Q?

How can Paul Hodge & Associates help me as a business owner?

A.

We can help…

  • Set up accounting systems
  • Secure financing
  • Analyze operating results
  • Provide management consulting services on such subjects as data processing systems
  • Develop budgets and business plans and forecasts
  • Prepare tax returns
  • Audit, review, or compile financial statements
  • Assess benefit and compensation plans

Q?

How can Paul Hodge & Associates help my family and me?

A.

We can help…

  • Develop a personal financial plan
  • Create a family budget
  • Plan for retirement
  • Develop an estate plan
  • Assess insurance needs
  • Advise on divorce settlements
  • Devise savings and investment strategies
  • Build college funds

Q?

What do CPAs and Advisors at Paul Hodge & Associates do?

A.

Our team acts as advisers to individuals, businesses, financial institutions, not-for-profit organizations, and government agencies on a wide range of financial matters. Many individuals turn to CPAs for help not just with their tax preparation, but also with their business and personal financial planning.

Most CPAs meet substantially the same education, training, and licensing requirements. Nonetheless, they provide a broad and varied range of services. We specialize in small business, tax or financial planning, audit/assurance services, to name just a few.

In order for you to get the most value from any CPA relationship, it is important to first analyze your current and future financial needs. This will help you select someone
who can address your particular concerns.

Q?

How can Paul Hodge & Associates serve me, my business, or governmental entity?

A.

We can help by:

  • Recommending tax planning strategies.
  •  Preparing tax returns.
  • Advising individuals on personal financial planning, including retirement and estate planning.
  • Reviewing a company's accounting system and recommending improvements.
  • Consulting on business problems and advising ways to improve the use of a client's resources.
  • Assisting in the design and installation of data processing and management information systems.
  • Conducting special studies (financing, inventories, cost accounting, credit, and collection) for business, government, and nonprofit organizations.
  • Helping clients apply for loans and credit by gathering and preparing information required by lenders.
  • Working with clients, attorneys, and bankers on mergers, acquisitions, and expansions

Q?

How do I know what exact services you will perform and what they will cost?

A.

We use engagement letters that define the work and the associated fees before any work is performed. The letter is designed to prevent any misunderstandings and describes in detail the services to be rendered, fee ranges, and other terms and conditions of the engagement. It is a contract determining our responsibilities and your responsibilities and sets both of our expectations for a successful relationship.

Q?

What is the difference between certified public accountants (CPAs) and accountants? If you get an audit by the IRS, can both of them represent you?

A.

A CPA has demonstrated professional competence by passing a rigorous examination and meeting high standards of education. In addition, they must meet strict continuing education requirements, undergo peer review, and adhere to a stringent set of ethical standards.

CPAs are authorized to represent taxpayers in an IRS audit, as are attorneys and other professionals known as enrolled agents (EA). An EA is an individual who has demonstrated technical competence in the field of taxation and is the only taxpayer representative who receives their right to practice from the U.S. government. An accountant can only represent a taxpayer before the IRS if he or she is an EA.

Q?

How do I know if I can do my own taxes or if I need to consult a certified public accountant?

A.

The IRS estimates that it can take 28 ½ hours to research tax law, organize your records, and complete a standard 1040 return with three common schedules. Tax law is constantly changing, so it is important that you are educated about these changes so you correctly fill out your forms. Being technologically savvy is also important as tax preparation software can help eliminate errors, both mathematical and technical. If you're not comfortable with using this type of software, you may want to contact a CPA.

If you're a salaried employee who takes the standard deduction, your return is likely to be simple. However, if you've encountered a major life change, such as marriage or divorce, or own a vacation home or rental property, your tax situation may be more complicated.

Self-employed individuals and small business owners are more likely to be audited by the IRS, and working with a CPA will help lessen that risk. In addition, if you have a high income, live in a state with high income taxes, or have a lot of miscellaneous itemized deductions, you could be subjected to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The AMT, which eliminates many itemized deductions and was created to ensure that the wealthy pay their share of taxes, is now affecting more middle-class taxpayers. If you think this might affect you, consult a CPA.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) provided the answer to this question.

Q?

How much should I have withheld out of my paycheck?

A.

It depends on your financial personality. Do you prefer to have more withheld today so that you can get a refund next year? (This is really an interest-free loan from you to Uncle Sam.) Or are you disciplined enough to set aside some of your paycheck today and save it to pay your taxes next year? (You could invest the money in the meantime.)

It is also depends on your prior year tax liability. Do you know how to avoid an underpayment penalty situation?

We can tell you how to avoid the underpayment penalty, and we can compute approximately how much you will get back or have to pay in.

Q?

Do I really need to pay a CPA to prepare my financial statements? Couldn’t I save money by doing it myself?

A.

First you need to ask yourself, "How valuable is my time?" Imagine what you could be doing to build your business with that time. Could you earn more than what a CPA would cost? The answer to these questions will change as your business grows.

Second, you need to ask yourself if you have the skills and the desire to do it yourself. Will you have to learn these skills? Will you have to keep yourself updated? Do you really want to crunch numbers? Do you want more than just a report when you are done?

Q?

How can I know which CPA is best for me?

A.

Any professional you choose should not only have the technical knowledge required but should also treat you with respect.

Does your CPA and advisor take time to listen to you? Does your CPA and advisor return your calls in a timely manner? Do you feel comfortable asking your CPA and advisor a question?

When you need a professional in the region who will make you their top priority, call us!

Q?

What do CPAs do?

A.

A significant contribution of CPAs in the practice of public accounting is the audit, whereby an independent opinion is expressed as to the fairness of financial statements. CPAs also perform almost every conceivable financial and management advisory service for businesses and individuals. CPAs do general accounting, tax planning and advice, tax return preparation, estate planning, personal financial planning, and representation of clients before government agencies. CPAs also help clients choose and implement accounting systems. They help in the development and analysis of financial models, cost controls, profit plans, and internal reports. CPAs are often consulted on business, civic, and other problems on which their judgment, experience, and professional standards permit them to provide helpful advice and assistance.

Q?

Are there things I should consider before I talk to you about being my CPA?

A.

Yes. The more you understand about your needs, the better job we can do together of matching our services to those needs. Your first step is to decide what you want from us. Different CPA firms offer different levels of experience and provide different services. Prior to meeting with any CPA you are considering, you should review your present and future financial goals and needs. Some general questions you should ask yourself might be:

  • Will you need help with personal financial issues, individual or corporate tax returns, retirement, estate, or college planning? Are you seeking investment help?
  • Do you need financial statements prepared for your business? Must those statements be audited or reviewed? Will you need special financial reports for government agencies?
  • How comfortable are you in your own ability (or in the case of a business, your staff's ability) to handle financial and operational details. Do you want to do as much as possible in-house, or are  you considering out-sourcing some of your bookkeeping, accounting, or CFO functions?
  • Do you need help preparing a business plan or a personal or business loan application?
  • Will your business need other services such as technology planning, strategic planning, process consulting, or costs analysis?
  • What is your budget for CPA services?