Tax and Accounting Practice Package

Stop Delaying Your Dreams:Start Your Own Accounting and Tax Practice

Goals are dreams with deadlines. —Diana Scharf Hunt

It’s too easy to delay your dreams. The kids need your attention, there’s a stack of bills to pay, and your day job is exhausting. Unfortunately, the only thing you accomplish in procrastinating your dreams is to postpone your own happiness and success. Have you considered that the difficulty you associate with accomplishing the dream of starting your own accounting and tax practice may be exaggerated?Rebecca TheRebecca The finally decided she was going to quit her corporate job and open her own accounting practice. She wanted to focus on small business accounting and found Universal Accounting Center’s Professional Bookkeeper Program online.”As soon as I put in the tapes I felt enlightened,” Rebecca said. She went on to complete the course in April, 2003. She explained, “March 2005 was a banner month for me — I recorded over $10,000 in billings. I never would have imagined doing that well and that soon. I was never compensated that well by a corporation.”Wouldn’t you enjoy the flexibility, with both your finances and your time, of running your own business and doing some of those things you’ve always wanted to do? Because we’re certain your answer is “yes,” Universal Accounting Center has put together a package deal for people like you who dream of starting their own accounting and tax practice.

The Complete Package — What You Get

Here’s everything you need to start your own full financial service. We could share course descriptions and countless testimonials, but we know you’re more interested in what you’ll be getting . . .

The Professional Bookkeeper Program

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  • The opportunity to expand your business and become a full financial service provider
  • Practical training in small business accounting
  • Instruction on starting your own accounting practice
  • Helpful marketing tips designed specifically for the freelance accountant
  • The possibility of earning a professional designation
  • Flexibility in study; you work at your own pace and in your own time

The Professional Tax Preparer Certification

Professional Tax Preparer Certification Logo

  • Complete video training in full 1040 and business returns
  • Step-by-step instruction in starting a sole practitioner
  • One year follow-up support from expert tax preparers
  • Profitable fee calculations
  • Training in comfortable client-interviewing techniques
  • The possibility of earning a professional designation
  • Flexibility in study; you work at your own pace and in your own time

The Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to Intuit’s QuickBooks Pro

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  • Full training in the accounting software over 80% of small business owners use
  • The opportunity to expand your business by adding QuickBooks setup and consultation services to your menu
  • Tips on how to work less time and get more done
  • Instruction on setting up a company’s accounting books and building an accounting system from scratch
  • Free, unlimited email support
  • Flexibility in study; you work at your own pace and in your own time

Each time you expand your skill-set you expand your services. And when you expand your services you draw in more clients. By starting your own business as a full-financial service, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to truly succeed.Rebecca The is grateful that she didn’t delay her dreams. In fact, she went on to say, “I am finally living the life I envisioned for myself. With the increased earnings and flexibility of being my own boss, so far this year I have been able to take 2 trips to Maui. I have planned additional trips to Las Vegas, New England, and Singapore throughout the year. I have already booked a 50th wedding anniversary vacation with my parents to Maui next year on April 17. Universal Accounting gave me the practical skills to successfully reach my goals.”Wouldn’t you like to schedule your own life, much like UAC graduate Rebecca The? Stop delaying your happiness. Success could be one Universal package away. Order now and receive these three programs for one low price. Pencil in your dream today!

The Right Education Makes Financial Success a Reality

“60% of college graduates are moving back in with mom and dad within the first 12 months of graduation because they can’t find a job in their field.” I heard this interesting statistic the other day as I drove into the office. I wish I could remember the source, but it caused me to stop and think for a minute. A college degree doesn’t guarantee financial security like it once did. Whether you have a college or university education or not, what I heard on the radio is very consistent with a survey taken by the folks at Universal Accounting Center earlier this year. This survey includes people who have a formal education and those who don’t.100 graduates of the Professional Bookkeepers Program or Professional Tax Preparers Program surveyed 12 months after graduation:74% were working in the accounting or tax field, had been promoted to a management position, or owned their own accounting or tax preparation practice.

The “right” investment in yourself will create the income and lifestyle that you and your family deserve.

Tax preparation has really evolved over the years. Today, a Professional Tax Preparer is armed with more than just a scratch-pad and a pencil. As the tax code increases in complexity the need for specially trained and qualified Tax Preparers becomes more and more apparent.As a result, your education should take advantage of and reflect the impact that new technology has had on the industry and the profession.

5 Things Every Good Tax Preparation Education Must Have

1. Classroom or Distance Learning.At first glance, many would consider a classroom setting the most effective environment to learn in. For most of us, demands on our time require that school work around our lives, not the other way around. Have you ever tried to “rewind” a classroom lecture when you don’t understand a concept? Of course, you can sometimes ask questions, but with so many students in one class, often there just isn’t time to get to every question. Besides, we are often nervous to ask what others might think are “dumb” questions.Wouldn’t’t it be nice to be able to “rewind” and “review” topics to improve your confidence that you had a thorough understanding? DVD-based training makes that possible at a level that can’t be duplicated in a classroom.What if you miss a class because it doesn’t work with your schedule, can you make it up? Or do you fall behind? Unfortunately most classroom courses don’t offer make-up classes for students who have conflicts. You’re either there… or you’re not.When considering a distance learning program, a combination of video (DVD or VHS) and written material provides the most effective combination which not only replicates, but improves upon the classroom experience. Believe it or not, most distance learning programs out there that teach Tax Preparation provide you with a written textbook. And that’s it.2. Is a complete education important to you?To succeed it must be. Many programs available only teach you one aspect of tax preparation, and the least profitable one at that. You’ll typically learn about how the tax code affects individuals. But what about business taxes, where the real money is? A Tax Preparation education that only teaches you about half of the system, is only half of an education. Admittedly, there are a few programs that offer, for an additional fee, further education in business taxes, but it’s not their specialty.In looking for the “right” education, you need to get it from someone that will teach you mastery of personal taxes, and knows business taxes inside-and-out. Because, that’s what you’ll need to start your own Professional Tax Preparation business. CPA’s focus on business taxes. Why? Because that’s where the money is.3. Learn by doingMost Tax Preparation training materials focus on tax theory. Often, the difference between having some understanding and really mastering, is in the doing. There is no better way to understand what it’s all about to prepare taxes than by hands-on learning.I wouldn’t trust a doctor or surgeon who’s only experience came from reading a book or two …would you?By preparing sample returns, learning how to prepare taxes becomes much like learning how to ride a bike. It will not only become easier, but it will become automatic. The “right” education will include more than just “tax theory”.4. Who will answer my questions?With the best Video or Textbook training, there will still be questions. Will your Distance Learning course provide a way for those questions to be answered?

    • Is there telephone support?
    • Is there e-mail support?

After your coursework is completed and your working with clients, will they still support you? When you have questions, will they leave you to find the answers for yourself? We won’t.The “right” education will not only answer your questions via phone or e-mail while you’re taking the course, but provides the advice of qualified tax professionals to advise you through your first year as a Professional Tax Preparer. Even after you finish the course, your school should be there to support you so that you’re never left alone.5. Is your education guaranteed?When you attend a college, university or trade school, what guarantee do they provide that the training you receive will increase your income or create the lifestyle that you want? None.The “perfect” education will provide a guarantee that the information and instruction that you receive will create the kind of income and lifestyle that you are looking for.The “right” education will include a guarantee. Something that says, “We stand behind what we do, what we teach, and what your education will mean.”

“Education is learning what you didn’t know you didn’t even know.”-Daniel J. Boorstin

With the “right” information you can choose the “right” education. If you’d like to learn more about what it takes to become a Professional Tax Preparer or what’s involved in choosing the perfect tax preparation education, you’re only a couple mouse clicks away. Just follow the link below and find out what’s available for you in the exciting and rewarding business of Professional Tax Preparation.I want to learn more about a career in Professional Tax Preparation.

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!

Preparing for a Smooth Tax Season

Tax season is upon us and for many tax preparers that means a hectic work schedule with long days and countless client consults.  Regardless of your practice’s size, tax season can overwhelm even the most time efficient and well prepared. 

In order to ensure a smoother tax season, Edward Mendlowitz, Journal of Accountancy contributor and author of Managing Your Tax Season , suggests 12 procedures that will help you rise above the chaos.  Here we share 5 of Mendlowitz’s suggestions:

1. Schedule workflow. It’s important that you anticipate the number and complexity of returns you will be getting and schedule your staff and work days accordingly.  You should also anticipate return reviews—who will be performing them and how long will they take?  Mendlowitze suggests, “For corporate clients, schedule and prepare returns on a first-in, first-out basis.  Call clients and work out times for them to submit information.  …A two-week return policy can reduce the number of client calls, work in process, and scheduling problems, and can help speed up cash flow.”

2. Resolve bottlenecks and don’t let returns sit unattended. One of the best ways to improve tax-season efficiency is to examine your current procedures and resolve bottlenecks in order to streamline your process. Now is a good time to consider where returns get “stuck” and what you can do to ensure they don’t sit unattended. Often returns get side-tracked when clients must be contacted for information or verification.  Don’t put off resolving these issues in order to move forward.

3. Bill client when return is ready. Mendlowitz explains, “Unbilled tax returns are considered inventory in process.  The longer you have them, the less they are worth.”

4. Prepare estimated taxes for the current year when preparing an extension for a client. While the amounts are likely to change, completing this step will save you time in the long run, eliminating the need to remind yourself about the client’s position when estimated taxes are due.  And as Mendlowitze says, “It also helps the client plan cash flow.”

5. Ensure effective use of technology.  Sometimes purchasing new equipment can help you better manage tax data.  Do you need scanning software to help reduce paperwork and improve workflow?  Also, tax and accounting software can ensure a more efficient use of time, as long as you and your staff have been properly trained. 

Sometimes a little foresight is all you need to ensure a smoother tax season.  Try implementing these tips to see if that helps you better manage what might otherwise be a chaotic time of year.

Universal Accounting Center’s QuickBooks Training Can Help

In learning to optimize QuickBooks software, you’ll not only be able to ensure accurate tax returns in a more timely manner, but you can add an additional income stream to your tax practice.  You’ll find clients in need of QuickBooks training and help services.  You can charge $65 to $95 for your QuickBooks set-up and consultation services.  And once your help people get started, who do you think they’ll come to for help?  That’s right – YOU!  That means you’ll develop a QuickBooks client base that will be more likely to also retain your tax services.

UAC’s Guide to QuickBooks Pro will teach you how to do the basic transactions, how to reconcile accounts, what the program does with its data, and a basic understanding of fundamental accounting principles. We have also included about 18 hours of bookkeeping instruction and a complete detailed presentation of QuickBooks fundamentals. Call Universal at 1-877-833-7909 to begin streamlining your work flow this season!

 

Resource                                                           

Mendlowitz, Edward.  “Maximizing Tax Season Efficiency.”  January 2011  Journal of Accountancy Online

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