ACA Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR) Brings Complexity To Tax and HR

There are many changes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).   We’d like to thank our valued strategic partner Ankur Khosla-Ghandi with PAYCHEX for the following information regarding the Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR) provisions that are almost here. Are your clients prepared to comply with the new guidelines?

An important part of the ESR provisions is the End of Year (EOY) reporting requirement that provides details on the insurance coverage that was offered to full-time employees.

  • Employers who are considered Applicable Large Employers (50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents) based on their 2014 calendar year workforce, are required to begin reporting ESR information to the IRS for calendar year 2015, using Forms 1094-C (employer transmittal statement) and 1095-C (employee statement).
  • Form 1094-C and 1095-C must be filed with the IRS each year no later than February 28 or, if filing electronically, by March 31 following the end of the calendar year for which the return applies. Form 1095-C must be provided to full-time employees on or before January 31 following the end of the calendar year for which the statements apply.

For tax year 2014, reporting for Applicable Large Employers is optional but recommended. The idea for reporting for this year is to ease the transition when reporting becomes required for the 2015 tax year.

Rely on Paychex for Help with ESR Provisions

Paychex has the answers, information and solutions to help you and your clients with all ESR provisions, including EOY reporting requirements. These solutions include the following, and additional fees may apply:

  • Applicable Large Employer Analysis and Monitoring. Paychex helps track and calculate the number of full-time employees and full-time equivalents (FTEs) for payroll clients, to help determine if an employer is subject to ESR provisions.
  • Full-Time Employee Analysis and Monitoring. Paychex assists payroll clients in determining which employees may subject the employer to potential ESR penalties if they do not offer adequate and affordable coverage. The analysis shows measurement periods, administrative periods, and subsequent stability periods to determine full-time employees as outlined in the ESR provisions.
  • Coverage Adequacy Analysis and Monitoring. Paychex assists clients who have their insurance provided through Paychex Insurance Agency or Paychex PEO with assessing the adequacy of their health coverage by evaluating whether it provides minimum essential coverage, minimum actuarial value, and affordable coverage according to ESR provisions.
  • Year-End Reporting Requirements. Beginning in 2015, Paychex will assist clients with filing and preparation of Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.

Health Care Reform Presents Overwhelming Complexity – Rely on Paychex to Help.

Contact: Ankur Khosla-Gandhi for more information or assistance:

801-999-0881
akhosla@pachex.com

Invest in Yourself!

Businessman in officeAs a small-business owner, you are the greatest asset to your company, which also means that enhancing your professional development is the best investment you can ever make.  Author and entrepreneur Jeff Olson agrees, and in a recent Entrepreneur.com article explains that “The Smartest Long-Term Investment is You.”

He begins by quoting Lincoln who once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”  In this, Lincoln demonstrates how enhancing one’s tools can actually be more important than performing actual tasks.  The problem is, 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 chopping down trees, for heaven’s sake?  Unfortunately, too much tree-chopping and not enough axe-sharpening makes your work less effective and eventually, inadequate.

Olson suggests you spend just as much time sharpening as you do chopping.  He explains, “Read just one chapter of an information-rich, inspiring book every day. Listen to 15 minutes of a life-transforming audio. Take a course or seminar every few months. Most of your life — 99.9 percent– is made up of things you do on automatic pilot. It’s essential that you take charge of your automatic pilot’s training and never stop investing in yourself.”

He suggests other ways to invest in yourself as well, of which you’ll find that many of them won’t even require much time or money to achieve.

  • Study professional books and magazines.
  • Learn from friends, mentors, and colleagues.
  • Attend professional seminars.
  • Complete professional development programs.
  • Advance your education and training.

Steven Covey, in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, calls this habit “sharpening the saw.”  Covey explains that this requires you have “a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.”  We suggest you reflect on your own life to see how you can enhance all these key faucets.

Master Proven Marketing Techniques

One way to sharpen your axe is to learn how to better market your services and secure new clients.  Our Universal Practice Builder (UPB) program will enable you attract and retain more clients so that you can build a more lucrative practice.  Here’s just a sampling of what you will gain from enrolling in this phenomenal program:

  • A guarantee of $30,000 in new annualized billings in only 12 months
  • The skills to become a Profit Expert for each of your clients
  • 12 marketing strategies that you can implement immediately
  • A process which can produce 15 to 25 qualified leads per month
  • 3 months of coaching via telephone and Internet
  • Training to use QuickBooks to attract more clients
  • Access to a plan proven to help retain clients
  • 5 business assessments
  • A customized business website
  • An iron-clad guarantee

Mastering proven marketing techniques is a great personal investment!  Allow us to show you how.  Call 1-877-833-7908 today to enroll in the Universal Practice Builder Program.

Resource

Olson, Jeff.  “The Smartest Long-Term Investment is You.” 13 May 2014 Entrepreneur.com

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

What You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Prospective Buyers

client-centered-servicesWhat information would you most like to know about prospective buyers?  Most small-business owners would like to understand what makes them take the plunge into retaining financial services.  Understanding this would help many ensure that their marketing approaches, and the services they’re promoting, are more successful.

Recently Hinge Research Institute did a study with 1300 companies about what makes individuals retain professional services.  They discovered the following:

  • 21% of buyers felt that having a bottom-line impact was most important to them while only 2% of CPAs anticipated that as a prospective client’s most pressing concern.
  • 79% of buyers would like more services from their current provider.  Unfortunately, 48% of buyers admit they do not know which services sellers provide.
  • 69% of buyers are willing to recommend their service providers. If they don’t make a referral, 72% of the time it is because no one asked them to.
  • 47% of buyers felt that the best marketing approach was to have a reputation for producing results.
  • Only 8% of buyers felt cost was the most important criteria for selecting a provider.  

These are interesting statistics.  But what do they teach us?

  •  Buyers value specialized skill and expertise that positively impacts their bottom line.
  • Sellers do a poor job informing buyers about the services they offer.
  • Sellers don’t ask buyers to refer their services.
  • Buyers respond to marketing efforts that highlight a reputation for producing results.
  • And interestingly, when deciding between providers, cost is a minor consideration.  

So what’s the takeaway from this survey? Focus your efforts on ensuring that you promote services in a manner to which prospective clients will best respond.  Also, consider adding services to your offerings that current and prospective clients will value.  Because statistically speaking, clients are more likely to retain additional services, refer your practice, and respond to marketing efforts that highlight proven reputations for impacting a business’s bottom line, regardless of what it might cost them.

Add Small-Business Accounting Services to Your Menu!

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 

Taylor, Aaron.  “New Study Highlights: How Buyers Buy Professional Services.” HingeMarketing.com

Mistakes that Trigger Business Failure

You have probably heard the daunting news before: roughly 50% of new businesses fail within the first five years of operation.  If you’ve ever considered launching your own practice, that statistic has probably given you pause.  However, there are tangible things you can do to avoid the most common mistakes made by entrepreneurs.

In a recent Entrepreneur.com article, author Martin Zwilling lists the “10 Top Reasons Why First-Time Entrepreneurs Fail.”  We share five of those reasons here:

1. No written plan.  You’ve heard the old maxim, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  Perhaps you’ve spent hours dreaming about your business, imagining your achievements, and talking with friends and family about your goals, but without a business plan you aren’t giving yourself the opportunity to truly plan all the necessary details and build a foundation for your success.

2. Limited business opportunities.  Some entrepreneurs fail to perform the necessary market research that will help them determine whether or not the products and/or services they’ve selected are actually in demand.  Thankfully, whether it’s tax preparation or small-business accounting, financial services are not only in demand, but generally required by law.

3. Too much competition.  Again, this problem could easily be overcome with a little market research.  Before launching your business you must determine who your competition is and what makes them appealing.  Is there something you could offer that they don’t?  Only by studying your competition will you develop that necessary advantage.

4. Not enough marketing.  We get it!  Promoting services doesn’t come naturally to accountants and tax preparers.  But the truth remains: regardless of how skilled you are, your business won’t generate revenue without clients, and you won’t secure clients without a marketing plan.

 5.   Can’t execute.  As Zwilling explains, “When young entrepreneurs come to me with that ‘million dollar idea,’ I have to tell them that an idea alone is really worth nothing.  It’s all about the execution.  If you’re uncomfortable making hard decisions and taking risks, you won’t do well in this role.”

Above all, you must have the necessary skills and know-how to ensure your practice succeeds.  If you’d like to launch your own startup, we’d ask you to consider acquiring additional skills that will attract more clients and enable you to secure that competitive advantage.

Small Business Accounting

Small business accounting is a valuable niche market.  In fact, over 90% of accounting opportunities can be found in the small business arena.  Universal Accounting Center (UAC) has been training professionals like you in small business accounting for over 30 years because they recognize what many do not; most universities and trade programs are teaching students corporate accounting which isn’t preparing them for the typical, real-world accounting experiences they will encounter.

Becoming a small business accountant doesn’t require years of your valuable time.  UAC’s Professional Bookkeeper (PB) Program is not only reputable, but it’s self-paced, enabling a busy professional like you to take your time or complete the program quickly, in less than 60 hours.

Through this program, you will gain the confidence and skill necessary to start and manage nearly every client’s books, and when you have a question, our follow-up program enables you to call and ask one of our seasoned professionals.

QuickBooks Services

By why stop with accounting services?  Increase your business’s appeal by offering QuickBook services as well.  UAC’s Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide (PBG) to QuickBooks will help you master this accounting software, and once you do, you can offer QuickBooks setup, help and consultation services, charging $45 to $75 per hour.

Becoming a QuickBooks Specialist would provide you with numerous ways to bring in more business, increase your income, and make your job easier.  You’ll find companies who want to do their accounting tasks themselves, but need help configuring QuickBooks to meet their needs.  And once you’ve helped a company set up its initial QuickBooks system, who do you think they’ll turn to for help? You, of course! After all, you’ll have the training and expertise they’ll need whenever they run into a problem.

By turning your tax service into a full-service financial provider, you get your game on, working year-round for clients that not only need your services, but value them enough to tell their friends and family about your business!  Call 1-877-833-7909 to become the premier financial service provider your area!

 

Resource

Zwilling, Martin.  “10 Top Reasons Why First-Time Entrepreneurs Fails.”  14 September 2012

IRPAC’s 2013 Annual Report

tax-update
The IRPAC is a federal advisory committee that, using public forums, gathers information regarding reporting issues.  Members of the committee come from a cross-section of individuals from the professional community, including tax professionals, financial institutions, small and large businesses, universities and colleges, and securities and payroll firms.

Once a year they submit a report to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue which details new and existing issues needing attention.  Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said, “In their report, IRPAC members provide valuable feedback to the IRS on a wide range of information reporting issues.  Committee members have graciously offered their time and expertise.  The IRS will carefully consider their recommendations.”

Some of those recommendations include the following:

  • Extend truncation of taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) to employer identification numbers (EINs).
  • Expand the TIN matching program to permit matching on a greater number of return types.
  • Improve instructions to reduce errors on Form 1099-MISC.
  • Provide additional guidance with regard to merchant card reporting on Form 1099-K. 

The report also includes feedback on cost basis report for debt instruments and reporting requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Affordable Care Act.

You can access the full report on the official IRS website,

Universal Accounting Helps Tax Preparers Succeed

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

 

Resource

–. “IRPAC Issues Annual Report for 2013.” 11 December 2013 IRS.gov

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