Some people are born with financial aptitude and spend their lives refining it; some never have any no matter how much reading or studying they do. Specialty accounting firms are everywhere. Taking advantage of those services is the right decision for business or personal accounting. You should be able to feel comfortable taking a day off or a vacation. Public accounting firms perform accounting, auditing, business management, tax and advisory engagements for businesses, tax-exempt organizations and individuals. Start-ups, mid-market and closely held companies, professional services firms and Fortune 500 corporations can all use Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms. A few areas of interest are assurance and auditing, tax services, royalties and licensing, and business management.
Assurance + Auditing
Assurance (www.investopedia.com/terms/a/assurance-services.asp) is defined as a type of professional service usually provided by CPAs. Assurance services can include review of any kind of financial document or transaction, such as a loan, contract or financial website. This review certifies the correctness and validity of the item being reviewed by the CPA. Auditing is basically a review of process/procedures that are currently in place for a business. The audit ensures that everything is being managed correctly and points out areas of weakness or opportunities for improvement. In order to maintain customer investment and trust, it is important that financial processes be efficient and transparent.
Business taxes are complicated. They are influenced by many things. Small businesses that don’t have their own accountants on board often find it useful to employ external agencies to assist with things like payroll, financial planning and tax services. Taxes vary depending on many things. The number of employees, what is considered to be taxable income, the assets of a business and even the fiscal year will all influence taxes. As a small business owner, or even a large business owner, there is no real time available to learn all the nuances of tax law. Take advantage of the services of a trained CPA firm to keep your business sailing smoothly.
Licensing and Royalties
Royalties are usage-based payments from licensees to licensors for the ongoing use of assets. The license defines the terms. Sometimes royalty agreements are based on the promise of future earnings – this is common in the oil and music businesses and can be written into contracts for the provision of a percentage of ownership or revenue. CPA firms can audit royalty or license agreements or help to broker them so that all parties feel that they are getting a fair deal. A license agreement defines the terms under which a resource or property are licensed by one party to another, either without restriction or subject to a limitation on term, business or geographic territory, type of product, etc. License agreements can be regulated or private contracts that follow a general structure. Again, this is an opportunity for a business to take advantage of trained CPAs.
Taxes, financial planning, lifestyle planning, investment information and even estate planning can fit in this portfolio. Not all business owners are trained accountants, managers or financial or business planners. Learning how to position for success is an important skill. It requires training, networking and a certain disregard for risk. A CPA firm can help. Breaking into new markets – locally, nationally and even internationally is a huge undertaking for a business. Expanding too much too soon has been the downfall of many business owners. Experts can help plan for the future.
Consulting & Advice
There is literally no end to the questions that arise when owning or managing a business, even basic financial planning is situationally dependent and confusing. CPA firms provide advice during every stage of development and growth; everything from strategic planning and merger advice to payroll, succession planning and litigation advice and support. They can even assist with media revenue measurement so business owners can analyze their reach and effectiveness with advertising.
Business is complicated, finance is complicated. Keep it simple. A big portion of success is having the right people doing the right jobs. If finance is not the right job for you then everything discussed above is a CPA service that you should take advantage of in order to feel confident that your business will survive and thrive. It’s nice to feel comfortable taking a vacation and knowing that everything is under control.