As a Miami Auditor, a CPA is required by professional standards and Federal and State laws to maintain independence from the entity for which they are conducting a financial audit and review, often called a Financial Audit.

Our Miami Consulting Service, advises companies on acceptable business practices and making recommendations on financial management. Typically these consultants do not work as auditors for a company at the same time they are acting as consultants.

As part of the certification, our Miami Accountants must complete 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every year to keep up with the new rules and regulations in the financial, accounting, and business world. This is proof of the high level of expectations of the accounting profession for a Certified Public Accountant in Miami.

Our Certified Public Accountant in Miami belongs to the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) with the goal of keeping up to date with the accounting community and taking continuing education classes. Of course tax laws change frequently and our Miami Accountants will spend time staying abreast of changes in financial areas. As a member of a local association they have access to the latest thinking and rules in the accounting area.

Why You Need A CPA

If for no other reason than Tax Planning it’s good to have the advice of a Tax Accountant. And as far as business management and financial advice access to a good Accountant in Miami is very desirable.

But does that mean you need a CPA?

In general you can assume that anyone who has taken the time to get certified as a CPA, and maintain that certification, is at the upper levels of the skill set, our Miami Accountants certainly are. It’s a clear credibility booster to be a CPA. If your business can afford the best than our CPA in Miami are worth the money.

But does that mean they are better than a typical accountant. Of course not. But it does indicate a level of commitment that is worth considering. Certainly if legal proceedings are required, the assurance of a CPA will hold more weight than a typical accountant. Again much depends on the reputation of the CPA in the community as well. Certainly an audit by a CPA has an implied level of credibility. Not to mention a non CPA cannot perform financial audits by law.

Our Miami CPA Firm does much more than financial audits these days. We provide consulting and overall financial planning not only for small and large businesses but also for estate planning, investments, and strategic planning.

So if you want to run your business at the highest level you certainly want to consider hiring a Certified Public Accountant like the ones at Accountant Miami.

 

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Accounting

How to choose a Miami Accounting Service

How to choose a Miami Accounting Service

Many Miami Accounting Service have now gone so far as to dip their toes into the shallow end of cloud computing, and many more are thinking about testing the waters. Other Miami Accounting Service have jumped into the cloud with both feet. But whether you’re wading in or fully immersed, properly vetting your Miami Accountant is essential.

Recent studies have found that even though many Miami Accounting Service are concerned about the security of their data in the cloud, a minority of Miami Accounting Service perform a comprehensive review of their cloud service providers before sealing the deal. Those who do lack the skill set necessary to truly understand the impact of information provided to them. This makes it hard to separate the “wheat from the chaff” in the various cloud offerings.

“Despite some of the concerns, Miami Accounting Service acknowledge that only 29 percent of the companies in the study said they engage in a heavy or comprehensive review of the Miami Accounting Service security practices,”

Our chief concern right now is that we see a lot of new Miami Accounting Service who are coming into the scene with almost lax attitudes toward how they construct and deliver services.

Miami Accounting Service Gustavo A Viera CPA explains that these service providers tend to fall into two camps: Miami Bookkeeping Services at the SMB end of the spectrum that market themselves as providers of end-to-end solutions but are actually resellers, or Miami Accounting Service that are aware of the standards established by CPA’s long before the term CPA was coined.

Viera says organizations considering a Miami Accounting Service should look for three things:

Trust. “They’ve got to trust them,” he says. “That comes through an affinity. You have to like the Miami Accounting Service and the principles and the people you’re going to be working with. It’s a very intimate relationship. There’s got to be a mutual respect and trust to work together.”

Technical expertise and understanding. The Miami Accounting Service have to be proficient with both its technology and understand your business. “They have to have an understanding of what you’re looking to do and match that up with their technical expertise,” Viera says. “If you’re a CFO of a bank and you need to outsource some strategic element of your accounting, your MSP needs to understand both banks and whatever it is that you’re going to outsource.”

A third-party compliance audit. Miami Accounting Service need to be able to show that they can live up to the promises they’re making. “This is a world where you go through more scrutiny and ongoing regulation to cut hair than you do to manage a corporation’s sensitive data and that of your end users,” Viera says. While he doesn’t believe more government oversight would be helpful in the Miami Accounting Service space, he does believe organizations should verify their providers’ capabilities with an audit.

So what should you expect in an audit? The Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers Uniform Standards for Miami Accountants. It looks for a Miami Accounting Service to comply with quality control objectives before issuing the accreditation.

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Tax

Accountant in Miami Devises Multiple Tax Planning Miami Scenarios Given Inaction by Congress

Accountant in Miami Devises Multiple Tax Planning Scenarios

Accountant in Miami are advising their clients to formulate more than one tax planning strategy that could be implemented at the end of the year depending on how and when lawmakers address expired and expiring tax law, Accountant in Miami Gustavo A Viera advised clients.

The need for a multipronged approach was created at the end of 2011 when Congress allowed the “patch” for the alternative minimum tax and dozens of so-called tax extenders to expire. The need intensified in April when Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman warned that the tax filing season could be a “real disaster” if Congress waits until December to act or if it has to act retroactively in early 2013.

Finally, according to Accountant in Miami VieraCPA, it reached a new level of urgency when Congress adjourned in early August for a five-week break without enacting any tax changes.

“We are looking at our clients’ year-ends on two different scenarios,” said Gustavo A. Viera CPA, managing partner in an Accountant in Miami with a Miami Consulting Service. “We are calculating what it would be based on the existing rules and what it would be based on what the new rules would be.”

If Congress fails to act, the number of middle-income households impacted by the AMT would jump from about 4 million to approximately 30 million. A failure to act also would mean that taxpayers could not claim extenders such as the research and development tax credit, the deduction for state and local taxes, and the allowance of tax-free distributions to charity from an Individual Retirement Arrangement held by someone age 70.5 or older.

But because Congress did not address AMT and extenders in 2011, it must now address them while dealing with a pending expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, including the estate tax and the reduced capital gains rate.

Gambling on the Best Deal

“Right now everybody is in a holding pattern,” said Viera, managing partner in an Accountant in Miami.

Viera agreed, but said he advises his upper-income clients not to sit by and wait for Congress to act because, like in 2010, it might not happen until the very end of December and they could be caught off guard. In 2010, IRS had to delay the filing season to mid-February for all but the easiest tax returns.

Viera said he and his clients are coming up with ideas and attaching trigger dates to them, such as the Thanksgiving holiday, for when they should choose which path to go down.

Some decisions are easier than others, however, particularly when it comes to capital gains. Beginning in January, individuals with an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married, filing jointly) will be subject to a 3.8 percent tax on some qualified unearned income such as capital gains. Also, absent congressional action, the 15 percent base capital gains rate would rise to 20 percent, which would jump further to 21.2 percent with the return of the so-called “Pease” provision.

Given the various scenarios, at a minimum, the capital gains rate will increase to 18.8 percent and at a maximum, it will increase to 25 percent. Some lawmakers have said the higher capital gains rate could result in a sell-off of appreciated assets by the end of 2012.

Viera sent his clients a letter at the start of August advising them that if they have capital gains on something they are considering selling, they should go ahead and sell it this year while the rate is still 15 percent.

More Time, Money Spent

Viera explained that clients must spend more money on financial planning and tax planning Miami advice because much more work has to go into their portfolio, as evidenced by Viera’s multiple scenario strategy.

But another consequence is that Accountant in Miami cannot bill and do not get paid until the tax return is filed. When the 2010 tax filing season was delay until mid-February 2011, he said he had corporate and individual tax returns stacked up waiting for the last-minute changes from Congress and then his firm essentially completed six weeks’ worth of labor costs without reimbursement.

Viera said clients are worried because they cannot make even simple tax planning decisions, which means they come to their practitioners, who need to spend more time on their year-end projects, which then costs the clients more money.

“Somebody in Washington really needs to step up and say ‘let’s get this done before the first Tuesday in November,’ but it’s not going to happen,” Viera lamented. There are currently eight scheduled work days in September for the House and Senate.

Viera urged Congress to come back and finish its work fast. “It’s not going to be any less painful next year, so just get it done,” he advised.

 

 

Categories
Accounting

The Changing Role of the Traditional Local Miami CPA Firm

A Miami CPA Firm Personal Perspective

Over the past 20 years I’ve seen the old, established, and familiar tools of the Miami CPA Firm nearly all become replaced.  In fact, other than the trusted 10-key printing calculator, and the over-sized coffee pot, most Miami CPA Firm are beginning to shift towards contemporary technology.

While most Miami CPA Firm prefer to be contacted by email, and dread the thought of a client requesting a printed copy of their tax return, almost all of our desks are full of brightly lit monitors displaying a myriad of data.  Although most of our familiar tools have been upgraded, we have continued to provide services based on a legacy business model.

For decades, the local Miami CPA Firm was a transactional-based business, only working when our clients brought us something to do. We prepared periodic financial statements, a year-end tax return, and perhaps random ad-hoc projects brought to us by the client throughout the year. We watched gradually as the client began to take billable time away from us as they began to pursue other alternatives.

The user friendliness of such software as QuickBooks and TurboTax made it a viable solution for companies looking to manage their own accounting, tax-preparation, and Accounting and Bookkeeping activities.  Firms were no longer on the forefront of each client’s financial information, but rather sidelined as clients began to assume the role that we once held.

While most Miami CPA Firm would view these revolutionary changes as a threat, my practice views them as an opportunity for business growth. Over the last several years, we have heavily invested in innovative technology and training to become the Miami CPA Firm of the future. The fierce competition has encouraged us to become more dedicated to improving work flows, accelerating change, and speeding up existing processes in order to improve client services and increase satisfaction.

We realize that while our clients might utilize the same accounting tools that we have, they do not have the essential training or expertise to be able to use the tools as effectively as we can. Additionally, they may not be able to translate exactly what the numbers mean, and validate whether the information is accurate. Therefore, they still require the assistance of a Miami CPA Firm, but in a different capacity.

The client’s initial motivation for pursuing accounting software was not to replace our expertise, but rather minimize the cost of busy work. When clients handed over their records, they did not know how many hours Miami CPA’s were performing for them, or understand all the crucial activities associated with preparing consolidated financial statements.  Helping our client’s understand the exact nature of the services Miami CPA Firm provide, became key to establishing a strong, long-term professional relationship.

In order for any Miami CPA Firm to flourish, it’s important that clients are provided with reliable, accurate, and timely information to effectively manage their businesses. If clients are no longer inclined to pay for traditional activities, because they have replaced such services by an implementation of accounting software, they may not have reliable, accurate, and timely information readily available to them. Armed with this knowledge, we decided to transform the working relationship with our business clients into a collaborative workforce with knowledge sharing.

Rather than strictly focusing on billable hours, we conformed to providing fixed value based arrangements unique to each client’s needs.  We designed four unique services that ranged from having a client completely outsource all their financial operations to our Miami CPA Firm, to a monthly on-site financial tune-up visit by one of our Miami CPA’s.

In establishing a fixed fee arrangement, the client knew the exact services that they were purchasing, what work was being performed for them, and at a price they could predictably budget for. Likewise, our office gained two advantages.  First, we gained predictable cash flow. It was no longer a guessing game to predict how many hours we would be able to bill for. Secondly, we were able to treat the relationship like a business.  It became our responsibility to maximize the profitability of the relationship by working effectively with each client.

We found that the more effectively we worked, the higher the return on the client, and the longer the relationship would last. This strategy did not occur overnight and took a significant amount of time to implement.  Through strategic acquisitions, smart leadership, and effective communication we were able to help our Miami Accounting Firm grow in an otherwise stagnate economy.

To continue to help our business grow, we look for clients that have a need for an Miami Accountant, and have a positive cash flow. If they are a good fit for our Miami CPA Firm, we perform a needs based assessment to determine the type of services that will best benefit them, and establish a fixed fee to accommodate for our services. Through specialization, deliberation, and lucrative measures, our firm will customize its services specifically to meet each client’s needs.

The ideal client is a business that is an emerging, small, or medium company with variable workloads. At times the client may require the expertise of a Miami Accountant, controller or CFO, but not on a full-time basis.  Our Miami CPA Firm is able to provide those services on a part-time, or as-needed basis at a lower cost than the client would traditionally pay to hire a full-time accounting staff to do. This benefits the client in that they can lower costs, increase profits, and can focus on the core competencies of their business, while maintaining an established relationship with a financial expert who is also looking to help their business grow.

Over the next three articles, I will outline the various levels of outsourced CFO services and describe how to successfully implement it to become one of the most prosperous aspects of your firm.

The next article will discuss the technology, training and infrastructure that our firm has begun to employ.  Subsequent articles will primarily focus on the various types of fee-based arrangements and how to determine the right type of working relationship to maintain with a client.

My goals are to give you an in-depth analysis of these arrangements, as well as exemplify how these services can be mutually beneficial to the client and the firm alike.