This Is Why I Prepare All Our Firm’s Tax Returns Myself

Short, excellent article on how to balance workload between the data entry folks and the tax return reviewers at a CPA firm.  It’s all great advice — I recommend reading all the points the author makes regardless of whether you file your own returns, run your own firm, work at a large firm, or even do taxes at all.  Many of the comments regarding staff training, systems, and creating a culture of excellence hold true no matter what kind of work you’re doing — accounting, taxation, or… heck, architecture, human resources, photography.  Anything.

However, people are particularly emotionally stressed about their tax returns.  You simply cannot be careless with them.  And taking the time to go through someone else’s work line-by-line and sending back feedback would make me insane.  Worse, I could do as the author suggests and have someone else go through their work line-by-line — it’s a great idea, but I don’t think I could handle that… for accounting, yes.  There’s a materiality threshold.  But not for taxes.

(I’d find myself sneaking in a line-by-line verification myself regardless.  If my name is going on that return, it’d better be my work.  My mistakes.  Even if someone on my staff were perfect, I’d wonder and worry.  Not worth the stress.)

People often ask why I don’t expand further.  I have one staff accountant who is almost full-time, two very part-time Excel experts, and two very part-time bookkeepers.  The bottleneck is that I am the only staff member who prepares tax returns, so we can only grow so much.  I turn away a few clients a week.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that this is just fine.  My personality demands perfection — I don’t always achieve it, but I always strive for it.  And I read an article like this and immediately think, “oh my goodness, I’m so glad we don’t have to deal with that at my firm.”

As Khalil Gibran said, “Work is love made visible.”  Do your work and do it well.  It’s okay if you don’t make as much money as you could otherwise.  It’s okay if you don’t grow as much as other people think you should.  What’s most important is that you love your work, and that your clients can see this in everything you do.

Academy time: Five films to inspire CPAs

“My father was fond of saying you need three things in life: a good doctor, a forgiving priest, and a clever accountant. The first two, I’ve never had much use for.”  -Oskar Schindler

I know, we’re all busy with tax season right now, but take a short break and read this charming (and brief) article from AICPA’s Journal of Accountancy, and maybe add a couple to your Netflix queue for April 19th.

Source: 5 films to inspire CPAs

Fullerton/Milwaukee Small Business Improvement Fund — Learn How To Apply for a Grant for Capital Improvements

Do you have a small business in Chicago along Milwaukee Ave. from Armitage to Belmont?  Please come to a meeting this Thursday from 9:30-10:30 am at Hairpin Lofts to learn about city grants to help pay for capital improvements!

A map of the TIF district is here —

Please spread the word.

Source: Fullerton/Milwaukee SBIF(Small Business Improvement Fund) Rollout Meeting

Chicago Business Workshops for February

Business Workshops for February
All workshops are free and are located at the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection – City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, Room 805.
2/10: How to Obtain a Sidewalk Cafe Permit
3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Presented by BACP, Small Business Center (SBC) – Public Way Use (PWU) Unit, Anthony Bertuca
Attendees will learn the Sidewalk Cafe Permit Application process, and the requirements which will assist in preparation to submit an application. The entire application process may take 30 – 45 days, and the 2016 Sidewalk Cafe Season begins on March 1st.
2/17: Understanding Employee Classification: Hourly vs. Salaried & Contractors vs. Employees
3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Presented by Charles Krugel, a Management Side Labor, Employment & Human Resources Attorney
There are changes coming to the definitions of hourly & salaried employees (overtime eligible vs. not) & independent contractors vs. employees (W2 vs. 1099). Over the next few years, fewer businesses will be able to avoid overtime & classifying workers as W2 employees. Management side labor & employment attorney Charles Krugel will discuss these proposals, including enforcement, & answer any of your questions concerning these topics.
2/19: Setting the Groundwork
9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Presented by Lema Khorshid, Fuksa Khorshid, LLC
There are many legal considerations to keep at the forefront of your mind before starting your new business. This presentation explores different sources to fund your business venture, basic principles of how to protect yourself in the claws of litigation, employment laws, lease agreements and how to implement a solid intellectual property plan.
2/24: C Corp, S Corp, LLC – Which Is Right for My Business?
3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Presented by The Law Project
The Law Project’s Small Business Program offers legal support to entrepreneurs who are starting or have their own small businesses as a strategy to create financial independence. Since most entrepreneurs operate on a shoestring budget, obtaining legal advice is often unaffordable. This workshop will provide entrepreneurs with information about choosing the correct corporate structure for their business.
2/26: Tax Issues for Self-Employed Individuals & Businesses
9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Presented by Eric Sternberg of the Center for Economic Progress & Yolanda Ruiz of the Internal Revenue Service
This workshop will give an introductory understanding of common tax issues that self-employed individuals often encounter. Participants will learn when they must file a tax return, how to identify worker classifications, how to prepare for an IRS audit, how to make quarterly estimated payments, and how to navigate the IRS website. Participants will benefit from the perspectives of both the individual taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service.
Click here to view a full monthly calendar.