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Posts Tagged ‘Accounting Articles’

Do You Need A CPA?

November 5th, 2018 Comments off

Each day, we all pass through life, hearing things that we’re not completely sure of. Honestly, with all of the information that we are expected to retain; it would be easy to see how some details start leaking back out. When you’ve come to this point in your life, you may benefit from hiring a certified public accountant.

While they serve many functions, the primary role of a certified public accountant is to track and control where the money goes. The Internal Revenue Service requires us to account for every single penny we make and those that we give away. It can be a daunting task, following the paper trail.

Certified public accountants have been taking care of financial matters for the small business sector for a very long time. It was the business owners who needed their personal wealth looked after, as well, who really made a difference in the way things are done these days.

As wealth grew over time, personal wealth separate from business owners, the need became apparent for the public sector, not just the private one. The Internal Revenue Service goes after both business and personal individuals, alike.

Certified public accountants review documents for companies and individuals. They look for errors in addition, subtraction and much more. They sift through files and find receipts. They make sure that every cent that has been spent or earned is accounted for.

CPA’s do so many things with your finances; it’s not as broad of a subject as some may think. CPA’s work with tax records, billing, and much more. They will help get your past records taken care of as well as getting all of your current dealings in order.

Your certified public accountant will see to it that you turn in correct documentation in the future to the government and will keep you from any future harm or issues with tax returns, payments and deferrals. If you have any questions regarding tax laws and payments, as well as state and federal mandates, your CPA is well versed in this information and will be a valuable resource to you.

Not only do large corporations need the services of certified public accountants, many people who find themselves in possession of sudden riches also seek their assistance. When you’re accustomed to having very little money and suddenly, money no longer becomes an issue, it is wise to have someone who can not only advise you on financial decisions, but also assist you in keeping track of your wealth.

People who have a lot of money in stocks, bonds and other investments find it very useful to have a certified public accountant in their corner. Keeping an eye on your financial decisions, your accountant can work alongside or completely solo, ensuring that your choices are going to be lucrative.

When you’ve got investments in the market or elsewhere, your CPA will work side by side with your broker and handle all of the important issues. You’ll sleep better knowing that you don’t have anything to hide or anything to fear when it comes to the IRS.

If you need a CPA, check out local accountants online. Find one who has experience working with financial situations that are much like yours. It’s also good to find a CPA who is close in proximity to your home or will be happy to come to you when you need him.

CPE Is Making Inroads With Self-Study Option

August 15th, 2018 Comments off

Self-study CPE classes are very appealing to many CPAs these days because it will allow them to accomplish their continuing education on their own schedule. These online courses are usually offered at an affordable rate and students can easily register and conveniently take care of all their requirements.

Sometimes, though, people may not have the discipline to finish the coursework on their own. On the other hand, many accountants are self starters that want to get the work done and out of the way as fast as possible. They only have a little time to pursue their education, so it has to be done on their own time table. For these people, a self-study course is a good idea.

All CPAs are required to continue their education. There are a lot of regulations around the accounting industry to make sure the public is safe from poor practices. One of those regulations is that an accountant follows through with their education to stay on top of the industry. This way any client will know they their CPA is a competent advisor.

Due to advancing technology, globalization, and increasing regulations, the accounting industry is always changing. Business transactions are also becoming more and more complex, and CPAs must develop their skills to understand what is going on. Luckily, a good self-study CPE course can help you manage this.

When you register for a self-study CPE program you should make sure that you are getting the education you need. There are many different subjects available, and you need to find the one that is most applicable. There are classes that revolve around basic accounting and estate planning and there are others that deal with taxation or professional ethics. Find the one you need.

When you look into a program, make sure the provider discloses the significant features of the coursework. Make sure that they have a reputation for being accurate, current, and developing effective learning tools. You should have clearly defined lesson objectives, a clear path to completion, and they should provide evidence of satisfactory completion as well.

Self-study courses open up the chance for professionals to continue the learning process. The provider should provide the necessary learning materials in a timely and efficient manner. You should also take the time to make sure they provide a clear description of their prerequisites upfront.

It may take a lot of time to complete a quality self-study CPE course, but many accountants find it worthwhile. Continuing education is required in the accounting profession, and studying independently will let you fulfill those obligations at your own pace.

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Important Reasons Why A Business Should Use National Collection Agencies

March 2nd, 2018 Comments off

When shopping for a collection agency you may not have stopped to consider the benefits of national collection agencies versus smaller local collection agencies. National collection agencies have a lot of reasons to recommend them. Following is a discussion of their benefits.

The first reason a national collection agency will trump a small local agency is their greater number of resources. Any business which has enough funds to operate offices in each state is going to be better equipped to collect on your debts. An example of this is the fact that over 50% of US states require that anyone doing collections have a license. The licensing procedure takes time and costs money.

If you’re using a local agency to call people in other states, they may not be aware of licensing requirements. National collection agencies will keep abreast of each state’s requirements and conform to them so you are in compliance with local laws at all times.

National collection agencies have well-trained staffs and make the commitment to continue this training even for their most experienced employees as collection techniques evolve. The debt management industry is very different today than it was even three years ago, and it’s crucial that you hire a firm that continually improves its practices if you want your collections to be successful.

Because they are more prestigious, national agencies get the cream of the crop when it comes to collection employees. They are also more likely to impress debtors into paying something. They will realize you mean business when you have a national debt collection firm representing you.

Since they attract the best people, national agencies are more likely to have specialized staff for unique industries. If you require medical collections, for example, you don’t want someone who’s mostly done collections on credit cards handling the files for you. If your collection needs are specialized, a nationwide firm is more likely to be able to fit them.

National agencies have an advantage when it comes to time as well. They have larger staffs so they keep longer business hours, and with offices in each state, you don’t have to worry about time zones. If you need to collect on accounts on the West Coast and your collection agency is on the East Coast, you’ll be missing out on some prime opportunities to reach the client due to time zone issues.

Finally, national collection agencies use advanced computer utilities that facilitate communication and allow you to check up on their activities. With most of them, you can monitor your account online in real time whenever you want. This is far preferable to the monthly reports that smaller agencies tend to send out. You want to check up on the rate of return, how quickly they’re getting your money back, and other details, and the best way to do that is by having access to your own files. Most smaller agencies just can’t offer this, so if keeping informed is important to you, you’d best consider national collection agencies.

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First Party Collections Information Important To Your Business’ Cash Flow

November 26th, 2017 Comments off

The term first party collections refers to any collections that are performed by the company to whom the debt is owed. You may not have realized it, but any time you call a client and ask them to pay up on a bill or send a reminder notice, you’re doing first party collections. Some large companies go as far as to open their own collection agency as a subsidiary to handle this.

“First party” literally means that you were the first party in the original exchange of goods or services for money, i.e. the lender. The person who accepted the goods or services and promised to pay, i.e. the debtor, is the “second party.” If an outside collection agency becomes involved, they were not part of the original transaction, which is why they’re called “third party.”

First party collections activity has some unique advantages. For one thing, there is no lag in time between an account becoming delinquent and the beginning of the collections process. Also, you have knowledge of your customers’ needs and practices, making it easy to maintain a positive relationship even after debt is incurred, which helps down the road if you want to keep the customer as a client.

Often the debtor will be more inclined to try to please their original creditor, especially if you have a product or service that he or she needs in order to maintain their business. Sometimes a gentle reminder that you won’t ship any more items until their past due amount is cleared up is enough to get recalcitrant debtors to pay.

Another difference is that unlike third party agencies, first party collections do not fall under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. When you are the original party or a legal affiliate of it like a subsidiary, you are considered a lender rather than a collector. Third party agencies therefore do not have as much wiggle room in their practices as first party collections entities due, but the latter are still subject to state and federal law.

Once a bill gets past due beyond 2-3 months, though, it’s usually time to turn it over to a third party agency or sell the debt. The ability to collect on past due amounts drops steeply after this time statistically, so rather than continuing collections actions in vain, you’re better off handing them over to professionals with more resources.

In addition, first party collections aren’t very effective unless you have a specialized collections staff. Your sales force, accounting staff or management are not trained collections people and their time is better spent elsewhere while you save collections endeavors for people who know how to perform them.

If you hire an individual or create a department to handle first party collections, however, they can be just as successful as third party collections. If they are knowledgeable in modern collection techniques like private investigation to track down new addresses and phone numbers, offering incentives to get the debtor to call in or working out settlements, first party efforts can be remarkably efficient. When trying to make the decision of which type of collections instruments to use, keep in mind whether you’re spreading your resources too thin or if you have the team in place to do first party collections.

David P. Montana has written extensively and served as a business advisor in collection agency services for three decades. David provides additional helpful tools and resources about outsource billing service options.

Facts To Consider When Choosing A Collection Agency

September 27th, 2017 Comments off

Once you’ve decided on delegating your delinquent accounts to a collection agency, the next question is how to find the best one. In today’s current economy there are so many different kinds it can be confusing. Following are suggestions for finding the best collection agency to suit your needs.

The first question out of your mouth when interviewing a collection agency should be how they structure their fees. While some of them charge monthly fees, there are many who take a percentage of any recovered money. This costs you less cash outlay, obviously, and it also means they’re guaranteeing their ability to perform for you, so this is the kind of agency you want.

Some agencies belong to professional collection associations, while others do not. There are two such groups in the US, the Commercial Law League of America and the American Collectors Association. It’s preferable to hire a member firm for collections because they take their professional standing seriously.

For example, both organizations require perfectly professional conduct from their members. Not only do they conform to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they are committed to training courses for members to teach the latest collection techniques.

The next question for a collection agency you want to hire is whether or not they will allow you to access your accounts online. Even though you’re delegating collections to them, you want to be able to check your files to see how things are going at any time. A truly professional agency will understand this need and take care of it for you rather than making you rely on monthly reports.

You also want to pick an agency that uses private investigators or does investigations themselves with skip trace software. (A skip trace is a search for a person based on their previous known addresses.) Collections efforts can’t be successful when you can’t locate the debtor. This is a practice that all good collection agencies follow these days so make sure the one you choose does as well.

Ask your potential collection agency if they do all their own work or outsource it. If you’re hiring a company you want that company to perform the actual work. Some agencies outsource their calls, including to offshore call centers. Unless your collections are international, in which case you will want an international collection agency that is familiar with the local culture, this is not a good idea. Debtors tend to take these calls less seriously.

The final thing you should check on when hiring a collection agency is what their business hours are. This may seem like a small thing but with national collections, time zones can be a problem, and with local collections, you still want people working outside of normal business hours. Consumer debtors are more likely to answer the phone before 9 am or after 5 pm, because they’re more likely to be home, and also because they believe collections calls are less likely at those times. A collection agency which spreads out its work hours is beneficial to you.

David P. Montana has three decades experience as an industry professional, business consultant and published author in debt collection agency services. David provides more helpful tips and facts about national collection agencies.