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Friday, September 19, 2014

Getting Audited? First Rule: Don't Panic!

Dread. Anxiety. Fear. It happens. Immediately upon learning you've been targeted for an audit, the first thing to do is not panic! Look over the notice carefully. Take deep breaths. Often, the IRS is just questioning one deduction that appears unusual to them.

Even if the matter appears simple, there are pitfalls that can trip up even the most careful taxpayer. Although the standard substantiation requirement for any deduction is a proof of payment combined with evidence that the payment was for an allowable deduction, there are special circumstances, such as automobile use deductions that have extra substantiation requirements.

In addition, the 1993 Clinton tax reform act added a new type of substantiation requirement for charitable deductions over $250 in which you must have substantiation of the deduction in your possession before the date of your tax return.


To read full article, click here.

Source: Narine Harootoonian (www.linkedin.com)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Accounting Businesses Top List Of Money-Making Industries

Few people know better than accountants what goes into a company’s bottom line. So it’s not too surprising that accounting and related fields top the list of the most profitable industries in the U.S.

Sageworks, a financial information company, recently found that accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services (NAICS 5412) generated more profit per dollar of sales, on average, than other U.S. industries, according to a financial statement analysis for the 12 months ended July 1. Collectively, the accounting-related industries had an average net profit margin of 19.8 percent, which is more than double the average net profit margin for privately held companies overall.

Also at the top of the list of money-making industries were legal services (NAICS 5411), oil and gas extraction (NAICS 2111), and the rental or leasing of commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (NAICS 5324). Offices of dentists (NAICS 6212) rounded out the top five on the list of 15 most profitable industries, according to the financial statement analysis.


To read full article, click here.

Source: Mary Ellen Biery (www.forbes.com)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How to Create $100,000 of New Billings in One Hour

It is a constant battle: CPA vs. marketer, CPAs vs. development of a “sphere of influence,” CPAs vs. the “30-second elevator pitch,” CPAs vs. networking events. And the ultimate three-way battle of CPA vs. billable hour vs. business development.

But in reality, CPAs in public practice do not have work unless somebody brings it to them. Expert technical skills sit idle if the expert fails to draw business by showcasing skills. It’s a tit-for-tat battle of “what comes first, the chicken or the egg.”

CPAs will rarely go out and sell their expertise like insurance salesmen. And I am not suggesting that you do go out and become an accounting salesman. It’s just not the way most CPAs are built and fails to ensure that the client receives an independent viewpoint rather than another product on their shelf. So rather than going around in circles and tripping over one another in attempting to develop relationships, hitting up the networking scene, and standing in front of the mirror practicing your elevator speech, try a new direction. Below are the five steps you need to take in order to create $100,000 (or more) of new billings and can easily be completed in one hour! (As a bonus, you can most likely create a spreadsheet to help you document the following process.)


To read full article, click here.

Source: Adam Blitz (www.accountingtoday.com)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tomorrow, Apple Will Officially Kill The Credit Card

Someday, your teenage child (or grandchild) will stumble across a credit card in an old desk drawer and ask you: “what was this for?” That day is imminent. The extinction of the credit card will officially begin tomorrow, September 9th. Is your business ready?

As you’re probably aware, tomorrow is when Apple will announce a bunch of new products, updates and services. The company, according to leaked reports, intends to intoduce a new “iWatch”, a bigger, more durable iPhone and further details on its OS operating system and Mac hardware.

But the biggest news that will affect us, as retailers, business owners and consumers, will be the company’s support of NFC (Near Field Communications) for mobile payments. NFC, which has been around for years, allows two devices to transfer encrypted data at short range using radio waves. Up until now the major backer of the technology has been Google. But as popular as Android devices are around the world, it’s the iPhone that rules in the economies (i.e. the U.S.) that pay the bills. And Apple for years has instead resisted jumping on the NFC bus. That will change this week, according to all accounts. And the impact will be fast and enormous.


To read full article, click here.

Source: Gene Marks (www.forbes.com)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tax Prep Chains Make Moves into Accounting

H&R Block and Liberty Tax have been expanding from traditional tax preparation services into other areas such as bookkeeping as they reach out to service small business clients year-round, giving traditional accountants some extra competition.

On Tuesday, Liberty announced a bookkeeping service built around the cloud-based accounting software Kashoo. The new bookkeeping service, dubbed Liberty Accounting, is intended to help Liberty Tax’s 4,400 franchisees expand beyond tax season and provide additional services besides tax prep and filing.

The number one tax prep chain, H&R Block, recently announced plans of its own to attract CPAs and other accountants into selling their practices to Block or becoming franchisees (see H&R Block Reaches out to Attract Accounting Firms). In conjunction with that effort, Block also said it would start offering bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses through cloud technology.

Competing tax chains such as Jackson Hewitt and TaxSlayer are still sticking to their core tax prep services, but if they see significant growth from Block and Liberty, they could be induced to change their minds.


To read full article, click here.

Source: Mike Cohn (www.linkedin.com)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

4 Tips for Managing Your CPA Firm's Seasonal Business

As the economy continues to improve, CPA firms will be able to focus on growth strategies, such as diversifying service portfolios by expanding into higher-margin services offerings. While expanded service offerings can mean bringing more business for your firm, it will also divert resources previously reserved for your core services. Because of this, you will need to have effective strategies in place for managing your seasonal business.

Here are four operational and workflow tips designed to help you balance the work load you already have, while onboarding the business you want to bring in.

Explore seasonal staffing options

For many CPA firms, staff size fluctuates with the ebb and flow of seasonal business. This requires organizations to have flexibility with staffing.

One strategy is to hire seasonal interns to work at your firm on a temporary contract. You will not only receive much needed help at little-to-no cost, you will also find that intern interactions can help you identify up-and-coming talent that you may wish to hire on a permanent basis. Moreover, the temporary relief interns can provide will allow your team to focus on more revenue-generating objectives.


To read full article, click here.

Source: Kevin Stockton (www.linkedin.com)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bouncing Back, Economy Grew 4% for Quarter

The United States economy rebounded strongly in the second quarter of the year, shaking off the negative effects of an unusually harsh winter and stirring hopes that it might finally be establishing a solid enough footing to put the lingering effects of the recession squarely in the past.

The Commerce Department, in its initial estimate for April, May and June, reported on Wednesday that the economy grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4 percent, surpassing expectations.

During the first quarter, output shrank at a rate of 2.1 percent, less than had been reported. The department had earlier said that first-quarter output fell 2.9 percent.


To read full article, click here.

Source: Dionne Searcey (www.nytimes.com)