Monthly Archives: May 2010

Going Online- Why Accountants And Cpas Should Have Websites

The Tax Software Revolution

The most common service that accountants and CPAs provide to the public at large is tax preparation. That tradition has had a large hole blown in it by the arrival of software packages that allow individuals to prepare their own tax returns with an on-screen guide walking them through the process. The states and the federal government have cooperated by making online filing available and, furthermore, an attractive option because it will get you your tax refund quicker than a traditional paper filing.

Millions of Americans have opted for this method, and for many of them it’s a good choice. Large numbers of them did not use accounting services in the first place, as they had simple tax returns. However there is also a large class of people who are utilizing the yearly software option when perhaps they would do better with professional service. A good accountant can find tax breaks or prepare itemized lists that help your tax situation where you may not see the opportunity or may not be willing to dedicate the time to itemizing.

Why Professionals are Better than Software

The individuals that are caught between the “simple return” pool and the group of people who have to use professional help every year because of complicated personal financial situations are the group that accountants and CPAs need to recapture. The best way to convince someone that paying for professional services will save them money in the long run is to spell it out for them, and the best tool for that is the internet.

Large firms like H&R Block have expanded beyond the tax return business into financial planning. Many accounting firms or even CPAs working on their own are in a position to provide at least some financial counseling that extends beyond annual tax returns. An internet site is a compelling tool for explaining the goals and advantages of long term financial planning. It’s a method of explaining the multiple advantages of working with an accounting professional rather than a $40 software package.

Full Service Business Explained on a Full Service Website

An accountant’s website can speak also to the value of a one-to-one relationship as opposed to the services of a large firm such as H&R Block. Creative packaging is a tool used by many small accounting firms. Use their tax preparation services and receive an outline for an initial five year financial plan, gratis. It’s a method of leveraging the tax return process in order to introduce other potential services.

An internet site can also offer valuable advice to the increasing number of people who are working at home or on a contract basis for large employers. Many who take this professional path do not understand the different requirements for federal tax payments that are involved. A friendly – and partial – explanation on a CPA’s professional website will serve as an invitation to call and arrange a visit.

The usual collections of FAQs and recommendations, suggested links and biographical information can serve to introduce an accountant and develop a sense of professionalism before the customer and the service provider have their first conversation. An internet site is a better advertising tool and introductory method than direct mail, a yellow pages ad, even radio or TV… better than anything but a personal recommendation.

Madison Lockwood is a customer relations associate, specializing in small business development, for Apollo Hosting. Apollo Hosting provides website hosting, ecommerce hosting, vps hosting, and web design services to a wide range of customers.

Accountant Cpa or Bookkeeper

You have started your business and things are going great, now you decide you need some help with managing your books, you open the yellow pages and under accounting you see, CPA’s, Accountants and Bookkeepers. Which do you choose? Which one would be good for your small business? And what’s the difference?

There are differences, and one of those differences will be cost, and as you have learned when you started your business cost will be a factor in almost every business decision you make. Which one will get you the most for your businesses dollar? That’s a question you will have to decide depending on the services you think you will need.

 

A CPA (Certified Public Accountant) will be the most expensive choice, and in my opinion, too much for a small business starting out. Depending on what you need a CPA’s rates can run you an average of $250.00 to $500.00 a month and if your not in need of financial consulting or having tax problems, in my opinion you will be paying an unneeded expense on a service that wont be utilized for your business.

An Accountant can do the same things as a CPA the difference is about a 4 year degree and the required exams to be a certified public accountant, there rates wont be as high but the end results will be the same, there average rate will range from $200.00 to $ 400.00 a month with basically the same services.

 

A CPA and an Accountant will both do fine jobs for you, but it will cost you more than what you need to spend for something as small as managing your books, which is what you will be doing as a small business. You will take your books and all your receipts and bank statements to the account or CPA and they will hand all that to their bookkeeper who will get your books in a manageable and clean order at the rate of the accountant or CPA.

If your needs are basic and you need someone to do your books or payroll or sales tax, my advice is a bookkeeper. A bookkeeper will do just that, they will get your books in order, they can do your payroll or sales taxes and some can even do your taxes, all this a t a much lower cost, the average rate for a bookkeeper is $150.00 to $300.00 a month depending on your needs.

 

If you do have an accountant or a CPA and you have a bookkeeper do your books, you will still save money because your books will be in good clean shape when you give them to your accountant or CPA, meaning they don’t have to have their bookkeeper do anything and the time they bill you for will be quite less than if they had to clean up your books every month.

Cutting cost in your business is going to be something you will always look for and this little tip could be a savings you don’t want to ignore, my advice do some research, call some CPA’s Accountants and some Bookkeepers, compare their services and rates, then choose the best for your business.

Ed Sullivan

Asset Bookkeeping & Tax Service

http://www.assetbookkeeping.net

10 Good Reasons To Change Your Accountant

Most people pick an accountant and stick with him or her throughout their entire lifetimes or the lifetimes of their businesses.  Though this is perfectly understandable given the human tendency to “stay the course”, it can be counterproductive in the long run.

I’ve put together 10 reasons you should consider changing accountants.  Though not all may be applicable to your situation, I encourage you to give the following reasons to switch accountants some thought.

Scott’s 10 Reasons to Change Accountants:

1.  Your accountant doesn’t explain his/her ideas to you.  Instead, he/she simply acts “the expert”, expecting you to find enjoyment and value in listening to him/her pontificate.

2.  Your accountant is constantly saying “no” rather than listening to what you want to do.  He/she doesn’t even attempt to formulate ideas to help you reach your true goals.

3.  Your accountant doesn’t listen to you when you tell him/her what you want to accomplish long-term or short-term.

4.  Your accountant thinks he/she is an expert on everything – including items that have nothing to do with finances.  Consequently, he/she speaks off-the-cuff and rarely researches the ramifications of his/her suggestions.

5.  You only see and/or talk to your accountant once a year, providing very little opportunity to create a relationship.

6.  Everything with your accountant is always “last minute”, affording you practically no time to make changes or ask questions.

7.  Your accountant doesn’t provide a prior-to-year-end tax projection or update.

8.  Your accountant offers one-word answers that make you wonder if he/she even fully understands the situation at hand.

9.  Your accountant agrees with everything you say, which makes you wonder if he/she is simply avoiding telling you things that might be hard for you to hear.

10.  Your accountant only talks numbers and taxes, nothing else.  You feel absolutely no connection with him or her.

If at least 2 of the 10 statements above describe your accountant, you really should make a change.  You’re paying for a service that your accountant isn’t giving you.  And that never makes “cents”.

FinancialFutureCFO.com is a division of McPherson, CPA, PLLC and serves all 50 states. The firm provides an inexpensive alternative to hiring a full time person. All services offered are overseen by Scott McPherson, CPA, CFE, CVA. Visit www.FinancialFutureCFO.com for more information.

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