Starting Your Own Bookkeeping Service is Achievable, Profitable, and Easy (A.P.E.)

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.  Or should we say A.P.E.. 

Many imagine a potential startup as a difficult venture, one requiring more know-how, gumption, and drive than they may have.

Does that sound like you?  Are you worried that your dream of becoming self-employed and enjoying an improved lifestyle with increased earnings is too good to be true, or maybe not a good fit for you?  If so, it’s time you realized that starting your own bookkeeping practice is Achievable, Profitable, and Easy.  Don’t believe us?  Read on to find out just how true it is.

Achievable

You don’t need a four-year degree to do someone’s accounting.  In fact, many individuals who train at a university don’t learn the practical, day-to-day accounting functions required by many businesses.  That’s why the Professional Bookkeeper (PB) course is such a popular program that changes countless lives every year.  In just 60 hours, and with less money than you would probably spend on your summer vacation, you can learn all you need to know to launch your own bookkeeping practice: from starting a business’s books from scratch, to helping owners increase their profitability, to marketing your valuable services.  YOU can do this!

Testimonial: “This course is definitely NOT just an introductory course, although it is wonderful even for beginners. It is a comprehensive accounting and bookkeeping course that truly taught me everything I would need to know to start my own accounting business, and gain clients with confidence.” –J. Young

Profitable

We have a simple equation that will help you calculate how many clients you need to quit your day job and enjoy an improved lifestyle. Most clients bring in an average of $300 per month.  With 20 clients you’ll be earning $6000 per month, and with 25 clients you’ll be earning $7500.  That’s $72,000 to $90,000 per year.  How much are you earning right now?  How many clients would it take to replace that full-time income with contract accounting?  Once you start your own bookkeeping service, you determine your income by deciding how many clients you wish to serve.

Testimonial: “As an average for each client I am making about $30 – $50 an hour, I’ve been able to quit my full-time job. Thanks again to everyone at Universal Accounting Center! It has created for me a brighter outlook financially, as well as more free time in my personal life. And, I didn’t have to go to college for years and pay thousands of dollars for an education.”—S. Thomas

Easy

Whether you’re new to accounting or a seasoned accountant, the Professional Bookkeeper course will easily lead you through all the concepts necessary to run your own practice.  Now only that, but the Professional Bookkeeper’s hands-on approach will enable you to become confident in your ability to perform all necessary accounting functions.

Testimonial: This course has literally changed my life. When I started I hardly knew the difference between a debit and a credit. Now I have the confidence to tackle almost any type of business and do their books.—A. Moody

The Professional Bookkeeper (PB) Program

The PB Program is jam-packed with valuable features, and with UA’s Professional Bookkeeper Program, becoming a freelance accountant is much easier and more profitable than many have ever imagined.  And when you own a private practice, you have the professional freedom to set your own schedule, determine your earnings and call all the shots.

For more than 30 years Universal Accounting Center has been demonstrating just how easy this can be as long as you have the knowledge and skills necessary.  Let us share that with you.  It will make a difference in your life and the life of your family.

There’s no time like the present to change your future.  Enjoy the freedom of self-employment including the ability to achieve an increased salary, an improved lifestyle and the chance to do what you’ve always dreamed.  Call 1-800- 833-7909 to enroll in the Professional Bookkeeper Program today!

IRPAC’s 2014 Annual Report

advocate-reportThe Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC) is a federal advisory committee that, using public forums, gathers information regarding IRS 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.  IRS Commissioner John Koshinen said, “The IRS values the insight and perspective IRPAC provides.  The committee members have experience working with an incredibly diverse range of individual taxpayers and organizations both large and small.  Their feedback helps us improve tax administration for the nation, and we will study their recommendations closely.”

IRPAC recommendations include the following:

  1. An expansion of the TIN matching program to include filters of all nonwage information returns to which incorrect-TIN penalties apply. 
  2. The amendment of Revenue Procedure 2003-9 to provide that after filing an information return other than those types potentially subject to backup withholding, the filer may check the TIN furnished by the payee (or other recipient) against the name/TIN combination contained in the IRS Matching database and receive TIN validation information.
  3. The issuing of a Notice announcing relief from IRC § 6721 and § 6722 incorrect TIN penalties for all nonwage information return types that the TIN Matching Program may not be used to validate payee/recipient TINs.
  4. The addition of a checkbox to Form W-9 and Form W-4P which can be checked by the payee to indicate that permission has been granted to submit the payee’s name and TIN to the IRS TIN Matching Program for validation.
  5. The development of a new premium-level TIN Matching service (in addition to maintaining the current basic TIN Matching Program), that, while requiring an enrollment fee paid to the IRS, would process bulk files submitted through the information return filer’s account on the IRS secure site for information return filing. 

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

–. “Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee Issues Annual Report.” 29 October 201 IRS.gov

A Quick Tutorial on QuickBooks Help Features

word-interfaceUAC’s Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks is a tutorial-based course enabling students to master this popular accounting software.  In this article, we share a tutorial on QuickBooks Help System, taken directly from the course. 

Sometimes in QuickBooks you need help determining what forms to use or what to enter into those forms once you find them.  QuickBooks has a pretty good help system.  Some people are disappointed when they receive the QuickBooks software and realize that it didn’t come with a 1300 page user’s manual like they used to distribute in the good old days.  But to be honest with you, the help that’s available in the QuickBooks program itself is better and more complete than the assistance or help that we used to get in those 1300 page user manuals.

One thing that’s different in newer versions of the software is the position of the Help display.  If you click on Help and then select “QuickBooks Help” or press F1, help displays on the right-hand side of the screen.  To get help on something, click on this search topic and then type in a search phrase. In this example, we’re going to search for “job costing.”

Once you type in “job costing” and press enter, QuickBooks displays 15 different topics related to job costing.  You can view those different topics to see if any of them are helpful.  Let’s imagine you want “unbilled costs by job report.” You click on that link and QuickBooks tells you exactly how to get that report and what information should be on it.

The next Help feature that we want to talk about is the Learning Center Tutorials. To access these, go into Help and Learning Center Tutorials.  These are small videos that Intuit has created to help you understand how to use the program.  They’re very brief, but they provide an excellent overview.  Some of you might have your clients use them to get a general idea of how to use QuickBooks.

Let’s talk just a little bit about Support.  If you click on the support option, QuickBooks connects to the Internet and details the different support options available.  You have 30 days of free technical support when you first register your software, and that’s available immediately after you purchase it.  You can purchase support from Intuit as well.  You also might want to contact Universal Accounting Center to check on the support that we offer for QuickBooks and the Professional Guide to QuickBooks training program.

You can access QuickBooks Help in other areas of the program as well.  Our training includes complete details on how to take advantage of them all.

The Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide (PBG) to QuickBooks

If you found this tutorial useful, you’d probably like Universal’s Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks program which will teach you all this and more with training targeted for all user types.  Enhance your service offerings, streamline client information, and manage your own business finances even better!  Call Universal at 1 -877-833-7909 to enroll today!

Be Prepared Come the Filing Deadline

IRS Updates

Be Prepared Come the Filing Deadline

You have approximately three and a half weeks until the filing deadline. As you begin submitting returns it’s important to be aware of key IRS updates released in the past few months. Here are four for you to consider:

When Missing Form 1099

Depending on the types of income your clients receive, some may require 1099 forms when filing their taxes. Those responsible for paying that income are required to send 1099 forms by January 31, 2008. If your clients have yet to receive their 1099 forms they must contact the IRS at 800-829-1040.There are many forms in the 1099 series, including:

  • Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transaction.
  • Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distribution.
  • Form 1099-INT, Interest Incom.
  • Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Incom.
  • Form 1099-OID, Original Issue Discoun.
  • Form 1099-R, Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.
  • Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statemen.

While all 1099 forms are important to keep with your tax records, only those indicating income tax withheld are to be included with a return. For more information go to www.IRS.gov.If missing a W-2, ask your client to contact the employer to see if a “reissued statement” can be quickly processed. Otherwise, have the client contact the IRS at the number listed above. Notify your client that they are still obligated to file by the deadline even if they do not have the W-2. In such cases, you may use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement.

Inform Clients of Possible Email and Telephone Scams Using the IRS Name

At the beginning of the year the IRS released statements warning taxpayers to be aware of possible email and telephone scams claiming to offer advance payment checks from the IRS. Scams claiming to offer proposed government tax rebates have also begun to surface. The objective of such scams is to secure private financial information from taxpayers in attempts to commit identify theft. The following scams have already been brought to the IRS’s attention:

  • Rebate Phone Cal.
  • Refund e-Mai.
  • Audit e-Mai.
  • Changes to Tax Law e-Mai.
  • Paper Check Phone Call

Warn your clients not to click on any email links claiming to take them to the IRS’s homepage. Have them check with you before moving on any such claims for rebates or advance payment checks. Also ensure they are using the IRS’s proper URL. Any website claiming to be affiliated with the IRS ending in .com or .org is not an official IRS site. Advise your clients to visit www.IRS.gov.

Recently Married and Recently Divorced Clients

If any of your clients married or divorced in the 2007 tax year it is important to ensure they avoid name complications. The name on their tax return must match the name registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). A tax refund may be delayed if those names do not match.Before filing for a refund you must ensure these two records match. Inform clients that they cannot legally change their names unless the SSA has been properly notified, and this includes recently divorced individuals assuming on a previous name.The SSA records can easily be changed by filing Form SS-5 at the local Social Security office. Generally it takes two weeks for the name-change to be verified. For more information have your clients visit www.socialsecurity.gov or call 800-772-1213.

When Clients Move

Advise your clients to notify the IRS when they move to a new home or business address to ensure refunds or other IRS correspondence will follow them. They can do this in one of the following ways:

  • Tax Return. Update the address on the client’s tax return.
  • Form 8822. You can use this Change of Address form to submit a name or address change at any time through the year.
  • Written Notification. Submit written notification to the IRS to inform them of the address change. To do so, the IRS requires a full name as well as the old and new addresses, the SSN or employer identification number, and the client’s signature.
  • Verbal Notification. If you client is contacted by an IRS agent they may be allowed to change their address verbally.

To download Form 8822, Change of Address, visit the IRS Web site, www.IRS.gov, or call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

IRS Urges Required Preparers to Take Competency Test as Soon as Possible

Three years ago the Internal Revenue Service established the new tax preparer initiative requiring paid preparers to register and secure a PTIN, take a competency test, and engage in 15 hours of continuing education every year.  These requirements were established to provide the IRS with more oversight of the preparer industry while enhancing taxpayer compliance and service.

Now, on this important anniversary, the IRS is urging tax preparers to take the competency test as soon as possible.  And to remind taxpayers of the initiative highlights, the IRS has issued the following information in a recent press release.

Mandatory registration and use of a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN): Anyone who is paid to prepare, or help prepare, all or substantially all of a federal tax return now has to register with the IRS and obtain a PTIN, as do all enrolled agents. The PTIN is valid for a calendar year and must be renewed annually. Almost 850,000 preparers have registered since the requirement began.

Competency Test: In November 2011, a 120-question basic competency test was launched. Certain preparers are required to take the test by Dec. 31, 2013, to stay in business. The IRS urges an estimated 340,000 preparers required to take the test to do so as soon as possible to give themselves more time if they have to retake the test and to avoid a potential flood of last-minute test takers. Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents and attorneys are exempt from the test because they already have other testing requirements as part of their credentials. Certain non-signing preparers supervised by CPAs, EAs or attorneys are exempt, as are non-1040 preparers.

Continuing Education (CE): The roughly 340,000 preparers who have a testing requirement also have a new requirement to complete 15 hours of continuing education courses each year. The CE credits must include 10 hours in federal tax law, three hours in federal tax law changes and two hours in ethics. This requirement became effective January 2012 and it applies even if the preparer has not yet taken the test. There are now hundreds of outlets offering IRS-approved CE courses. Universal is an approved IRS continuing education provider.

Ethics and Tax Compliance: Ethical requirements that previously applied only to CPAs, EAs and attorneys now apply to all paid return preparers. All paid preparers also will undergo a tax compliance check and are subject to the standards for practice outlined in Treasury Department Circular 230.

Registered Tax Return Preparer: Preparers who pass the competency test and tax compliance check are given a new credential: Registered Tax Return Preparer. To date, over 4,800 people have become Registered Tax Return Preparers.  Beginning in 2014, only Registered Tax Return Preparers, Enrolled Agents, Certified Public Accountants, and attorneys will be authorized to prepare individual income tax returns for compensation.

Public Database: The IRS also will create a publicly searchable database that will allow taxpayers to see if their tax preparers have met IRS standards or to find a tax preparer in their zip code area. The IRS will have a public education campaign to inform taxpayers to use only CPAs, EAs, attorneys or Registered Tax Return Preparers if they pay to have their taxes prepared.

The database will also show any credentials held by the preparer, including the new RTRP credential, as well as those who are EAs, CPAs and attorneys.

Paid tax preparers can take the RTRP competency test from more than 260 vendor testing centers around the nation.  To determine whether or not you have a test requirement, visit your PTIN account at the IRS.

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!

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