Accounting software operates as the computer backbone of an accounting system and provides an integrated approach to managing the accounting functions of a business, including payroll and accounts payable and receivable. When implemented correctly, accounting software can help a business improve employee efficiency and accuracy, streamline processes, and provide the information required to make decisions related to the management of the business. Today’s integrated systems do more than just provide financial information about a business. Systems now integrate CRM, human resources and project management software, so they work together to efficiently provide a complete picture of employees, operations and customer intelligence.
An accounting system is the overall method employed by an organization to record its economic activity and provide management with information pertaining to its activity. Systems track both financial assets like cash and accounts receivable along with tangible assets such as inventory and equipment. Systems also report the operating results of a company through cash flow and income statements.
Activity-based costing allows a business to determine the cost of individual products and services by assigning costs based on the resources they consume. Activity-based costing is predominantly used to support strategic decisions such as pricing, outsourcing, and identification and measurement of process improvement initiatives. Activity-based costing is often used by manufacturers and distributors.
An agreed-upon procedures engagement is used when a client or third party requires an independent verification of specific financial information. An example of an agreed-upon procedures engagement is when a CPA is asked to report on findings related to specific financial statement elements. Unlike in an audit, the CPA does not express an opinion on financial statements taken as a whole. The resulting report states exactly what procedures were agreed upon and performed, and reports on the findings of these specific procedures.
An audit is the inspection of the accounting records and procedures of an organization to verify that an organization’s financial statements are presented accurately and completely. An audit provides the highest level of assurance that the financial statements accurately present the organization’s financial position. (A review of financial statements provides reasonable assurance. Compilation of financial statements provides no assurance.)
Bankruptcy support services are provided to bankruptcy trustees and attorneys by professionals with expertise in accounting, tax, investing and forensic accounting. Bankruptcy support services include cash flow reporting of current activity, cash flow projections, development of a plan of reorganization, reconciliation of creditors’ claims with debtor’s records, liquidation analyses for Chapter 7 cases, discovery, determination of preferential payments, turnaround plans, cost cutting improvement, distributions to creditors, and forensic accounting and fraud investigation.
Board / retreat facilitation is the process of leading an organization’s strategic meeting to achieve maximum participation, focus, efficiency, engagement and thought-provoking discussion within the group. Good facilitation meets the session’s goals, which might include reaching key decisions or developing a strategic plan for the organization. Many organizations choose to bring in an outside consultant as the facilitator of their meeting.
Budgeting is the process of developing a plan of expected revenue, spending and cash flows for a certain period of time. The budget is a tool to help evaluate the operations and allocate scarce resources among various business areas.
From succession planning to advice on corporate governance, family business issues and process improvement, our consultants can help you navigate through any aspect of your organization. Our business consulting services include strategic planning, budgeting, technology consulting, inventory control and management, and more.
Business valuation is a process used to estimate the value of an interest in a business. Business valuations are used to provide advice related to the purchase or sale of a business as well as for estate planning, succession planning, divorce litigation, buy-sell agreements, and dispute resolution between shareholders, partners or owners.
A cash flow projection is an analysis of the expected cash receipts and cash disbursements of an enterprise during a specific period of time. The purpose of the cash flow projection is to provide information on the flow of funds to allow a business to manage its liquidity needs.
Charitable giving describes the act of donating to a cause that one wishes to support. Charitable giving provides powerful tax and estate planning benefits to the donor in addition to supporting the causes. Charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, supporting organizations and private foundations are all methods used to facilitate charitable giving.
A compilation is the preparation of financial statements from data provided by a client without any assurance from an accountant. Although compiled financial statements – unlike an audit or review – offer no assurance by a CPA, the presentation of the data in financial statement format provides valuable insight for a business owner in making management decisions.
Corporate governance is the process that defines how an organization is directed, administered and controlled. It defines the relationship between the organization’s key executives, board members and shareholders, as well as the goals for which the corporation is governed.
A cost segregation study can accelerate tax deductions related to ownership of buildings by accelerating deductions allowed to the owners. The cost segregation study identifies and separates personal property such as a building’s nonstructural elements, land improvement, and indirect costs, allowing you to shorten the depreciation life of the assets, which results in significant tax savings. Any business that has built a new facility or purchased a building or renovated an existing facility can potentially benefit from a cost segregation study.
A CRM (customer relationship management) system automates business processes to manage an organization’s interactions with customers, prospects, vendors and other target audiences. The goal of a CRM system is to find, attract and win new clients along with enticing current and former clients to do more business with the company. The goals are attained by adding efficiencies that reduce the costs of marketing and client service.
Depreciation is an annual allowance to account for the decrease in economic value of the fixed assets of a business over time. For income tax purposes, depreciation allows a taxpayer to deduct the cost of property, including buildings, machinery, vehicles, furniture and equipment.
Due diligence is a term that often applies to an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract. Due diligence related to a business acquisition may include the financial, legal, labor, tax, IT, environment and market / commercial situation of the company. Due diligence in a general legal sense implies a standard of care demonstrating prudence and caution.
An employee benefit plan audit provides assurance that the financial statements of a plan are properly stated. This can help ensure that the benefits promised will be available to the organization’s employees (plan participants). Employee benefit plans – including 401(k) and 403(b) plans – with 100 or more plan participants are generally required by the Department of Labor or ERISA to have an annual audit.
Entity selection refers to choice of legal form that a business operates as, such as a Corporation (“S” or “C”), Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) or Partnership (“Limited” or “General”). Ownership structure, liabilities associated with the business, succession planning, financing needs, tax planning, and how the business plans on conducting its operations are all factors to be considered in the type of entity decision.
Estate planning is the process of arranging for the transfer of assets upon a person’s death. The estate planning process includes gathering information related to assets, developing the plan to pass your estate on to your heirs and then creating the legal structure to implement the plan. Effective estate planning minimizes taxes, administrative expenses, and the time required to have your assets pass through the estate process, thereby maximizing the amount received by heirs in the least obtrusive way possible.
Executive compensation is the total wage and benefit package that comprise the pay of the top executives in an organization. An executive compensation package might include a base salary, performance bonuses, stock awards and options, perquisites and other specified benefits.
Financial reporting can take various forms depending on the requirements of an organization’s management, investors, lending institutions, sureties and regulatory agencies. The goal of financial reporting is to present useful information to financial statement users so proper decisions can be made. Financial reports are normally formal presentations of an organization’s financial information during a specified accounting period. Financial reporting, including audits, reviews and compilations, offer various levels of assurance to the user of the statement.
A fixed asset is a long-term tangible asset, such as a building or equipment, that is expected to be used in a company’s operations for an extended period of time. Fixed assets are expected to be used in the company’s production of income and are not expected to be converted to cash in the next fiscal year.
Fraud is an intentional deception used for profit or to gain an unfair advantage. In forensic accounting, fraud includes false or misleading financial reporting, misappropriation of assets or embezzlement. An employee hotline is usually an affordable fraud prevention tool for companies who want to deter unethical actions in the workplace. Download our free fraud whitepaper here.
Government tax incentives and credits are designed to encourage behavior that meets a goal of government. For example, job related incentives encourage hiring disadvantaged workers. Likewise, enterprise zone credits provide incentives to setup businesses in less desirable neighborhoods. Offered by federal, state and local government agencies, examples include the historic tax credit, Job Creation & Recovery Tax Credit, Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, and Enterprise Zone Credit.
A historic tax credit offers businesses a tax incentive to rehabilitate older structures deemed to be historically significant. These credits have helped spur real estate development of historic landmark properties.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) mission is to create sustainable inclusive communities and quality affordable housing for all. HUD strengthens the community by providing numerous home ownership and housing development programs. HUD requires program-specific audits of for-profit participants such as multifamily housing facilities. Nonprofit and governmental organizations participating in HUD housing programs fall under the further requirements Circular A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations.
Insurance claim evaluation services are performed to determine the amount of loss sustained by an insured in accordance with the terms and provisions of the insurance policy. Losses evaluated by forensic accountants include business interruption, extra expense, employee dishonesty, product liability, data restoration, inventory, accounts receivable, and personal injury loss of income. The forensic accountant identifies and obtains relevant documents, reviews and analyzes the documents, calculates the loss sustained, and presents their findings in a report to the insurance adjuster and / or attorney.
Internal control includes procedures designed to ensure that an organization’s resources are directed, monitored and measured to assure the reliability of financial reporting, minimize risk, achieve effectiveness of operations, and comply with laws and regulations.
International business transactions bring significant opportunities for planning as well as issues for tax reporting. Among issues to be considered are transfer pricing, international financial reporting standards (“IFRS”), foreign tax credits, and foreign bank reporting.
Inventory control and management is the process of determining a company’s adequate inventory needs to support its marketplace and strategic objectives. Good inventory control and management systems track the location of inventory, alert you of the need to order more inventory, efficiently help manage perpetual inventory systems and efficiently design systems that test the information included in the system, by cycle counts, for example.
Inventory costing is a method of assigning costs to inventory. FIFO (first in, first out), LIFO (last in, first out), and average cost are examples of inventory costing methods. The method a company selects impacts inventory values on the balance sheet and the amount of income that is recognized as goods are sold.
Investment management refers to the management of assets (e.g., real estate) and securities (stocks, bonds, etc.) by a professional. The goal of investment management is to meet the financial objectives of the investors – either private investors or institutions – who own those assets and securities. Elements of investment management include asset allocation, cash flow planning, risk assessment, and ongoing monitoring and reporting.
A Medicaid cost report allocates costs to different categories and then reflects adjustments for allowable costs up to the cost ceiling. After preparing the cost report, we are able to inform the client of the potential settlement that might result from the filing of the report. A Medicare cost report, which is a different report from the Medicaid cost report, records the same information, but for Medicare-related costs. Cost reports are prepared by professionals who have specialized knowledge of Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement.
Although often used interchangeably, a merger is the combining of two businesses and an acquisition refers to the strategic buying or selling of a businesses. M&A activity relates to the process of completing a transaction.
Multi-state tax (multistate tax) refers to tax issues that apply to organizations doing business in more than one state. Multi-state tax issues often include payroll, sales and use, property and income tax reporting.
Networking refers to two or more computers and / or technology devices that connect to each other for the purpose of exchanging data. A good network ultimately helps organizations communicate effectively and share resources to effectively streamline business processes.
Overhead rates refer to the percentage of costs that are not direct costs of a contract. Overhead costs are costs that are not directly related to the production of the good to be sold. Overhead costs may include administrative salaries, the costs of a building or machinery, commissions to salespeople, and many other items. Governmental contractors are often required to have an overhead rate audit to verify the overhead rate they are entitled to use for billing costs. Government contractors are subject to state and FARS (Federal Acquisition Regulations) in determining the amount of reimbursement they are entitled to in a contract. Architectural and engineering firms are examples of companies that often need overhead rate audits.
Financial planning is the process of achieving your life goals through the proper management of your finances. A personal financial plan may include investment strategies, income tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning, insurance needs analysis, education and long term care planning. An integrated personal financial plan brings together these various disciplines to form a roadmap to achieve your personal goals. It is often prepared with the help of a Certified Financial Planner.
Process improvement refers to a series of actions taken to identify, analyze and improve existing processes within an organization to meet goals or objectives. The actions taken in process improvement should lead to improved quality, greater efficiency, reduced costs and accelerated schedules. Although any organization can benefit from process improvement, manufacturers and distributors often realize the greatest benefit.
A profitability analysis is the study of underlying costs and revenues associated with a company’s products, services or customers. Profitability analysis can help business owners identify which products, services or customers to focus more heavily on or eliminate.
The R&D tax credit is an often overlooked federal tax credit that rewards companies for performing qualified research and development activities within the U.S. R&D expenses are defined as the costs related to the development or improvement of a product.
Retirement planning encompasses the plans and actions individuals take to prepare a smooth transition from a life based mainly around working to a life based mainly around not working. The planning is normally centered around setting aside financial resources for retirement.
A review of financial statements provides limited assurance as to an organization’s financial information by stating that the accountant is unaware of any material modifications that should be made for the statements to conform with generally accepted auditing standards. The procedures of a review include inquiry of client personnel and analytical procedures applied to the financial data. The level of assurance from a review falls between an audit and a compilation when it comes to level of assurance.
A Single Audit is a rigorous organization-wide examination of a financial statement of an organization that receives $500,000 or more in federal funds during a fiscal year. Single Audits are required most often for nonprofit and government organizations to assure the proper management and use of federal funds, grants or awards. A Single Audit is also known as an OMB A-133 audit.
Strategic planning is the formal process of determining an organization’s long term goals and identifying the best approach to take to achieve those goals. Strategic planning usually involves key people in an organization, sometimes with the help of outside advisors, who analyze the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. During the process, the organization’s goals and strategy are defined and decisions are made about how to allocate resources to achieve its goals.
Succession planning is the strategic process of identifying and preparing people to take on key leadership roles within an organization. Succession planning is critical to organizations, especially as executives grow closer to retirement. Those executives have years of experience and knowledge to pass along to successors and that knowledge is something organizations cannot afford to lose. A key element of a successful succession plan is a process that ensures for a smooth transition of leadership.
Gross Mendelsohn's tax specialists take a proactive approach to tax exposure reduction. In addition to the usual tax preparation and tax planning issues, Gross Mendelsohn’s tax specialists help with entity selection, accounting method selection, benefits planning, tax compliance issues such as the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (download free whitepaper), investment options, charitable giving, income deferral, asset shifting and protection, buy / sell agreements, earnings accumulation, cost segregation studies, R&D tax credits and estate planning.
Tax planning considers the tax implications of individual or business decisions throughout the year with the goal of minimizing the tax liability of an or individual business. Tax planning takes advantage of strategies such as deferral of income, accelerating deductions, tax compliance issues such as the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (download free whitepaper), favorable tax rates and taking advantage of tax exempt income and tax credits when available.
Tax preparation is the compulsory act of preparing federal and state income tax returns for individuals and business entities to be in compliance with complex rules and regulations.
Computer system design and implementation, broadly known as technology consulting, is the process that brings together multiple management information systems of a business – including financial management software, customized reporting, project and document management, e-commerce, CRM and networking – to efficiently report on and manage the operations of a business.