December 7, 2007

How to Become A CPA

CPA is a designation that is given to accountants who have passed the National Uniform Examination and have also met other certifying requirements. CPAs have an outstanding knowledge of finance and their expertise is valued everywhere, from the industries using high-level technology to music or to the fast paced world of electronic commerce. This designation is considered as a stepping stone for any business career that you can imagine. CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs because a CPA has stringent state licensing that involves examination, education and experience. Students who are interested in business activities might want to explore the field of public accounting. Often they need to have a bachelor degree, but if you want to become a CPA you need to pass a series of rigorous tests that are administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. A career in this field requires a lot of skill, application of technology and aptitude. To become a CPA, you need skills related to problem solving and communication along with an outstanding knowledge of business. You need to have a license for practicing public accounting, usually issued by the state board of accountancy. There are variations in the licensing by the state, but the minimum necessary elements to qualify for the certification are:. You need to decide where you want to be licensed and then apply to that jurisdiction. The requirements to become a CPA and the obligations and rights of a licensed CPA are specified in the laws and regulations in 54 United States jurisdictions. . The next step is to review the Uniform CPA Candidate Bulletin. It is intended for people who are planning to take a Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination. It can help you in understanding the methods of applying, registering and taking the exam. It also offers general information related to preparation and content of examination. This bulletin can be accessed online.. The third step is to apply for the exam. The state boards of accountancy in several states in the US use CPAES as agents, whom you can either call or get in contact with through your board of accountancy. . Complete the application form, submit it and make the payment of fees. The form should be submitted with the other required documents to the proper address. Since the rules vary according to the jurisdiction, you need to follow the information about fee payment provided by your board. Your board of accountancy contacts you once the application has been reviewed. This initial application process takes six to eight weeks. . After applying and being deemed eligible you get a NTS (Notice to Schedule) for every exam section you are approved for taking. Schedule your test appointment once you receive an NTS. Take the exam as soon as you are ready. You have to complete a program of study in accounting from an accredited college or university. The AICPA is a national professional organization and it recommends at least 150 semester hours of college study. Some states even require the CPAs to take regular professional education courses to keep their skills sharp and retain the professional licenses.
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About the Author: Former IRS Agent offers California Estate Planning. CPA Firm Murrary and Young offers expert accounting consultation to those in and around the California Area. Visit

Tape Adding Machines - A Very Expensive, Unnecessary Addiction

The mechanical paper tape adding machines setting on corporate desks next to high priced personal computers are not normally thought of as an inordinate expense. In fact, it is my experience that those mechanical machines are considered by companies to be a necessity. Nothing, in my opinion, could be further from the truth on either count. Those antiquated, mechanical dinosaurs can actually be a very expensive and unnecessary addiction to which there is an inexpensive alternative.HypothesisMy hypothesis is that mechanical paper tape adding machines, or printing calculators, are no longer viable office equipment when they are sitting next to personal computers. Pencil and paper spreadsheets pretty much disappeared shortly after the advent of the personal computer. This migration of spreadsheets to software was seen as a very sensible move since electronic spreadsheets provided much more functionality in a very easy to use format.A similar migration, in my opinion, is long overdue for mechanical paper tape adding machines. With the availability of feature rich adding machine programs like myOwn10-Key, it no longer makes sense to continue using the costly, feature deprived mechanical devices. The electronic adding machines, like electronic spreadsheets, offer much more functionality in a very easy to use format. Electronic tapes also contribute significantly to the bottom line when compared to antiquated printing calculators.Analysis FactorsTo test my hypothesis, I did an ROI analysis of converting to myOwn10-Key for United Parcel Service. Why choose Brown? Because the UPS web site displays very detailed technical information for the company. The number I needed was a count of personal computers in use at UPS. As of Sunday, August 5, 2007, the number of LAN Workstations in use at UPS was listed on their web site as 149,000. That was the starting point for my calculations.Here are the other assumptions I needed to complete the analysis. I tried to be on the conservative side for all of these factors.* Percent of personal computers with a printing calculator sitting beside it - 30%.* Price of paper rolls - $8.48 / 12 pk.* How often a new paper roll is installed on each printing calculator - every 2 months (6 / yr).* Price of printer cartridges - $3.00 ea.* How many printer cartridges are consumed on each printing calculator - 1 / yr.* Percent of printing calculators replaced per year - 10%The cost of purchasing mechanical paper tape adding machines for new employees is not considered in this analysis. Also not considered in the additional cost of the power required to operate the mechanical adding machines.Annual Cost Of The DinosaursFor this analysis, I created an ROI analysis etape with myOwn10-Key. You can view the entire analysis etape in another browser window or tab by clicking on the "View eTape" link in the resource area at the end of this article. I encourage you to click on that link now so you can follow along on the etape.The etape calculates the annual expense of maintaining an estimated population of mechanical adding machines first seen on line 4. As seen in the first part of the etape (lines 1 through 33), the annual expense of maintaining the printing calculators, is, in my opinion, revealed as something much more than trivial. On line 33 you can see that the annual price tag for keeping all those mechanical tape adding machines on desks next to personal computers is just under $550,000.The next question is what would happen if those antiquated dinosaurs were replaced with a full featured adding machine program like myOwn10-Key? The remainder of the ROI analysis etape answers that question.Cost Of Converting To myOwn10-KeyOn lines 35 through 50 of the etape a quote is calculated for a site license for myOwn10-Key. I based this calculation on my 60-40 Plan which is available to large corporate customers. Under this plan, the price is based on 60% of the personal computer population being licensed. A 40% discount is applied. The site license is then issued for 100% of the PC population being considered.For this analysis, I'm assuming that UPS would want a site license only for those personal computers on which a companion mechanical adding machine is being replaced with myOwn10-Key. Company PCs that do not have a companion printing calculator are not included in the site license.As seen on line 48 of the ROI etape, converting to electronic tapes with myOwn10-Key has a very attractive, one time price tag of just over $320,000. The ROI period works out to about 7 months. This analysis illustrates that the savings to be realized from converting to myOwn10-Key can be substantial. Remember, these numbers are based on conservative analysis factors. The actual savings could be much more. These annual amounts fall straight to the bottom line.* Savings first year - $226,093.* Minimum savings each year thereafter - $547,128.In addition to these dollar savings, there are also environmental benefits. Not buying paper tape and ribbons in cardboard packaging means less pressure on our forests. And not throwing out broken machines and exhausted ribbon cartridges means fewer non-degradable plastics going into our landfills.Do Your Own AnalysisThese potentially large savings, plus the environmental benefits of converting from mechanical paper tape adding machines to myOwn10-Key are available to any large corporation. To find out what kind of savings your company can realize, download the myOwn10-Key ROI analysis etape (link provided below) and plug in your own values on the below tape lines. (The 60-40 Plan assumes a PC population of at least several hundred. There is a different discount schedule for smaller populations.)2 - Total PC Population3 - Percent of your PCs with printing calculators sitting beside them7 - Price you pay for each paper roll 12 pack13 - Average number of paper rolls consumed by each calculator each year19 - Average number of ribbon cartridges installed in each calculator each year20 - Price you pay for each printer cartridge25 - Estimate of the percent of your calculators that are replaced each year26 - Estimated cost you pay for new printing calculatorsWhen any of the above values are changed on the etape, the entire etape is recalculated. The lines on the etape that are highlighted in blue and green (when the etape is opened in myOwn10-Key) are Master/Derived Values. These lines are linked such that updated subtotals cascade to following sections on the etape.(If you do not have a copy of myOwn10-Key, download a copy from my web site. You can use the program free in evaluation mode for 30 days.)ConclusionIn my opinion, mechanical paper tape adding machines are a costly, outdated addiction. Migrating the adding machine functionality to electronic adding machine software, like myOwn10-Key, makes excellent business sense both from cost and environmental perspectives. I think it's time the mechanical paper tape dinosaurs faded into the same sunset where pencil and paper spreadsheets disappeared almost 30 years ago.
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About the Author: George Gilbert writes software for personal computers. View eTape: myOwn10-Key ROI Analysis (60-40 Plan)Download eTape: myOwn10-Key ROI Analysis (60-40 Plan)Web Page: myOwn10-Key

How to Eliminate the Frustration from a Small Business Owner

If you are the owner of the small business company you always have heaps of work, regarding your company finances. The fact is there and still do you need to go to the professional to take the stress off your shoulders?Visiting with your personal accountant is similar to going to your dentist. Time is money; the longer you delay your visit the more it will cost you.First you need to know how to set up your business and to consider advantages and disadvantages of every business entity (LLC, Partnership or C Corporation, etc).You can spend many hours away from your business learning about entities on your own or you can hire a specialist who saves you time and gives you qualified advice on how to protect your hard-earned money. But any way you are the specialist in your business, and to be competitive in your field you need to invest a lot of time. At the start, most of the entrepreneurs work in average of 12 hours a day. In addition to your business can you learn everything about accounting and then handle it? Most likely the answer is no. Your business' finances are vital for your success, and your needs are unique. At the Me My Money and I, we take your individuality seriously, focusing on your business' special situation and needs.To make the right financial decisions for your company, you need Financial Statements; Balance Sheets, Income Statements and Statement of Cash Flow for every month of the business activity.All of them are concerning to the company financial reports. What do you know from these financial reports are briefly described below.From the Balance Sheet reports know what your company owns and what does it owe. Other words, you know your company resources and obligations of your company.From the Income Statement reports you know the economic performance of a company for the given period. Other words, you know your gross and net income.From the Statement of Cash Flows reports you know the amount of cash generated and consumed by a company through the following three types of activities: operating, investing and financing.The statement of Cash Flows is the most objective of the financial statements because it is somewhat insulated from the accounting estimates and judgments needed to prepare a balance sheet and an income statement.Real world and real understanding of your company finance goes beyond numbers on a page to show to a small business owner how accounting and bookkeeping come into play in your company. Without good bookkeeping service you can not plan ahead (business planning), get organized, stay informed on the financial matters of your company, avoid costly mistakes, reduce costs and save time. Why do small business firms fail? Not always because of competition but because of lack of financial information. You are making money, but where do they go to? What is the main outsourcing of your finance? The right answer gives you a huge benefit for your company.Other benefits you are getting if you go to a professional accountant are the ability to focus on your core business, getting organized, staying informed, avoiding costly mistakes, reducing costs and saving time and improving your cash flow.And one more great benefit is the good timing because all these benefits work only if performed in the right time. Timing is the key to your business's success. With the help of a qualified bookkeeper and accountant you will have it under control and making the most profit.Running a successful business takes more than just hard work but also making sure your hard work is profitable. Good record keeping provides you the solid foundation needed for excellent business growth.Your company's reliable financial information eliminates the frustration from your small business company and your financial reports become the powerful tools for surviving in today's business world.
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About the Author: Luda Yazykova helps new business owners to understand the necessity of hiring a professional bookkeeping service. Get the understanding of importance of company finances reports and use them for your business to expand at my website which is at

Through A Microscope - Look Who's Watching Now! (Part 3 of 3)

This article examines the impact on taxpayers and appraisers as well as their advisors of the new Federal provisions of the Pension Protection Act. For appraisers performing valuations for federal tax purposes in accordance with the Pension Protection Act (PPA), signed into law in August 2006, stipulates new penalties and stiff sanctions if the appraisers or appraisals fail to meet the new qualifications. The Implications for AppraisersAppraisers are now required to operate under quite a few important professional accountabilities. In varying federal tax matters, highly inaccurate appraisals would be subject to substantial monetary penalties, in some cases, forfeiting of 125 percent of the appraiser's fee. Appraisers need to be aware of the declarations and announcements of the IRS disciplinary office, which has significantly enhanced standards of appraiser conduct, and to bar from appearing before the IRS those appraisers who fail to adhere to the set standards. The investigative process can result in an appraiser being placed on the disqualification list. As such they can not reapply to the Office of Professional Responsibility for recertification to practice for five years. However, even if they are granted the authority to practice in five years, they are still unable to submit large appraisals to the IRS for another three years due to the qualified appraiser requirement of not being on the disqualified list for the three years prior to the appraisal being performed.I believe that the appraisal industry, tax advisors and taxpayers should expect the regulatory regime over valuation work to continue to expand in the near future.The Implication for TaxpayersThe new regulations have outcomes not only for the appraisers but for the taxpayers and their advisers as well those who hire appraisers in connection with planning transactions and filing returns.The taxpayers and their advisors now need to put in extra effort to select an appraiser who is knowledgeable and experienced enough to steer clear of any violation of Section 6695A or Section 6701 or any other ethical norm. This is necessary because once an appraiser is disqualified all appraisals previously prepared by the appraiser (whether they gave rise to the disqualification or not) become disqualified in the eyes of the IRS. In other words, the appraiser's work will not be accepted by the IRS as a result of the disqualification. Consequently, it becomes important for taxpayer to select an appraiser based on the quality of work performed, the background and experience of the appraiser so they do not run into problems at a later date. The cliche "you get what you pay for" seems to come to mind when I read through this provision.Considerations for SurvivalIt is clear that appraisers need to be extra cautious and avoid all temptation to fall into the net of penalties cast by the PPA. In the light of this new law it is necessary to collect and organize all case information strictly based on facts. Appraisers must focus on arriving at their conclusions via a reasonable, objective path in accordance with the valuation standards. Other factors to consider and integrate into the valuation process include the following:1. Don't be an advocate for the client's position.2. Don't value an entity or asset that is outside your area of expertise or authority.3. Disclose all known, relevant facts in your report4. Obtain a representation letter from your client on key issues/assumptions.5. If you feel pressure or are being influenced to arrive at a preconceived value or result, do not take the engagement, or remove yourself from it.6. Use an appropriate, extensive information gathering process.One way to move a long way down the road of avoiding be captured in the net of penalties cast by PPA is to have an organized manner in which to collect information, data and facts surrounding the case. By using a detailed process you will gain the ability to create a fact specific and fact supported conclusion based specifically on the information related to the client and case at hand.We use a secure, automated web-based interview questionnaire. This tool has an initial base of 105 questions in multiple categories. All questions are editable and additional questions may be added as needed. We can modify the questionnaire so it is specific to a client, to allow for unique questionnaires for each client. We have found that the use of a questionnaire process such as this provides all of the initial information prior to the site tour and management interview to allow for a highly focused and more productive site tour and management interview process.No matter what interview or questionnaire tools you decide to use by considering the following factors (which are included in the automated web-based interview questionnaire) you will be in a much better position to support your conclusions and in developing an appropriate value based on the specific facts in a case. 1. Basic information such as valuation date, purpose, intended use, valuation date and standard of value as well as a list of data requested for the valuation. 2. Entity information as to capital and legal structure such as, C-Corporation, S-Corporation, Partnership, Proprietorship, LLC, LLP, FLP. 3. Company history including,(a) product lines/services, (b) customers, (c) locations, (d) marketing activities, (e) distribution methods, (f) employees, (g) acquisitions, and (h) ownership. Other categories include questions related to: 1. Prior transactions, 2. Products or services, 3. Customers, 4. Competition, 5. Suppliers, 6. Operations, 7. Intangibles, 8. Sales, 9. Marketing, 10. Management, 11. Industry, 12. Economy, 13. Financial information 14. Related party information 15. Company expectations and 16. Litigation & claims. By focusing your data collection efforts in a detailed organized fashion and constructing your conclusions in a reasonable, objective fashion while satisfying the requirements of the established valuation standards, you will find that you will substantially reduce your exposure to the penalty provisions and the teeth of the Pension Protection Act.Prevention is better than cure. By adhering to norms and being organized and cautious about the whole process would ensure that you have nothing to fear. Educating yourself about the new law and its implications will further minimize your chances of getting in the way of PPA radar and getting penalized heavily.
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About the Author: Mel Abraham CPA, CVA, ABV, ASA, CSP - author & Adjunct Professor (USD Law School. Further, for access to an audio presentation on IRS penalties and the PPA visit He can be reached at

Through A Microscope - Look Who's Watching Now! (Part 1 of 3)

This article examines the impact on taxpayers and appraisers as well as their advisors of the new Federal provisions of the Pension Protection Act. For appraisers performing valuations for federal tax purposes in accordance with the Pension Protection Act (PPA), signed into law in August 2006, stipulates new penalties and stiff sanctions if the appraisers or appraisals fail to meet the new qualifications. The BackdropThe Congress and IRS, to safeguard the U.S. tax system and force taxpayers to straighten up, have introduced new rules and restrictions that impact lawyers and accountants as well as taxpayers. The Pension Protection Act (PPA) of 2006 establishes severe penalties for unethical conduct on the part of accountants involved in federal tax information consultancy to private firms.Previously, the government's targets for tax abuse were various corporate transactions. But now it has trained its guns on the venerable charitable contribution deduction as well. The act attempts to prevent overvaluing the property given to charity to take advantage of the fair market value deduction. According to Section 170(f)(16)(B), Congress has invited the IRS to stop the deduction completely. In the middle of the gun battle are the appraisers who opine for the taxpayers about the values of property that they give to charity.Qualified appraisersPPA also requires that appraisals need to be prepared by qualified appraisers.1 A qualified appraiser is defined in the Act to mean a person who has earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional organization or has met minimum education and experience requirements established by the Treasury Secretary through regulations. An appraiser will not be treated as a qualified appraiser unless the appraiser demonstrates verifiable education and experience for valuing the type of property subject to the appraisal. Also, the appraiser must not have been prohibited from practicing before the IRS at any time during a three-year period prior to the date of the appraisal.To sum it up, it is now required that an appraiser valuing property for charitable deduction must be trained and experienced and a vague representation by the appraiser will no longer suffice.Appraisal Impact on Charitable ContributionsPPA has led to an increase in mandatory requirements for appraisals and appraisers to meet Internal Revenue Code Section 170, which covers charitable requirements.It is now required that all claimed deductions in excess of $5,000 must be accompanied by a "qualified appraisal." The regulations have duly defined the terms "qualified appraisal" and "qualified appraiser."All appraisals to qualify must fully comply with Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Those that do not fully comply but are "consistent with the substance and principles of USPAP also satisfy this requirement.Qualified Appraiser:According to the Act for a person to be a "qualified appraiser" must meet 5 requirements as laid down in the code. According to these requirements, an appraiser must:1. Have earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional appraiser organization2. Demonstrate "verifiable education and experience" in valuing the type of property subject to the appraisal3. Regularly performs appraisals for compensation4. Not appear on the IRS's disqualification list at anytime during the three years prior to the date of appraisal5. Meet other requirements [to be] prescribed by SecretaryHowever there is an exception available to taxpayers when the appraiser fails to meet the Act's rigorous requirements. The denial of the deduction is inapplicable "if it is shown that the failure to meet such requirements is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect."Further, Notice 2006-96 states that the designation must be "awarded on the basis of demonstrated competency in valuing the type of property for which the appraisal is performed." Additionally, the Notice notes that alternative education and experience requirements are met if the appraiser has done each of the following:1. Successfully completed college or professional level course work that is relevant to the property being valued.2. Gained at least two years experience in the trade or business of buying, selling or valuing the type of property being valued.3. Fully described his or her relevant education and experience in the appraisal.Prevention is better than cure. By adhering to norms and being organized and cautious about the whole process would ensure that you have nothing to fear. Educating yourself about the new law and its implications will further minimize your chances of getting in the way of PPA radar and getting penalized heavily.
Article Source:
About the Author: Mel Abraham CPA, CVA, ABV, ASA, CSP - author & Adjunct Professor (USD Law School. Further, for access to an audio presentation on IRS penalties and the Pension Protection Act visit He can be reached at

Through A Microscope - Look Who's Watching Now! (Part 2 of 3)

This article examines the impact on taxpayers and appraisers as well as their advisors of the new Federal provisions of the Pension Protection Act. For appraisers performing valuations for federal tax purposes in accordance with the Pension Protection Act (PPA), signed into law in August 2006, stipulates new penalties and stiff sanctions if the appraisers or appraisals fail to meet the new qualifications. New Appraiser PenaltyThe new regulations have started to have a unsettling effect on the appraisers, primarily because it raises many questions, including what kind of tax (gift and estate tax, income tax, or both) is affected, and who may be hit by penalties.Further, PPA added the new Section 6695A to the Internal Revenue Code. Section 6695A includes new penalties, which are pertinent to appraisers of property for income and transfer tax purposes.New penalties are applicable to appraisals provided in connection with returns or claims for refunds filed after August 17, 2006. Penalties are applied when the appraised value of property deviates from the correct value by certain set percentages as follows:"Substantial Misvaluation" (income tax environment): 150 percent or more off of actual value."Gross Misvaluation" (income or transfer tax environment): 200 percent or more off of actual value in an income tax case or 40 percent or less in a transfer tax case. Appraiser penalty applies for appraisals prepared for returns or submissions filed after the date of enactment.Amount of PenaltyRather than the aiding and abetting penalty under section 6701 (generally limited to $1,000), appraisers are now subject to a penalty equal to over $1,000 or 10 percent of the underpayment attributable to the valuation misstatement, up to a maximum of 125 percent of the appraisal preparation fee (gross income) received by the appraiser. Levying new penalties requires certain criteria to be fulfilled, including:1. Appraiser must prepare an appraisal only in connection with a return or a claim for a refund.2. Appraiser needs to know that the appraisal will be used for the above mentioned purpose.3. Appraisal must result in a substantial valuation misstatement or gross valuation misstatement.Misvaluation thresholds have been lowered, and also apply to estate and gift tax appraisals.A substantial valuation misstatement arises if the value is 150 percent of the correct value. For example, if an income tax charitable deduction of $90,000 is claimed by a tax payee, based on an appraisal of a painting that the payee donates to a museum, and the correct value of the painting is later determined to be only $30,000, penalties would be enacted upon the appraiser section 6695A. In the case of estate or gift tax, a substantial misstatement occurs if the value exceeds the correct value by 65 percent or more. For example, if an appraiser applies a 45 percent discount for a going business with an underlying value of $100,000 for a value of $55,000. If the IRS and court determine that the discount should have only been 15 percent, the correct value would be $85,000. The appraised value is only 64.7 percent (i.e., less than 65 percent) of the "correct" value. As a result, a 20 percent substantial-understatement penalty would be levied on the appraiser's fee.A gross valuation misstatement occurs if the value exceeds the correct value by 200 percent or more. In the case of gift or estate tax, a gross valuation misstatement occurs if the value used is 40 percent or more of the correct value.As penalties under section 6695A are far more severe than prior to PPA, appraisers may be more conservative and might be forced to choose to restructure or raise their fees; although as described above, the more gross income an appraiser derives from an appraisal, the larger the potential penalty. For example, an appraiser prepares an appraisal which he knows will be used to support an income tax deduction for a charitable contribution of the subject property. He charges $6,000 as the appraisal preparation fee. He values the property at $1 million, resulting in an income tax benefit from the deduction of $300,000. The correct value is $600,000, resulting in an income tax benefit from the deduction of $180,000. The appraiser is subject to penalty in this case as the claimed value of $1 million is more than 150 percent of the correct value of $600,000 (i.e., $900,000). According to PPA guidelines, appraiser's penalty in this case is $7,500 (125 percent of the $6,000 fee), because this is less than 10 percent of the tax underpayment (10 percent of 120,000, or $12,000).The new penalties imposed under section 6695A create a non-uniform field for appraisers engaged by taxpayers and appraisers engaged by the IRS. Taxpayer appraisers are likely to be under the scanner of PPA and face penalties if their appraisals are later rejected. On the other hand, IRS appraisers face no similar penalties no matter how far their appraisals are from the values finally determined for tax purposes.The penalty will not apply if the appraiser establishes to the satisfaction of the IRS that the value established in the appraisal was more likely than not the proper value. However, given the magnitude of the trigger point percentages, it would be unlikely to prove a "more likely than not" standard when the magnitude of difference is 40 percent or 200 percent.Prevention is better than cure. By adhering to norms and being organized and cautious about the whole process would ensure that you have nothing to fear. Educating yourself about the new law and its implications will further minimize your chances of getting in the way of PPA radar and getting penalized heavily.
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About the Author: Mel Abraham CPA, CVA, ABV, ASA, CSP - author & Adjunct Professor (USD Law School. Further, for access to an audio presentation on IRS penalties and the PPA visit He can be reached at

Debt Collection for Business Success

Every business functions of the basis of sales and payments. It is not possible to run a successful venture if debts are not recovered. There is no place for charity when it comes to business. Hence, there should be strict measures to recover the money that lies pending with a number of clients.There are difficulties involved in trying to recover one's debts. And red tape is seen even in the best of business organizations of the modern world. Yet, as a business organization, you cannot afford to let go of a particular payment. Only in special cases should debts be written off at all.Debt management is certainly not an easy task. People who are indebted to you (and this is true of organizations as well) tend to become difficult to get hold of. Even those who used to call several times every day, now become as rare as blue moons. Yes, the idea of money changing hands does result in some changing attitudes.Sometimes, if your own people are not being too successful at recovering your organization's money, it might be a good idea to get help. Contact a company that provides accounts receivables services if you want to get back your own investment sooner rather than later.Accounts receivable services are also convenient for those that owe the money. Often enough, it is not the unwillingness to pay that gives rise to delayed payments. Sometimes, several difficulties may be involved. Collection services make it easier for even the debtor to make good on the amount that he owes. Moreover, debt collection is a major headache for any business. If this function is farmed out to some other organization, there can be nothing like it. This leaves the former with sufficient time and energy to pursue some more profitable ventures.In today's world, one cannot afford to get sucked into the maze of red tape and delays. If one does, there are various ways in which to get out of it. Collecting payments is hard and odious work at times. However, firms need to be smart about how they make use of their time.There is great value to be earned by placing the responsibility of debt collection in the hands of a reliable outsider. It relieves you of the headache and also makes great business sense. Sometimes there is only harm in allowing yourself to get mired in a task that you know nothing about. Getting outside help can be a boon at times.
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About the Author: A good business needs to avail of effective accounts receivables services. Come to us for debt management and for our collection services.

Secrets of the Family Budget Plan

With the rising cost of everyday items today creating a family budget plan is becoming more and more important to keep track of where your family's money is going. Making your money work for you is the ultimate goal of any budget, but you need to be patient if you have never made a budget before.Most financial problems, both personal and family, are a result of poor budgeting skills or the failure to follow the budget that is made. This is true of people in all income ranges. If you want financial freedom you need to be bale to track your assets and liabilities and your income and expenses.The fact is that people of all income levels have the same struggles with money. People who earn thousands of dollars per pay check can have the same financial problems as those who earn just a thousand dollars per pay check. The problem isn't the amount of money one makes at their job; it's their behavior with their money once they get that paycheck. And the financial behavior of the majority of people is very poor.A family budget plan is nothing more than a cash flow plan. A plan for your money. We make plans for everything else, from where we are going on vacation to blueprints for houses, but we seldom make a plan for our money. And if there is no plan then your money does not know what it is supposed to do other then get spent on stuff.A good budget, once you get the hang of it which can take around three months, should take all of your family income and outgoing expenses into consideration. There should be a balance between the income and expense side of the equation. If not then it is time to start finding areas to cut back on. As you work your budget over time it should free up enough money that you can start making allowances for savings and retirement accounts.The first step of any family budget plan is writing down on a piece of paper your total monthly income and your total monthly expenses. When writing down your expenses be sure to include everything from your biggest payment to the smallest expense. Subtract the expenses from the income and see if anything is left over. If not then you can start looking at the expense column and start cutting out unnecessary items that are costing money that could be better put to use else where.If you have money left over you need to seriously consider where this money needs to go. If you have debts such as credit cards or car payments it is wise to put some or all of this money towards paying them down. If you have no extra debts start saving and investing. Before long you'll have a nice little nest egg built that will secure your family's future.If you are having trouble keeping within your family budget plan here are four quick tips that can help you meet your goals.1. Keep a log book or ledger where you can list you income and expenses on a daily or weekly basis. One of the hardest things for most people is keeping track of their daily money habits.2. When buying groceries make a list before you go and buy all your groceries at one time. Make sure to stick to your list and do not buy things that are not on it.3. Don't go to the store if you do not need to buy necessary items. Impulse buying is a budgets worst enemy.4. If you are tempted to buy something think about it before you make that purchase. For large items over $300 or so take a day to think it over. Chances are you don't really need whatever it is.
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About the Author: To learn more about building a family budget plan please visit the website Household Budgets by clicking here.

7 Tips for Creating a Family Budget

For many people creating a family budget is an exercise in frustration. Where to start, how to set it up, should I use budgeting software? Are all questions that nearly everyone asks? And then when they do get it set up and start tracking the money coming in and the money going out something happens. An emergency or an impulse buy that screws the whole thing up.Unfortunately the majority of people give up on their family budget before they ever give it a chance to do what it is supposed to do. One thing everyone needs to understand is that a budget is not a rigid thing. It is flexible and needs to allow for those unintended purchases or emergencies that life is full of. And if you stick with it before long it will be a cash flow planning device you cannot live without.That's all a budget really is, a cash flow plan for your money. That's right, your money, which should be working for you, not the other way around. A budget allows you to track your income and expenses, giving each dollar a task each and every month. This gives you a good picture for paying bills, setting aside savings, and planning for the future.If you are having trouble creating a family budget here are 7 tips you can use to make the process easier. Get a piece of paper and list out income on one side and expenses on the other.1. Calculate your monthly income by gathering three months worth of pay stubs and averaging the monthly earnings.2. Figure out your monthly bills by averaging the last three months worth. Do this for expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities, phone bills, car payments or other fixed monthly expenses. You can also do this for those monthly expenses that move up and down from month to month such as credit card bills and groceries.3. Subtract your monthly expenses from you income and see if you have any money left over. You will start to see areas where you might be spending too much money and can cut back on. This can free up money for other purposes.4. Now that you have everything listed out in front of you you can start assigning certain amounts of money to certain expenses. As you make those payment note them in your budget to see if you are staying on track.5. As you find ways to cut expenses you can also start designating a certain amount of money that goes into savings or retirement accounts every month.6. Your first budget may not work out quite right. It takes most people around three months to start getting their budget working. Be patient and keep working at it, before long it will become second nature and you will have control over your money.7. Once you have a good grasp on your hand written budget look into getting personal budgeting software such as Quicken or Microsoft Money. This will make your budget much easier to work with and they offer additional feature that can help you plan your financial future.These are the basic steps for creating a family budget that will get you started and on your way to taking back control of you financial life. If you stick with it before long you will start to realize how much money you used to waste and how much better it feels to know where your money is going and how it is working for you.
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About the Author: Andrew Bicknell researches and writes on a variety of subjects. To learn more about creating a family budget please visit his website Household Budgets by clicking here.

Learning how to Budget Money

As we grow from children through the teenage years and into young adults we are taught many things, both from our parents and through school, but the one thing the vast majority of people are never taught is how to budget money. Unfortunately this is the one skill that everyone needs to know. Keeping a proper budget and tracking what your money is doing is the best way to stay out of debt and build wealth.Money is a powerful tool in life, if we learn to make it work for us. Most people work for their money but once they have it, in their paycheck, more often then not they do not keep track of it once it hits their checking account. Writing down expenditures in the check book register is not keeping track of your money because once it is written in there it is never looked at again.Learning to budget your money is an important step in your financial health. Once you have written down your income and expenses you will start to see where you money is going and some of it may surprise you. It will be the small expenses that add up the quickest. Spending five dollars on lunch everyday, or that morning coffee you get on the way to work can add up to several hundred dollars a month. That is money that could be doing more good if used more wisely.Let's put some math to that. If you spend 5 dollars for lunch a day during the work week that's $25 a week or $100 a month, give or take $5. Over the course of a year that's $1200 spent on lunches. If you start adding all the other small expenses that occur every month before long you may find you have enough to pay off any debt you may have but also start saving towards a healthy financial future.The first step to learning to budget money is writing everything down. Start with you monthly income and write that down at the top of a piece of paper. Now you know how much money you have to spend through the month. Start figuring up all your monthly expenses. This includes everything from your mortgage and utility payments, car payments, credit cards on down to the smallest expenditures. Write these down keeping them in specific categories. Subtract your expenses from you income and see what's left. This is your first budget because it shows you what your money has been doing every month. Now that you do indeed have a budget you can look at it becomes much easier to not only see where the money is going but also take back control of where the money is going. And when that happens you can start to set goals, both short term and long term, for your money.It will take some time to get your money budget dialed in. Most people say that if they stick with it they start to get a firm grasp on their budget and money situation in about 3 months. If you never learned to properly budget money the best way to get started is to just get started.
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About the Author: Andrew Bicknell researches and writes on a variety of subjects. For more information about learning to budget money please visit his website Household Budgets by clicking here

Why You Need Money Budgeting Software

With the credit card society we live in today keeping accurate track of expenditures is very important. People forget that they are spending money when using a credit card and in most cases those who use credit cards spend 18-20 percent more on a purchase then if they were using cash. In the end they end up spending more then they can afford.Because of this many financial experts agree that using a budget can help most consumers start to take back control of their financial situation. A budget gives them the ability to manage their income and expenses and get out of and avoid the debt that plagues most people these days.Unfortunately many people are budget challenged. They have a hard time just getting a budget started much less following one. They feel that if they just had some help they could more easily come up with a reliable and workable budget.Money budgeting software was created for anyone interested in making and following a budget, but it can be a great use to those who have trouble setting up and following a written budget. The power of a budget software package is such that anyone can use it and there is almost nothing about their finances that they cannot track.Today's budgeting software takes all the guess work out of tracking income and expenses, along with credit card bills, savings accounts, mortgages, retirement plans and a whole lot more. With different ways to look at your finances through graphs and spreadsheets you can easily keep track of where your money is going and how to best make it work for you.Here are three big ways that money budgeting software can help improve your personal or family financial situation.1. You can track you expenses very accurately. Budgeting software is very adaptable to each individual situation and will evolve with you as your financial needs change over time. Keeping track of you cash flow, both incoming and outgoing, is of primary importance when it comes to taking charge of your financial future.2. Future projections. This is one area that budget software excels at. It can give you a look at your financial future if you follow your budget and all it entails. By projecting different budgeting scenarios you can easily choose the type of financial future you wish to have.3. Take control of your money. Many people work for their money, but once they have their paycheck they do not allow their money to work for them. Without an accurate picture of cash flow it is hard to keep control of your financial situation.Money budgeting software can give you the control you need to keep your expenses under control. This will give you the ability to have your money work for you in such a way that your financial future will be secure.
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About the Author: For more information about money budgeting software please visit the website Household Budgets by clicking here.

The Facts About Accounting and Accountancy

Oftentimes when I meet someone for the second or third time, they say, arent you in accounting? While I am into accounting, which is the methodology and measuring aspect of my work, the profession as a whole is better labeled as accountancy.Accountancy is the profession and accounting it the methods by which accountants measure, track and report on financial information so that resource allocation decisions can be made by, well, whoever the decision makers are.For a small business owners personal finances, as an example, I may be measuring the finances of a few people (the family), and reporting the necessary information to the small business owner. In this situation, the decision maker is the small business owner and his decisions involve deciding how much money he has to put toward family necessities.Generally speaking, there are two main types of accounting. There is financial accounting and there is auditing. Financial accounting typically involves processing of financial information about a business operation where information is recorded, organized, summarized, interpreted and finally communicated.Auditing, on the other hand, is there process that an independent auditor examines accounting records and financial statements so that he or she can express a professional opinion about the financial records and answer questions about projections.At the heart of accountancy lies the need to take stock of the day to day state of various sales and expenses. In the modern world when many contracts are partially fulfilled at varying times, bookkeeping is the only way to know where you and your business stand in the greater scheme of things.If you operate your own small business, you may be able to do just fine with some accounting software. Take a look around for some flowchart templates. These can make monthly financial recording and reporting, dare I say it, fun. Simply enter in the various types of income and expenses, then each subsection updates the appropriate fields. Before you know it youve got proof that all bills have been allotted for and youve got your bottom line.If you find you can manage your business finances on your own, then, by all means, stick with the system that you know works for you. If, however, you start running into complications that make it hard for you to see where discrepancies are coming from, it may be time to enlist the services of a professional accountant.Talk with colleagues and friends. You may know someone that knows a tax accountant or other type of financial consultant who may be willing to look over your taxes for a friendlier rate than if you were to cold call them.
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About the Author: For more articles and information or to view a selection of accounting articles and information and budgeting articles and information visit - Your source for free Articles, Information and Website Content.

The Facts About Medical Billing Companies

The service offered by these companies serves as the key for a doctor, or any healthcare provider for that matter, to get paid. The healthcare industry in America is alive and well, but in spite of this, many doctors and other healthcare providers dont have any idea how to get themselves paid quickly and efficiently. The answer, of course, lies in insurance. And how are insurance claimed? This is where medical billing companies come in.Medical billing companies are the ones who would submit claims to insurance companies in order to receive payment for services rendered by a healthcare provider. The process is basically the same for most insurance companies, regardless of whether they are a private company or a government-owned one.The Billing ProcessEssentially, the first step to jumpstart the whole billing process is the patients office visit. The healthcare provider will see the patient, diagnose his illness, and suggest treatment for such. Afterwards, depending on the service provided and the examination, the doctor then creates or updates the patients medical record. This record contains the summary of each of the patients visit, including details about treatment and demographic information related to the patient.When you combine the treatment, diagnosis, and duration of service, this forms the procedure code, determined for usage in the billing of insurance. The doctor can of course take care of claims processing himself. However, the work can become tedious, especially when he should be focusing more on his healthcare practice than on insurance. Hence, the medical billing companies shoulder the burden for him.The medical billing companies will use the information provided by the doctor to formulate the billing record. This record is generated manually or through the use of a software program. Often, the companies generate the billing record electronically. However, there are some that also produce hard copies as well (usually on a standardized form called an HCFA). This form includes the various diagnoses identified by numbers from the current ICD-9 manual.It is the medical billing companies who will submit this billing record or claim to a clearinghouse. The clearinghouse acts as an intermediary for the information. Typically, when electronic billing is used, the medical billing companies must send their records to the clearinghouse.Sometimes though, the record may also be sent directly to the insurance company. This is to ensure that everything is processed as efficiently as possible.Doctors depend on medical billing companies for the money they get for the services they rendered. They can hardly find time to process everything themselves. The services offered are a great help in reducing the things they would have to worry about.
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About the Author: For more articles and information or to view a selection of accounting articles and information and bookkeeping articles and information visit - Your source for free Articles, Information and Website Content.

How Does Medical Billing Help With Accounting?

Medical billing. This is probably not the first time youve heard of this word and you pretty much have a basic idea what the phrase connotes. However, one thing you should know is that most people have the wrong idea of what is medical billing in reality. Often, what is medical billing is equated with what is medical transcription or what is medical coding when in fact, the three are as separate and as distinct from each other as night and day. While its true that all three of them are somehow related and sometimes even their responsibilities overlap, it still doesnt change the fact that medical coding deals strictly with codes and medical transcription is strictly on transcribing doctors notes.So, what is medical billing then?Some people say it is the doctors key to getting paid for services rendered. Others say that it is a process of submitting claims to insurance companies. But these descriptions are vague. What is it really?Perhaps, the question what is medical billing is better answered with this definition of the term:Medical billing is practice management. It involves front office skills, with emphasis on billing and accounting, insurance claims processing, and making decisions concerning the financial aspects of a practice.What is medical billing compared to medical coding and medical transcription?Compared to medical coding and medical transcription, medical billing is wider in scope and broader in its range of responsibilities. Front office also means acting as an executive secretary to the practice, dealing in clerical work such as patient scheduling, clearing appointments, documenting patient visits, recording diagnostic and treatment procedures, and organizing medical records using a software program.What is medical billing and what are its responsibilities?The job of the billing professional starts with the office visit where you will handle everything from scheduling of the appointment to making sure that the patient makes it to his appointment. After the doctor sees the patient, depending on the services provided and the examination, he will then create and update the patients medical record. The billing professional then organizes these records according to a system earlier adopted by the practice. This record contains a summary of treatment and demographic information related to the patient. The medical billing specialist will have to organize these records according to their contents to provide for easier access in case of another visit or some such circumstance and to create the billing record which is the document submitted to either a clearinghouse or an insurance company.
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About the Author: For more articles and information or to view a selection of accounting articles and information and accounting receivables articles and information visit - Your source for free Articles, Information and Website Content.

Do Accounting Rules Discourage Research & Development?

Businesses spend billions of dollars trying to develop new and better products, These outlays are referred to as research and development (R & D) costs. Accounting rule makers have struggled with how best to classify such expenditures. Should they be treated as expenses or assets? The classification of an outlay as an expense or an asset depends upon how long the firm will benefit from the outlay. If the benefit will be for more than one accounting period, it is classified as an asset. If the outlay provides economic benefit for less than a year it is generally classified as an expense. Tangible assets such as machinery and equipment produce income over several years. These tangible assets usually have easily ascertainable costs, which are spread over the assets' estimated useful lives in the form of depreciation expense. On the other hand, one month's rent payment is an expense because the outlay entitles the firm to only one month of economic benefit. Now consider the following example of an R & D cost.Example. Mizer Pharmaceutical has in the last five years spent $65 million on research and testing of a male enhancement pill that actually works and can garner FDA approval. The five years of research and development outlays has lead to the development of an effective pill that they will market and patent under the trade name Mirakle Grow. Market research indicates that it will generate at least $1 billion in sales annually as long as they hold the exclusive patent. Since the R & D outlays have lead to the development of a pill that will generate significant revenue over several years you would expect that the outlays would be classified as assets rather than period expenses. Well you would be wrong. In fact, accounting rules require that R & D costs be treated as expenses rather than assets even though these outlays clearly are intended to benefit future accounting periods. There are two reasons why accounting rules treat R & D outlays as expenses.First it is a cruel fact of life that not all R & D outlays lead to the development of marketable products. In fact, a relatively low percentage of such outlays lead to successful products. For example, it may turn out that the Mirakle Grow drug has adverse side effects that would preclude FDA approval. A second problem in treating R & D costs as assets involves deciding their useful life. Assuming that successful R & D costs can be identified, over what period of time do we spread or amortize these costs? If the R & D costs lead to a patent we could simply use the life of a patent as our guide. But what really matters is the life cycle of a successful new product, not the period of patent enforceability. Who knows how long a period that should be? In the case of Mizer's male enhancement pill it is entirely possible that an alternative pill developed by a competitor could provide stiff competition to Mirakle Grow. If this occurs demand for Mirakle Grow might peter out in a much shorter period of time than the life of the patent.If accounting rules allowed the treatment of R & D costs as assets, management would be sorely tempted to record both unsuccessful and successful outlays as assets. This would lead to the overstatement of assets, the understatement of expenses and in turn the overstatement of income. Even if management were neutral and fair minded it is often impossible to predict which R & D costs will lead to successful products and which will not. Unintended ConsequencesAccounting rule maker's decision to not treat R & D costs as assets probably has undesirable consequences for firms and society as a whole. In the current environment in which publicly traded firms are managed there is great pressure on managers to insure that stock prices are maintained. CEO's of large corporations are partially compensated and evaluated based upon their firm's stock price. In turn, stock prices are greatly affected by the current and near term reported earnings of the company. Under current accounting rules a CEO interested in short-term earnings will avoid long term R & D commitments because they will depress current earnings and hence the stock price. However the long-term prospects of a business may be enhanced significantly by increased expenditures on R & D. So the accounting treatment of R & D probably serves as a disincentive to make such outlays despite the fact that such outlays might be in the long run best interest of the firm. Society is probably also better off if companies increase their R & D outlays. So the current R & D rules may be bad for businesses and bad for society as a whole. The rules may prevent individual firms from overstating income and assets in the short run but reduce the income of the firms and the well being of society in the long run.
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About the Author: Michael Sack Elmaleh is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Valuation Analyst. His book, "Financial Accounting: A Mercifully Brief Introduction", has received wide critical acclaim. He has nearly 30 years of accounting and 10 years of teaching experience.His web site is

Role Of A CPA In Estate Planning

The main role of the Certified Public Accountant is to act as an advisor to business houses, individuals, non-profit organizations, government agencies and financial institutions. CPAs are different from other accountants by stringent experience, educational and licensing requirements. Team of professionals who work together can best perform the function of estate and financial planning. The key player in the estate planning team is the Certified Public Accountant along with a lawyer, an insurance agent, bank trust officer and an investment advisor. CPAs have very good knowledge of the tax implications of decisions people make in the structuring of their estate. They can very well help you in assuring that you meet your goals of minimizing taxes and increasing the portion of your estate that will pass to your heirs. With the unstable dollar of today and wide fluctuation in market it has become very difficult to accumulate, preserve and dispose wealth easily. Sound estate and financial planning will help you in preserving the financial security that you are working hard to achieve. Planning for disposition of property during your lifetime and upon your death is very important. With the help of effective planning the tax burden can be minimized on your estate and you can also get to know that your beneficiaries will be getting everything that the law allows. Importance of estate planning: An important part of lifetime planning is to ensure that only good assets pass on to the survivors. There can be some investments and businesses that are not possible at all for a grieving family to manage. You can get a lot of help from a CPA in putting your affairs in order to effectively provide it to your friends and loved ones. It is very important to have an effective financial planning strategy in place. It might be that you come across an estate that you consider of modest value today but it becomes very sizable when it is measured in the inflated market values when you die.You can get assistance in the various facets of estate planning by a Certified Public Accountant although his or her role does not end at the death of their client. There is the final income tax return of the client who died, the estate tax return and income tax of the estate to prepare. There are chances that the CPAs will have some involvement in the process of estate valuation and they will work with the attorney and executor on the various opportunities related to tax savings following the date of death. Again the goal behind this is to maximize the portion of an estate that will pass on to the heirs.CPAs can also become involved in the IRS audits and in the tax planning and administration of the estate. A lot of specialized knowledge is required in various areas in financial and estate planning. Because the Certified Public Accountants are in close contact with the clients in personal income taxes and personal financial affairs, they can make an important contribution in the overall coordination and direction of the entire estate planning and financial planning team.
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About the Author: Sacramento CPA Firm Murray and Young provides California Tax Help. Check out our new website that includes useful articles on Estate Tax Planning. Visit us at