PTIN Renewal and New Filing Season Program

Treasury tax check with cash.

PTIN Renewal

If you’re a paid tax preparer and haven’t already done so, now is the time to submit applications and renewals for your PTIN.  The IRS recently released information, including an audio troubleshooting video, designed to help tax professionals complete this important requirement with little time and energy.

It can be accomplished by completing three simple steps:

  1. Login to your PTIN account (or register for a new one).
  2. Complete the online renewal application which requires the verification of personal information.
  3. Pay the $63 renewal fee online using a credit or debit card.

You can also fulfil this requirement using a hardcopy form that can be mailed directly to the IRS for processing.

Annual Filing Season Program

The IRS is encouraging non-credentialed tax preparers to increase their level of professionalism by obtaining continuing education credits.  Tax preparers become eligible for the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) by obtaining 18 hours of continuing education which includes a six-hour federal tax law refresher course with test.  All those who received an AFSP Record of Completion from the IRS will be included in a public database of return preparers the IRS will launch in January 2015.

Those who passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) test offered between November 2011 and January 2013 must fulfill the 15-hour CE requirement each year to secure an AFSP—Record of Completion.  According to the IRS press release, “Those who passed the RTRP test and certain other recognized national and state tests are exempt from the six-hour federal tax law refresher course with test.”

With programs such as these, the IRS continues to encourage paid tax preparers to increase their professionalism by investing in continuing education.  Also, changes in the representation rights of return preparers will change come 2016.  At that time:

Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents will continue to be the only tax professionals with unlimited representation rights, meaning they can represent their clients on any matters including audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals.

AFSP participants will have limited representation rights, meaning they can represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

PTIN holders without an AFSP – Record of Completion or other professional credential will only be permitted to prepare tax returns. They will not be allowed to represent clients before the IRS.

For more information, visit the official IRS website.

Universal Accounting Helps Tax Preparers Succeed

At Universal, we also believe it’s important to prepare for the future, and we’re interested in seeing your future success as a tax preparer.  Our Professional Tax Preparer Program is designed to help professionals like you master tax preparation, becoming efficient in the completion of individual and business returns.  If you would like to learn more, visit Universal for a free video today!

Resource

–.  “New!  Annual Filing Season Program.”  IRS.gov

–.  “PTIN Requirements for Tax Return Preparers.”  IRS.gov

Our Free Newsletters

Serving You with Our Free Newsletters

We enjoy sending you information that we hope improves your work as a tax preparer. Our three newsletters, AB Tips, Tax Tips, and Career Tips, are intended to help professionals like you advance in whatever their current position in the financial field. The AB Tips Newsletter is designed to share accounting and bookkeeping tips with subscribers. Intended for individuals with their own accounting practice or for those who would like to start their own practice, we specifically include tips on how to market your services, how to streamline tasks, how to organize your office space, etc. Our Tax Tips Newsletter is for tax preparers or those interested in tax preparation. We provide tax news, information on starting your own business, tips on building your clientele, etc. And finally, we have our Career Tips newsletter, for those who work or would like to work in the accounting field. In this newsletter we include information on getting the right job, advancing in your field, moving into management positions, etc.As we learn more about your needs, we alter our approach in order to better serve you. We’re adding a few things to the newsletter that we hope you enjoy. Here’s a breakdown of what’s included and how we hope it helps you.

Two articles

Since we began running our free ezines over two years ago, we have included two articles every issue that offer accounting and tax information, tips on running and marketing a small business, career guidelines and promotional pieces. The newsletters provide us with the opportunity to share our products and services with those we believe they best serve. Universal’s programs are top of the line and life-changing; we promote them because we know they help people like you achieve career goals and realize your business dreams.We also use the newsletter as an opportunity to expose you to our many free resources, including personalized information from our President and CEO, Allen Bostrom in Allen’s Blog, UAC’s accounting and tax forums, the newsletters, and the Universal video tour.Recently we’ve responded to requests for purely informational pieces as well. Last summer we asked newsletter subscribers to tell us what you wanted to read about. For the past six months we’ve tried to include articles on all suggested topics. Each newsletter contains one, if not two, informational pieces. We continue to welcome your feedback as we write articles intended to help you improve your financial services. Please visit our forums for a chance to give us feedback on past articles and suggestions for future articles.

Press Releases and New Products

We want you to be in the know about everything Universal, so we include all press releases, enrollment offers, and information about new products in our newsletters. From our new interactive testing center to our customized Professional Bookkeeper Program for Canadian residents, we want you to be the first to know what’s happening at Universal Accounting Center.

Quotable Quote

Everyone could use a little inspiration now and then, so we like to include a quotable quote in each issue of our newsletters. Funny quotes, somber quotes, quotes that make you want to get up and accomplish something, we try to include a variety that inspire and uplift.

“The Bottom Line”

And last but certainly not least is an upcoming addition to our newsletters: a video clip we call “The Bottom Line.” In the serious world of financial statements, taxes, and projected profits, the bottom line is that we like what we do and can enjoy a good laugh about our profession. The humorous clip is intended to help lighten your load and improve your day. We hope you look forward to this new feature and share it frequently with coworkers, family, and friends.We want our newsletter to help you move forward in your goals as a financial professional. So stay tuned as we continue to improve our newsletters so that they can better serve your needs. We appreciate your support.

Sharpening the Saw

sawIn Stephen Covey’s well-known and oft-quoted book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the last and final habit is known as “sharpening the saw.”  Covey explains that this habit “means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.”  If you’re like many professionals, the idea of taking a time-out to rejuvenate yourself may seem a little self-indulgent.  Aren’t you too busy sawing, for heaven’s sake?  Unfortunately, too much sawing and not enough sharpening makes your work less effective and eventually, inadequate.  Consider creating your own program for self-renewal using the following suggestions:

Physical. Neglecting your health will come back to haunt your business at some point or another, either in sick time, lack of focus, or compromised workflow.  And while we’re not suggesting you train for a triathlon, we are saying that taking better care of yourself will only benefit your business in the long run.  Getting plenty of sleep, water, and exercise, while enjoying a healthy diet, will provide the perfect foundation for a balanced life.

Social/Emotional. What’s life about if not making meaningful connections with the people around you?  Whether it be friends, family, or neighbors, take the time to associate with those you care for.  In fact, to demonstrate your commitment to balancing all aspects of your life, use the same calendar for both personal and business activities.

Spiritual. Covey suggests that honoring the spiritual element of your life might require “spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer or service.”  In addition, Walter Bagehot claims, “No great work has ever been produced except after a long interval of still and musing meditation.”  To many, meditation is a mystical, new-age activity for which they have no time, and those who practice it claim to be more adept at concentrating, critical thinking and problem solving—all of which are important skills for the business owner.

Mental. Regardless of your profession, it’s important that you continually challenge yourself mentally.  Learning new things and keeping up on industry advancements enables you to keep the saw sharp while improving your practice.  To do that, we suggest regularly honing your skills by investing in training that will improve your financial expertise.

Expand and Refine Your Financial Skills

Most of your competitors don’t offer specialized small-business accounting services.  But after completing the Professional Bookkeeper (PB) program, you can!  Consider a training program that is catered to your needs and busy schedule—one that will enable you to earn a professional designation after just 60 hours of your valuable time.

When you enroll in the Professional Bookkeeper Program you receive to the following:

  • Flexible training you complete on your own schedule
  • Rich and engaging training DVDs you can view again and again
  • Hands-on instruction and practice sets through which you gain much-needed experience
  • Training in building and marketing your new practice
  • 6 months of valuable follow-up support
  • The opportunity to earn professional certification
  • Our iron-clad risk-free guarantee

Expand your service offerings by enrolling in UAC’s valuable Professional Bookkeeper Program.  Call 1-877-833-7908 to enroll today!

Resource

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw.” StephenCovey.com

Key Social Media Rules

The proliferation of social networking sites has left many professionals wondering how to best manage profiles in order to generate interest in their businesses.  In a recent Entrepreneur.com article, author Brian Patrick Eha describes “5 Social Media Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know.”   Here we share three of his tips:

1. Produce quality content.  In order for your online presence to be valuable to others, you must provide them with information applicable to their particular needs and situation.  In order to accomplish this you must know your target market well and understand their most pressing concerns.  When you can address those, your tweets, posts, and pins becomes a valuable resource to their business.

2. Be open and engaging. Online communication can be tricky.  You need to ensure that all your correspondence is upbeat and personable so that your audience is drawn to your profile and attends to your updates.  Also, it’s important that you engage with followers, responding to their questions and requests.

3. Focus on a specific niche.  As Eha explains, “On social media, you can either be a generalist – producing and curating a hodge podge of content across many different disciplines—or you can choose to specialize in one or a few areas.  Specialists tend to bend more ears than generalists…” 

Using social media to promote your business can be daunting, considering all the different sites out there.  Following a simple set of ground rules could help you find greater success as you try to build your business online.

Enjoy Greater Prosperity!

Tax professionals charge 100 + an hour providing planning and preparation services to clients.  In the course of one tax season, many tax preparers earn what others take an entire year to bring in.  Universal’s Professional Tax Preparer Program will enable you to help your clients save enough money in taxes to more than cover your fees.  And what you earn in one tax season will more than cover your registration for this course.  

1.   Establishing the Tax Foundation.  Learn the entire process for determining income and adjustments to income, which will factor into the Adjusted Gross Income.  In fact, you’ll cover all the information necessary to prepare Page One of Form 1040.

2.   Becoming the 1040 Expert. This module deals with background information and forms that go into the 1040, Page 2.  We also discuss all the adjustments that can be made to gross income, including credits that are allowed and different types of deductions and exemptions that can be taken against that adjust gross income number.

3.   Profitable Business Returns.  In Module 3, we introduce you to the world of business organizations and their tax concerns.  This module is a practical companion to Module 2, as it give you experience in completing each of the schedules and forms common to business organizations.

4.   Building Your Successful Tax Practice.  Module 4 was designed to give you a head start in creating and running your own tax preparation service.  You will find yourself light years ahead of the competition as you put these strategies into play. 

Invest in your business by becoming a Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) before next tax season.  Universal’s PTP program will give you hands-on training in completing full individual (1040) and business returns while enabling you to further grow your business.  Call 1-877-833-7909 to enroll now.

Resource

Eha, Brian Patrick.  “5 Social Media Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know.”  14 June 2013  Entrepreneur.com

Strategic Budgeting

cut-costsAs a financial professional you probably think you’ve got your budget under control.  You know numbers and watch your spending to ensure that you are managing your money well.  But unless you’re applying crucial budgeting strategies, you’re not using this valuable tool to its full advantage. 

Here are 5 tips that will help:

1. Ensure your budget aligns with your business strategy. This may seem obvious, but in the day-to-day tasks required in business management, strategy may be forgotten.  There are fires to put out, emergency expenses to pay, and last-minute purchases to make.  So unless you’re vigilantly monitoring your outflow, your strategy may be nickel and dimed into extinction.

If you don’t yet have a strategy, now is the time to develop one.  Does your business require more aggressive marketing techniques?  Are you attempting to grow your firm by hiring a support staff?  Or do you want to focus on retaining current clients?  Whatever your strategy, you should devise a budget that supports and sustains it.

2. Assess your Chart of Accounts. As a financial professional, you are likely familiar with the Chart of Accounts.  The Chart of Accounts enables you to set up categories that align with your management strategies.  It also enables you to establish a healthy balance between control and responsibility regarding business spending.

3. Establish accountability.  Anyone responsible for spending within your business needs to be accountable for their choices.  You may currently be the only person responsible.  However, it’s important that you acknowledge and assess your spending and then make any necessary changes.  You may determine that your budgetary items are best distributed among control areas like marketing, skills development, client retention, management, etc.  This may provide you with more control over outflow.

4. Regularly review your budget. Establishing a budget and then ensuring that it aligns with your business strategy is only part of this valuable process.  The true benefit of budgeting comes when you regularly review your budget with key players in your business.  In your review you can compare budgeted expenses with actual expenses and discuss discrepancies.  You can also talk with those responsible for various expenses and see how they might revise some of their spending choices.  This is also a good time to implement necessary changes and assess any changes implemented since your last budgetary review.

5. Revise as necessary.  A budget is not set in stone.  As mentioned in the previous tip, as you assess and review your progress it’s important that you make necessary changes.  In fact, that’s the beauty of budgeting.  As you monitor your income and outflow, you can make changes that will influence the future profitability of your business.

As a tax preprarer you may assume that you’ve been using this tool to its full advantage.  But if you haven’t been applying the above tips, you may be missing out of some of the best benefits of budgeting.

QuickBooks Made Profitable

Budgeting isn’t the only tool you can use to increase your business’s profitability.  Our program, QuickBooks Made Profitable, will teach you just how to use QuickBooks accounting software to attract and retain more clients.

Nearly 80% of small businesses use Intuit’s QuickBooks software.  While other programs may be useful, QuickBooks has definitely captured the small business market.  Mastering QuickBooks will not only enable you to better manage your budget and keep more efficient records, but it will also help you teach your clients how to use the software so that you can get the information you need which, making your job much easier.  This program will teach you how to leverage your time while saving clients money in taxes and helping them increase their profits.  What client wouldn’t be interested in that?  We’ll teach you how to use this valuable software package to generate more income!

Don’t wait to grow your business and experience the success your budget will certainly help you achieve.  There are countless potential clients out there in need of these specific services.  You can be the one to provide them.  Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to order QuickBooks Made Profitable today!

 

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