Albert E. Bergen, CPA has been working as an outside accountant for Maine businesses for more than a decade. His services range from adjusting their monthly books to submitting reviewed financial statements to banks and other lenders, and everything in-between. Whether a business just needs a little bit of help each month or wants needs to record a year’s worth of information in time to get its tax return done, Albert E. Bergen, CPA is the accountant it needs.
Small Business Accountant Services
This firm offers a range of accounting services. These include everything from year-end write-up work to prepare a tax return to full-charge bookkeeping. The firm is excited to offer financial statement preparation services under the new SSARS 21 section 70. These are perfect for when a small business applies for a loan or needs better accounting information to make management decisions.
Here are some of the services the firm offers:
Tax Return Write-Up
Albert Bergen got his start in the industry as a tax accountant for all kinds of small Maine businesses, and that’s still where he focuses his practice. Tax return write-up is the process of adjusting a client’s books and records to get them in shape for preparing a tax return. This involves running through the balance sheet to match balances and statements, adjusting for non-cash expenses, and reviewing the profit and loss for items that might be mis-posted or need to be reported separately in the tax return. All of this helps to ensure that the organization’s accounting records are complete and accurate before preparing the tax return. Tax-return write-up work is billed at tax preparation rates in connection with preparing an income tax return.
Monthly write-up services include tying balance sheet balances out to their supporting documents, reconciling the checking account if it has not already been reconciled, and reviewing the accounts on the profit and loss statement for items which may be mis-classified. This kind of work may be done hourly or for an agreed-upon monthly fee. If its done monthly or quarterly, special bookkeeping rates apply. If done once-a-year during tax season, tax preparation rates apply.
It is always best to record transactions as they happen, but small businesses don’t always do that. If they don’t maintain their accounting all year, then someone needs to prepare a year’s worth of books all at once. This is after-the-fact accounting. It involves gathering up all of the available financial information and recording it in an accounting program like QuickBooks.
Sometimes a business owner leaves his or her accounting work undone all year and tries to prepare it all in time to get their tax return filed. The daily work of running their business usually gets in the way.
Why not have an outside accountant prepare these records instead?
This kind of work is usually billed hourly, and there isn’t always time to do it if it comes in late in tax season. When after-the-fact accounting is needed for a small business tax return, its best to bring it in as early in tax season as possible. After-the-fact accounting that comes in an January or February can be done in time to file the tax return. When this kind of work comes in later, an extension is usually required.
Financial Statement Preparation
Banks usually want to see financial statements before they lend to businesses. Until recently, CPAs couldn’t prepare financial statements that a bank would see without doing a full compilation engagement. The required steps for a compilation, including regular peer review, added a lot of cost to this service.
SSARS 21 created a new class of engagement that lets a CPA prepare financial statements without issuing a compilation report as long as:
- An engagement letter that spells out the scope of the work to be done
- A caption on each page of the statements that says something like, “No assurance is provided on these financial statements” or “These financial statements have not been subjected to an audit, review, or compilation engagement, and no assurance is provided on them”.
- If that caption isn’t on the statements, a separate disclaimer must be provided.
- If substantially all disclosures are omitted, that fact should be disclosed on the statements.
- If the statements are NOT prepared under generally accepted accounting practice (GAAP), then the statements should disclose the basis of accounting.
This new class of engagement really gets at the heart of what most Maine small businesses need from their accountants. This firm is pleased to now be able to offer financial statement preparation without having to run a full compilation engagement.