Archive for the ‘Tax’ Category

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

CPA, Robert Raiola, Talks About The Jock Tax

RobertI really like it when CPAs get some big-time exposure and are acknowledged for the incredible vastness of their knowledge.

I also find things like the “Jock Tax” very interesting and definitely controversial.

Here’s a link to where my friend, Robert Raiola (@SportsTaxMan on Twitter) was featured on Bloomberg TV last week, discussing the tax.

Check him out on Twitter for a lot of tweets about the Super Bowl jock tax consequences.

  • Aren't we all striving to be overpaid for what we do?
  • Will Ferrell

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Just Another Due Date

IMG_4340I guess you could call it the last major tax return due date of the year for certified public accountants.

Most business people are well aware that March 15th is the tax due date for corporate tax returns, April 15th is the due date for individual income tax returns. The filing of corporate returns can be extended until September 15 and individual returns until October 15. This creates a very busy time inside most CPA firms leading up to 3/15 and 4/15 and another (mini busy season) leading up to 9/15 and 10/15.

Working with and talking to CPAs across the country (and the people who work for them), I hear so much frustration and observe an immense amount of finger-pointing about why these due dates cause so much stress and unhappiness.

Yet, I find bright spots! I also hear (a very few) stories about Mary or John (partner in the firm) who never has to work so many extra hours as a due date approaches nor do they put excessive demands on the people who help them deliver client services.

What has Mary or John done differently than their other partners?

Simple. They trained their clients. 

I have seen it happen first-hand. It is possible.

  • It's easier to go down a hill than up it, but the view is much better at the top.
  • Henry Ward Beecher

Monday, April 14th, 2014

April 14th – A Tale of Two Firms

The story inside some CPA firms today…..

  • It’s going to be a crazy-busy Monday.
  • Most of the partners and several team members worked both week-end days.
  • You have a lot of “loose ends” to tie-up so you can get the return or extension filed.
  • There are several clients you have to call and break the bad news that they owe more than they expected.
  • You are expecting two or three clients, the same ones every year, to drop off or email information and expect to get their return tomorrow. They will pay you for last year’s tax work when they give you this year’s info.
  • A partner says, “I only have 3 or 4 8879s to get signed.” The problem is that each partner and some managers are saying this and there are 8 partners and 6 managers in the firm.
  • The firm administrator will be asking the admin team to be prepared to stay late today and tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow, when the party begins around 4:00, the admin team will miss it because they will be swamped with last minute tasks.
  • Dinner will be served this evening and some partners and team members will be working late into the evening.

The story inside some CPA firms today….

  • It will be a relief to come in this Monday because you have worked hard and everything was finalized on Friday.
  • You communicated clearly and thoroughly with clients and they know what to expect.
  • Everything that needs to be extended is already extended because you have notified your clients, for years, that if they don’t have their complete information to you by April 7th, their return will be extended.
  • When a client is slow to pay for their individual tax work, the following year you ask for a retainer before you begin the work.
  • You actually close at noon on April 15th, or
  • For years, you have given your team members April 16th as a holiday (or the Friday after April 15th), and it’s their favorite holiday.
  • Your after-tax-season feedback survey will go out to your people on April 16.
  • Your admin team never misses your tax season party. You have outsiders plan the party so they don’t have to also handle that task.
  • Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.
  • Alan Lakein

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

The Dreaded IRS Audit – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The editors at Best Online Accounting Degree decided it was time to do some research on the topic of IRS tax audits.  They came up with many interesting facts and have shared them via an info-graphic. The odds of getting audited are actually very low.

Anatomy of an Audit
Source: Anatomy of an Audit

  • We'll try to cooperate fully with the IRS, because, as citizens, we feel a strong patriotic duty not to go to jail.
  • Dave Barry

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Are You Aware of TaxConnections?

taxRecently, I have been talking with Kat Jennings and Tracey Glenn of TaxConnections. I am always trying to help CPAs and CPA firms become more visible and more successful. This could be a resource that will aid you in promoting your tax knowledge. Here’s some information about TaxConnections.

What is TaxConnections?TaxConnections is an interactive Worldwide Directory of Tax Professionals that connects consumers with tax professionals and tax services around the world.

What kind of tax professionals can be found on Tax Connections? – TaxConnections promotes tax professionals from corporations, law firms, public accounting firms, tax service firms, tax associations, government, independents and academia in more than 57 countries around the world. It is the very first social media site for tax professionals worldwide.

How does TaxConnections benefit consumers? – In one click, consumers can find tax professionals and tax services worldwide. Consumers can also ask tax questions and receive answers. It is all free.

How does Tax Connections benefit tax professionals? – Tax professionals who establish a media presence always have a competitive advantage. We improve tax professionals visibility nationally and internationally.

You can find lots of good tax information on their Facebook page. If you check-out the blog page, you’ll find me there, too.

The old saying, “the world is shrinking” sure applies to your tax practice these days. I like their worldwide focus.

 

  • The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.
  • Albert Einstein

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Who Says Tax CPAs Are Boring?

Yes, they have s stigma attached to them. Tax accountants are quiet, conservative, introverted, boring and tic & tie numbers all day.

Hey, you must be thinking something different than me!

sports taxMy friend Robert Raiola is anything but boring – (see my December post). He was quoted on the ESPN site regarding the amazing shot by an average computer technician last Friday night at the Miami Heat game. It was one of those mid-court promotions to win money ($75,000).

Well, the guy made the shot. He got the honor of being tackled by LaBron James after making it. However, he doesn’t get to take home $75,000.  “A lot of people don’t realize: You don’t win what you win,” said Robert Raiola, an accountant with FMRTL in Cranford, NJ whose clients include athletes.

Follow this link to see the shot and to read about the tax liability. It is still a very valuable shot!

Robert Raiola tweets as @SportsTaxMan and has nearly 14,000 followers – not bad for a CPA. Why aren’t you tweeting?

  • You don't play against opponents. You play against the game of basketball.
  • Bobby Knight

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Change Your Thinking And Embrace Opportunity

I’m in the conference mode this month – speaking at two highly-attended and influential conferences for the public accounting profession – AICPA PractitionersTECH – Association for Accounting Marketing, last week and today I am flying back to Las Vegas for the Association for Accounting Administration National Practice Management Conference.

What do I hear discussed at conferences focused on CPAs in public practice? Their need to change. Not only change how they act but also how they think. Of course they act professional and always in the best interest of their clients but do they act out their care and concern for their people, their partners and their firm?

In your firm do you impose limits on yourself? Perhaps you are one of many CPA partners who quietly thinks – “we can’t do that…” probably because you have never done it.

Gale Crosley calls these limits that CPAs put on themselves “thought borders.” In a recent article in Accounting Today, she explores the issue of international tax. In your partner meetings, you often discuss the fact that international is a hot market. Yet, you keep yourself from this vast opportunity because of what you consider logical reasons – you’ve never had a non-U.S.-based client and your don’t speak a foreign language.

I hope you’ll read her article, titled “Crossing Thought Borders.” 

I especially relate to her discussion on travel-phobia. “We can’t send auditors out of town because it costs too much and they hate to travel.” Welcome to the 21st century, when a firm headquartered in Peoria is no longer limited to clients in the 309 area code.

Don’t hide behind time-worn limitations. I talk with so many firm leaders who are mired down in “the same old thing” and are wasting huge opportunities for future success and growth.

  • Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
  • Winston Churchill

Monday, May 7th, 2012

E. Lynn Nichols – Tax Guru

Lynn Nichols, is that you with Rita?

Lynn Nichols, CPA, is legendary in the world of tax CPE. I heard his name early on in my career as CPAs raved about his tax classes.  I’ve also worked on conference committees where the planners would always say:  We must have Lynn Nichols!

He has a devoted and passionate audience. He has been providing tax consulting services to accounting firms for 40+ years and presents more than 100 CPE seminars sponsored by state societies and CPAs each year, plus he is a featured speaker at most major tax conferences.

Having given you all of that information (which you probably already knew), you can imagine my excitement at having my picture taken with Mr. Nichols at the Minnesota Tax Conference last fall. Now I have a “Lynn Nichols, is that you with Rita?” gem to add to my collection.

I wanted to post this now because of Mr. Nichols’ recent article that appeared in the Ohio CPA Voice magazine and in some other states’ society newsletters.  It has a wonderful and important message and causes my admiration to continue to grow.

  • The mental stress and long hours associated with a CPA's work can be difficult to handle.
  • E. Lynn Nichols

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Make Your CPA Firm’s Website Helpful to Your 1040 Clients – KISS Them

Just thinking of some KISS things this morning.  (You know, Keep It Simple & Straightforward.)

Many accounting firms send their individual tax clients something called a tax organizer. The organizer is a reminder of what they reported last year and what they need to furnish their accountant this year.  Firms also often enclose a client “checklist” of items to gather and furnish their accountant. This has traditionally been done via U.S. mail.

I hope your firm has put this helpful information on your website. It could be very beneficial to clients (since they often misplace their organizer). CPAs report that a lot of clients never even open the envelope containing the annual income tax mailing.

Now consider the fact that more and more people immediately go to the internet when they need specific information or if even a general question comes to mind. Do your clients immediately think of your website or do they browse and find your competition?

While I was browsing accounting firm websites I came across David Wayne, a tax accountant in Colorado. Wayne offers a List of Things to Bring to your tax appointment.  Simple – Easy – Helpful.

Short, informational tutorials on your website are also very helpful. Lynn & Associates in Springfield, Illinois provides Simple – Easy – Helpful informational about their tax organizer, titled: Using Your Client Organizer.

Be sure you are using your website to help your clients. Dealing with taxes and financial matters is something they often dread and rely on you for your experience and expertise. It is important for you to KISS.

  • Indoors or out, no one relaxes in March, that month of wind and taxes, the wind will presently disappear, the taxes last us all the year.
  • Ogden Nash

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

The Interns Will Be Arriving At Your CPA Firm Next Week

The title, above, might not apply to some firms but I certainly hope it applies to the vast majority.

My advice when it comes to interns is, if you can possibly use one – hire two. If you think you might need 3, hire six. Most of you know by now that hiring for the public accounting profession has evolved to hiring from your intern pool. The best and brightest almost always accept offers from the firm they interned with. The stiffest competition in hiring on campus is for the best intern candidates.

When the interns arrive, make them feel special. I often ask groups of managing partners how they felt on their first day working in public accounting. I get some very consistent answers such as: I felt dumb. I felt lost. I was clueless. I was scared.

Now that you are more experienced, keep in mind how all new hires in the CPA world feel. And remember, use positive talk. Sometimes, people in CPA firms tend to dwell on the negative. When you describe your firm and public accounting, in general, to new hires (and to anyone) don’t forget to brag it up!

In January, when new hires and interns arrive, it is a perfect time to talk about the wonderful opportunities in public accounting. As a firm leader, take the time to talk with each one privately about the wonderful world of public accounting. I suggest comparing public accounting to being a doctor – CPAs are highly trained physicians (specialists) treating patients – sometimes you are focused on preventive medicine and sometimes you are an emergency room doctor. Sometimes you even need to provide psychiatric help (like me in the picture, above).

Here’s an example of an intern speech for you to use, just insert the name of one of your all-stars.

“You know, Nate, the reality of the CPA profession and what makes it so important to you, is the fact that it is absolutely the BEST place to TRAIN for the business world. Public accounting teaches you how to think in ways that have never entered your brain before now. Being an auditor forces you to look past what is obvious. Taxes teaches you how to be cunning, creative and forces you to think proactively. You could say that working in the tax area is like planning the strategy for an important battle.

What’s more, public accounting is like the emergency room for all business owners. YOU are the DOCTOR and PATIENTS come to you when they have a painful problem. You strip them of their clothes (so to speak), see them for what they humanly are, do x-rays, CAT scans and all kinds of tests to be sure it is a thorough examination. You see into their personal life like no other person. Then you diagnose and treat them.

Also, Nate, if you keep your eyes, ears and mind open during your time with them, you will see how successful businesses are run and how true entrepreneurs think. You might also see how mistakes and poor judgment can take a business down. What a training ground!”

  • The nice thing about being a celebrity is that if you bore people they think it's their fault.
  • Henry Kissinger