These days there are plenty of options for anyone looking for help managing their finances. Financial planners provide overall guidance for money management, investing and retirement planning, but for day-to-day financial management and procedures people often look to accountants or CPAs. While Accountants and CPAs are often thought of as the same, there are definite differences and here are three reasons why a CPA can be the best option.
While accountants are highly trained financial professionals, they’re not licensed. CPAs on the other hand, are licensed and certified through the completion of rigorous education and training which includes:
If you’re a small business owner, hiring a CPA rather than an accountant can be especially advantageous. While each function plays an important part in managing business finances, again, there are differences. Accountants oversee and manage bookkeeping functions, then analyze the financials and prepare financial reports.
While a CPA has the experience to provide all those services, they will also provide big-picture assessments of all facets of your business finances as well as management of:
No one wants to pay more in taxes than they need to. CPAs stay current with all local, state and federal tax regulations, and can prepare accurate tax returns for any situation. A CPA will can provide tax planning strategies to help clients keep tax liabilities as low as possible from year to year, and also have the knowledge to resolve tax problems such as unfiled or late returns, settlement of IRS debt through a payment plan or an Offer in Compromise and Innocent Spouse Relief for victims of spousal fraud A CPA is also licensed to fully represent clients and make claims on their behalf during any IRS audit proceeding.
Running a business is complicated enough by its own rights, but managing your business’s financials and reporting business income to the IRS can take on new levels of complexity. If you’re a business owner who is attempting to figure out their tax return obligations, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
Structure your Tax Plan Carefully – While there are many ways to legally save more money on your tax return, there are just as many methods that are less-than-ethical. The IRS is actively on the lookout for businesses who abuse tax shelters or other methods of minimizing liability that goes against regulations. Working with a tax professional who is knowledgeable about tax code and regulations is the best way to develop a smart tax plan.
Select the Right Tax Form – The document you file with the IRS depends on the entity you have chosen for your corporation, whether you’re a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or LLC. As some of these entities can implicate your personal tax return in conjunction with your business tax return, it’s important to make sure that you are submitting all necessary information. Businesses like sole proprietors file a 1040, as well as a Schedule C and will need separate forms for self-employment tax, estimated tax, and social security/Medicare, while corporations utilize form 1120 for their business tax returns, as well as different forms for employment and excise taxes.
Be Aware of E-Filing Requirements – Most taxpayers choose this method of submitting information to the IRS either way, but many business entities are required to submit their information electronically, specifically large and mid-sized corporations that utilize forms TY2013, TY2014, TY2015, 1120, 1120S, and 1120-F. While some information cannot be sent electronically, such as multi tax year returns, medium sized and large business must submit their current year information digitally.
Overseas Income is Taxable – Funds stored in international bank accounts for US-based businesses is considered taxable income by the IRS. If your business does work internationally, it’s important to be sure you are paying the appropriate taxable amount, especially for foreign accounts, as the penalties for errors such as these can be significant.
Avoid Double Taxation – With the election of a pass-through entity, such as an S-Corporation, all deductions, credits, and losses are taken out on your personal tax return, as opposed to hitting both corporate income and personal income. If you’re starting a business for the first time, selecting a pass-through entity can be beneficial for tax savings.
Questions about Business Taxes? Ask our San Ramon CPAs
If you have concerns about filing your business tax return, contact the small business professionals at A3C Financial Services for assistance or to schedule your tax planning consultation.
Success in business can be attributed to making the right choices at the right time — choosing when to enter the market with a specific product or service, what area to serve, and how to manage your brand to be as engaging and relevant as possible.
But creating a successful enterprise can take decision making for your company’s internal structure as well, especially regarding who is looking after your finances. If you’re thinking about hiring a CFO, ask yourself the following:
Are you CEO, COO, and CFO at your business? The flexibility of running your own business allows you to wear as many hats as you like, which many business owners enjoy. However, when your business reaches a certain level of profit and growth, it can be impossible to be your own CEO, COO, and CFO at once. These high-level jobs are differentiated for a reason — as the CEO of your own company, you may not be qualified or capable of making the kinds of big-picture decisions a CFO would be responsible for. If the burden of bearing too many job titles has taken time away from your primary job functions, hiring a CFO on a part-time basis is the next best step.
How many hours a month are you spending managing your business’ finances? Some business owners waste too much time on this task, not knowing what to do or how to handle their business’ complex financial needs. The confusion creates a time vacuum where individuals can waste precious resources doing work that would be better suited for a professional with different training. On the other hand, however, there are those who avoid this process altogether for lack of knowledge — either can be damaging for your business. However, part-time CFOs can be enlisted for as little as a few hours a month and help to make the big decisions or provide the kind of insight business owners needs to stop wasting time and start making better financial decisions.
Are you preparing to speak with investors? Seeking additional funding for your small business is an important, but potentially intimidating step in taking your business where you want it to go. Investors need to ensure they’re making a safe choice in putting their money into your business and convincing them can be a task that requires significant time and effort. A part-time CFO speaks investors’ language and can help you make a presentation which helps to secure investors’ trust and financial contribution. In using a financial professional to communicate to third parties, you are putting your best face forward into investment opportunities.
Have you reached a profitability milestone? Not only is CFO experience easier to hire-on with additional income, whether on a part-time or full time basis, but reaching new milestones in your business’ profitability signals that it’s time to make some important decisions about where you’re headed next — how do you manage the extra income so it works to your advantage? Is it time to acquire new assets? Is there a long-term plan to maintain and grow this level of profitability? Someone with a CFO’s level of experience has the answers and can assist business owners in reaching even more benchmarks of success.
Plan for Growth, Expansion, and Investment — Contact our Part-Time CFO Today
We’re here to answer any questions you may have about how a part-time CFO can move your company forward. Contact A3C Financial today to speak to our outsourced Chief Financial Officer.
Easy internet access and affordable, handheld computing technology has made just about everything in managing our daily lives easier and more accessible. For the busy business owner, this fortunately also extends to how they manage financial reporting, bookkeeping, and cash flow with accounting software. At A3C Financial, we work with some of the most beneficial digital and cloud-based technology to make your life as a business owner hassle-free.
What Can I Do With Cloud Accounting?
Digital accounting services take you out of your desk, away from your office and put all of your important documents in your back-pocket, securely protected, at all times. The foremost benefit of working with digital technology is that you do not have to be working off of one computer and one location all the time. You can access your records via smartphone, tablet, or other internet connected device whenever you need to, by simply logging into an online account that allows you to access cloud-hosted software.
Cloud accounting also gives business owners:
• Easy Report Creation and Sending
• Centralized Access to Tax Information
• A Singular Portal that your Accountant can also View
• Document Storage and Uploading
• Ability to Share Data with other Employees
Our small business accountants can work with several online verticals to help your business make the most of digital tools. With the ability to log in and view your accounts online, our financial professionals can see all of the information you see, making trouble-shooting and training a more streamlined process. This negates the need for slow, traditional pen-and-paper processes that involve more in-office visits and relying on snail mail to send information and documents to your financial professional.
Digital Technology is Changing the Accounting World
These technological advancements have changed things for the better for both business owners and the role that your accountant takes on to help your business. Free of more tedious, manual processes, our San Ramon business accountants can devote more time to you and cater to your business’ growth and development.
To learn more about digital accounting, contact A3C Financial today for your consultation.
At A3C Financial Services, we've been serving the accounting needs of San Ramon, CA and the surrounding areas for years. If you need help managing any aspect of your home or business's finances, we want to hear from you.
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