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When Should You Hire an Accountant?

When Should You Hire an Accountant

Every small business should know when to hire an accountant. In general, it’s advisable to meet and build a relationship with a certified public accountant (CPA) at least once to cover the basics of your business. There are also specific reasons why you should hire an accountant, such as when you need to make critical business decisions and handle key tax documents that will face government scrutiny. The experts here at Marshall Jones have created this guide to help you learn the ins and outs of when you should hire an accountant.

Commonly Outsourced Business Functions

The goal of partnering with a CPA is to have a professional in your corner who cares about your business and is sensitive to your needs. The accountant should understand how to meet you where you are currently and help you achieve your future goals.

A CPA can help you with many practical business and tax tasks, including: 

  • Advisory services: If you need to make a significant accounting or business decision, you can hire a CPA to review your strategy with you and consult on potential advantages and pitfalls. 
  • Audit and assurance: An accountant can help you audit your books and ensure you’re meeting regulatory compliance requirements for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), your state, lending agencies and more. Accountants can also properly prepare income tax returns, financial statements and sales tax returns. 
  • Entity and tax structure: If you need to discuss your tax structure to maximize value for your entity, a CPA can help. 
  • Mergers and acquisitions: Mergers and acquisitions have complex regulations to manage when considering debts and taxes you will acquire in the process. An accounting professional can help you anticipate these expenses. 
  • Outsourced accounting: Outsourced accounting allows you to farm out your internal bookkeeping, recordkeeping and accounting tasks to a CPA firm. Teams can perform your functions on-site with your employees or off-site to meet all your accounting needs. 
  • Accounting information systems: Many firms use accounting information systems to redesign your accounting processes for optimal performance. They can even handle all the accounting functions for your business on your behalf. 

Hire an Accountant for Your Small Business Today

For more than three decades, Marshall Jones has served the Atlanta business community with integrity and excellence through CPA accounting and audit services. Our capabilities include outsourced professional accounting solutions, audit and assurance, tax planning and preparation and professional bookkeeping and consulting. 

Ready to find out more? Reach out to our team online and schedule your appointment today to get started. 

Understanding Audit Reports

Reading through an auditor’s report may seem daunting, but you can take the stress out of the process by familiarizing yourself with how these reports are structured and the purpose of each section. Once you know how to read an audit report, you can accept the document handed to you at the end of your next audit and read it with confidence.

The Scope of the Audit

The first section of an audit report summarizes the audit’s scope — in other words, what the auditors did and how they did it. This section will state that the auditor examined the company’s financial statements in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS). These standards include well-trained, careful and independent auditors conducting audits. 

The section on the scope of the audit will confirm that the auditors assessed:

  • The company’s documentation of its finances: These documents include, for example, the company’s balance sheets and statements detailing its earnings and cash flows.
  • The company’s underlying financial situation: Auditors will conduct tests to confirm that the information in the company’s documents is consistent with its actual performance.
  • The internal controls the company uses: These internal controls describe the measures the company takes to ensure the accuracy and integrity of its financial information.

The scope of the audit section should give you confidence that the auditors have conducted a careful and thorough investigation. That credibility means you can rely upon the second section of the report — the auditor’s opinion.

The Auditor’s Opinion

The second section of the audit report is the auditor’s opinion, which summarizes their findings based on their examination of the company and its records. There are three generally accepted opinions:

  • An unqualified opinion: An auditor will issue an unqualified — or “clean” — opinion when the company’s management provides all the relevant documents and information and the audit reveals that the company’s financial statements are accurate. An unqualified opinion will not contain any adverse comments or disclaimers about the limits of the audit.
  • A qualified opinion: An auditor will issue a qualified opinion when they are unable to gather necessary evidence or support for one or two areas of the audit. For example, if a company has significant inventory and the auditors were unable to perform an observation to confirm that the actual physical inventory matches the company’s documentation, they would issue a qualified opinion.
  • An adverse opinion: An auditor will issue an adverse opinion when a company’s financial statements are not presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAPs). GAAPs are the accounting standards that companies use to measure and present their financial results. An adverse opinion means that the company’s financial documentation is incomplete or inaccurate. This result doesn’t mean the company is deliberately doing something wrong — in many cases, the auditor can work with the company to correct these problems.

Contact Us Today for Audit Services

Marshall Jones has provided accounting and bookkeeping services to companies in the Atlanta area for decades. To learn more about how we can help your business with its next audit, contact us and schedule an appointment.

How Do You Become an Entry-Level Auditor?

An entry-level internal auditor helps organizations maintain compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. Auditors that work in a payroll capacity perform roles such as examining employees’ pay rates and tax withholdings to verify accuracy. 

Payroll auditors perform a crucial task, catching mistakes and red flags that could lead to lost revenues and potential IRS-imposed penalties. They can even uncover fraudulent financial activities conducted by other members of the organization. 

How to Become an Entry-Level Auditor

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as an entry-level payroll auditor, you’ll need to complete a series of steps to gain employment.

Fulfill the Education Requirements

While many entry-level auditing positions come with on-the-job training, few companies will hire individuals without the appropriate educational background. You’ll need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting to demonstrate that you have the fundamental knowledge to perform the necessary job tasks.

Complete an Internship

When evaluating academic institutions to earn your degree, consider schools that offer accounting and auditing internship programs. Completing an internship provides the real-world training and work experience prospective employers covet. You’ll gain a competitive edge over other job candidates, increasing your chances of landing a position. Some internships even come with compensation, enabling you to earn while you learn.

Begin Your Job Search

Once you’ve earned your degree — and completed an internship, if possible — you’re ready to start searching for available entry-level auditor jobs. In addition to meeting the education requirements, employers look for candidates possessing the following attributes:

  • Professional
  • Responsible
  • Mature
  • Understanding
  • Encouraging
  • Self-motivated

You should have strong communication skills and be willing to work as part of a team. You’ll also need to demonstrate a commitment to ongoing learning to meet the evolving demands of the auditor position.

It can be helpful to conduct a comprehensive self-assessment to determine your proficiency in these areas. Then, you can develop a plan to address any weaknesses to enhance your job search preparation.

Explore the Entry-Level Auditor Jobs at Marshall Jones

The Certified Public Accountants and Advisors at Marshall Hones have provided high-quality accounting and auditing services to individuals and businesses in the Atlanta area for more than 30 years. We strive to deliver exceptional client service with the highest technical competencies and complete integrity.

We encourage you to meet our team and learn more about our exciting entry-level payroll auditor opportunities or contact us if you’re interested in applying

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What Are the Principles of Auditing?

Every organization must ensure that its financial statements are correct and comply with all applicable federal and state regulations. Auditing is the process of reviewing these records and information to verify their accuracy. An audit can also serve as an internal control mechanism for detecting red flags that may indicate the existence of fraudulent financial activities.

Understanding the Principles of Auditing

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is a national professional organization that establishes the auditing and ethical standards in the United States. The AICPA has developed a set of audit principles to guide auditors as they perform their duties:

  • Training: All auditors must have the appropriate training to plan and execute the various audit types across all industries.
  • Independence: Auditors must have no financial, relational or operational ties to whatever institution they’re auditing to avoid potential conflicts of interest, bias and approval without evidence.
  • Due care: An auditor should possess the same level of skills and competence as their peers within the same industry and employment.
  • Planning and supervision: Auditors must be involved in planning and supervising their work to provide an accurate, informed opinion of their findings.
  • Understanding: Auditors must possess or gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry, the organization and its internal control processes to properly plan audit procedures for appropriate risks.
  • Evidence: An auditor typically should ask for appropriate proof or documentation that supports the line item entries listed in the financial statements.
  • Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) compliance: The auditor must verify that the organization is presenting its financial statements in accordance with the industry’s generally accepted accounting principles.
  • GAAP exceptions: The audit report must identify instances where GAAP compliance does not exist.
  • Disclosures: Auditors must verify that any information disclosed about the financial statement line items is adequate.
  • Opinion: Auditors must provide an opinion based on their findings during the audit process. If they choose not to state an opinion, they must give their reasons for doing so.

Learn More About the Audit Principles

At Marshall Jones, our team of experienced Certified Public Accountants and Advisors has followed our audit principles for more than 30 years. We assist businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals throughout the Atlanta area to ensure the accuracy of their financial statements and helping them avoid potentially costly mistakes. 

Contact us for more information and learn more about the principles of auditing today.

How to Save Time in Accounting Through Outsourcing

If you’ve taken the plunge and started your own business, you’ve likely run into the same obstacle as other small- and mid-sized companies — accounting.

Accounting plays a critical role in your company’s operation because it tracks expenditures and income while ensuring compliance. For smaller companies with limited resources, staying on top of these requirements can often be challenging. Thankfully, professional accounting firms such as Marshall Jones are standing by to help. 
By outsourcing some or all of your accounting responsibilities, you can focus on the core duties of growing your business and less on tedious financial tasks.  

At Marshall Jones, we can help you eliminate the stress and hassle associated with daily accounting chores. We’ll provide the exact level of service you need, whether you’re looking for a full-service solution, increased capacity or occasional help during tax season. Our goal is to deliver world-class services to our clients with integrity and superior technical competency. 

What Are Outsourced Accounting and Bookkeeping Services?

Outsourced accounting services provide a business without a dedicated accounting staff with a full lineup of services, including accounts receivable and payable, taxes, transaction coding, employee payroll, financial reporting and more. An effective team will work with you to identify your business’s key drivers, determine the areas you need assistance and provide insight for improvement. Whether you’re looking to outsource your accounting duties, bolster your existing staff or discover a better approach, a qualified outsourced accounting firm can help.

Benefits of Partnering With a Reliable Outsourced Accounting Firm

Without a dedicated accounting team, many financial tasks fall on the shoulders of employees who have other jobs to do. When you hire a team of certified public accountants and advisors like Marshall Jones, you get the specialized knowledge your company needs. When you choose us, you eliminate all the guesswork and distractions of multitasking and juggling various responsibilities.

Additional advantages of working with an experienced outsourced accounting service include:

  • Time savings: By allowing your employees to handle their essential tasks and leaving the accounting to us, you save time and money and increase efficiency.
  • Accuracy: Our team has the experience to ensure all your financials are accurate, and a dedicated, expert accountant is more likely to notice an error or abnormality than a single person wearing many other hats.
  • Superior expertise: We employ highly trained certified public accountants and advisors who know the most modern business trends, use the most innovative tools and understand the latest tax laws.  

Contact Marshall Jones for Your Outsourced Accounting Needs Today

The certified public accountants and advisors at Marshall Jones have delivered the most superior financial services to the Metro Atlanta area for decades. We are committed to providing top-tier service at a reasonable rate, setting your business up for success. Contact us today to learn more.

Which 990 Is Right for My Organization?

Knowing which of the four 990 forms apply to your organization is important when you’re filing taxes. In this guide, we will break down which organizations file each 990 form to help you determine which option best suits your needs.

Types of 990 Forms

Almost all tax-exempt organizations will need to file an annual return, but the form you use depends on your financial activity. In total, there are four types of 990 forms:

  • 990-N
  • 990-EZ
  • 990
  • 990-PF

To determine which form you need to file, you need to understand the basics of each one and the types of organizations that file them.

990-N Form

If your organization has less than or equal to $50,000 in gross receipts, you will file the 990-N form. Your gross receipts are the total amounts of income you received from all sources throughout your accounting period. You will not subtract any costs or expenses from this number. 

Form 990-N is an entirely electronic form with no paper counterparts.

990-EZ

You will file Form 990-EZ if these conditions apply:

  • Your organization has less than $200,000 in gross receipts.
  • Your business’ total assets are less than $500,000.

Tax-exempt organizations, section 527 political organizations and nonexempt charitable trusts often file 990-EZ.

You may also be able to file a standard 990 form in this instance, so it is beneficial to check all requirements for 990-EZ.

990

If your organization has gross receipts equal to or greater than $200,000 and total assets equal to or greater than $500,000, you will file Form 990.

Certain organizations are exempt from filing Form 990, even if they meet these requirements. These include:

  • Churches
  • Religious organizations
  • Political organizations

Your Form 990 will disclose revenue, expenses, liabilities and assets. You’ll also have to describe the mission and activities of your organization.

990-PF

Regardless of its financial status, any private organization will need to file a 990-PF form. This form will include information about your private foundation’s:

  • Financial activities
  • Assets
  • Rewarded grants
  • Trustees and officers

Contact Marshall Jones for Tax Planning and Preparation Services

While you may understand these basics about 990 forms, it’s crucial to know there will always be exceptions. Consulting with a certified public accountant (CPA) will help you ensure that your organization meets annual reporting requirements.

We have been serving Atlanta organizations for over 30 years with integrity and professionalism. Our tax planning and preparation services will help you save time and money, and our certified public accountants and advisors have exceptional availability.

We offer tax services for any organization, and we specialize in nonprofit tax forms. Our accountants stay informed about changing tax laws to ensure you are always up to date and compliant.

If you need tax planning and preparation services in Atlanta, please contact the Marshall Jones team today to schedule an appointment.

01-How-to-Prepare-for-an-Audit-in-Three-Easy-Steps

How to Prepare for an Audit in Three Easy Steps

You know you need an audit — but do you know how to prepare for it? From determining which type of audit you need to choosing the right firm, you need to follow specific steps to ensure you reach your goals.

1. Determine the Audit You Need

You will first need to decide what type of audit is necessary for your business. For example, a construction company would likely need a bonding or licensing audit. 

Consider whether you need a balance sheet audit or a full audit. Single audits are another option, especially if your organization is a nonprofit receiving government funding.

2. Choose a Certified Public Account (CPA) Firm

Now that you know what type of audit your company requires, you should research CPA firms. It’s critical to find a reliable and trustworthy option to ensure you are getting the correct service from trusted professionals.

In many cases, you can find a firm specializing in your industry, increasing the CPA’s likelihood of conducting a dependable audit.

3. Start Preparing for a Financial Statement Audit

The last step is to prepare for the audit. Communication is crucial, especially for loan covenant or federal spending requirement compliance. Make sure you know the best way to communicate with your CPA firm. That way, you can convey important information, such as when your audit’s deadline is, to ensure the firm conducts it correctly.

It’s also essential to start gathering important documents and plan for the time it takes to work with your auditor. That way, it’s easier and faster for them to complete your audit because you are ready to assist as necessary.

Contact Marshall Jones Today for Audit and Assurance Services

If you follow these three steps, your audit will run smoothly without requiring extra effort. When you need to choose a reliable firm for an audit at your business, come to Marshall Jones. 

Our audit and assurance services help gather financial records and show your management team the next steps. Whether you are trying to maintain or grow your company, our team helps you with audit and assurance services to satisfy government authorities and other entities that require them.

We use a risk-based audit approach, provide valuable recommendations and report our findings to the necessary parties. We have over 30 years of experience, and our services help you save by not requiring you to hire an in-house CPA.

Please contact the Marshall Jones team today for audit and assurance services!

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What Are Common Audit Adjustments and How Can I Avoid Them?

Audit adjustments can significantly impact your organization’s financial statements. It’s essential to evaluate their regulatory compliance effects and determine potential internal control deficiencies that may prevent you from detecting misstatements.

Though many audit adjustments are common, there are various measures you can take to avoid these corrections and ultimately improve your internal operations.

What Are Audit Adjustments?

Audit adjustments are proposed corrections that outside auditors make for your company’s general ledger. These corrections come from financial misstatements, errors or items discovered during auditing procedures that may require revision or reclassification to different accounts. Your business must correct these issues before your auditors will sign off on the audit report. 

Common Audit Adjustments

Companies run into many common audit adjustments depending on their financial activities. They can range from verifying financial reporting accuracy to adjusting incorrectly classified accounts. 

Some frequently occurring audit adjustments include:

  • Prepaid expenses: Assets that are paid for and used gradually, such as office supplies. 
  • Depreciation: The process of allocating or distributing asset costs over the asset’s useful life.
  • Net assets: Assets and contributions with donor restrictions. 
  • Accrued revenues: Revenue earned during one accounting period that isn’t received or recorded until a later period.
  • Straight-line rent: The total liability under a rental agreement that should be charged over the contract term on an even, periodic basis. 
  • Accrued expenses: Expenses that occurred in one accounting period but will be paid during a later period.

How to Avoid Audit Adjustments

Though audit adjustments may seem unpreventable, there are ways to elude them. You can avoid even the most common audit adjustments by taking the following precautions:

  • Perform self-audits: Frequent misstatements indicate that your company’s financial processes require remediation. Consider self-auditing any significant transactions, receipts, disbursements and potential variances to catch errors before they occur.
  • Review financial statements: Management should regularly review your company’s general ledger, cash receipts, cash disbursement journals and subsidiary ledgers to confirm that these balances are reconciled accurately. Frequent reviews are evidence of effective internal controls and timely corrections.
  • Monitor nonroutine transactions: It be can be easy for nonroutine transactions to slip through the cracks, as these periodic activities are not typically part of your routine flow of transactions. Consider reviewing these transactions regularly to account for them.

Schedule Audit and Assuarnaces Services at Marshall Jones

You can avoid audit adjustments with the help of the audit and assurance experts at Marshall Jones. We’ve spent over 35 years providing excellent client service to customers across Atlanta with exceptional technical competency and complete integrity.

Contact us for more information on our services today!

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What Do I Do With My Audit Report Once Received?

Audit reports are written assessments of whether a company’s financial statements comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and are free of incorrect information. Auditors’ findings provide management, shareholders and potential investors with valuable financial information and insights on your business’s financial position. 

If you’re new to the auditing process, you may wonder what to do after receiving your audit report. You can take several courses of action, depending on the auditors’ findings and whether you agree with them.

What Happens After You Receive Your Audit Report?

An audit report includes a written letter attached to your company’s financial statements detailing the auditors’ opinions of your GAAP compliance. It states the auditors’ responsibility, the accounting principles that guided the report and the auditors’ opinions.

After you receive your company’s audit report, you can assess the auditors’ findings and determine if you agree or disagree with their assessments.

What to Do if You Agree With the Auditors’ Findings

If you agree with the conclusions of the audit report, your next steps are fairly simple. To proceed, you’ll state that you agree with the auditors’ findings in the management response and detail the steps you’ll take to resolve any operational deficiencies identified in the report.

What to Do if You Disagree With the Conclusions on an Audit Report

You can oppose the auditor’s conclusions by stating your beliefs in the audit response and reasoning to back up your statement. If you disagree with the report, your auditors will respond with further explanation to rebut your assertion, which may help your case and elicit further investigation.

All audits with recommendations or concerns are subject to a post-audit review to verify that your management address the suggestions outlined in the auditor’s report.

After Receiving the Final Audit Report

Once your auditor issues a final audit report, management must evaluate the audit’s quality, taking into account the auditor’s communication, performance, professionalism and recommendations. To assess these areas, you can verify that the auditor tested relevant aspects of your business and industry. If you’re unsatisfied with your auditor, you can submit a proposal requesting that you get a new one.

Book Audit and Assurance Services at Marshall Jones

If you require assistance with your next audit, consider audit and assurance services from the Certified Public Accountants and Advisors at Marshall Jones. We conduct our accounting services with humility and integrity in mind.

Contact us to learn more about our services today!

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Does an Employer Benefit From a 401(k) Matching Plan?

Hiring and retaining talented candidates can be difficult in today’s marketplace. If the candidate you’ve offered the position to is juggling multiple offers, their selection might boil down to one thing — the company’s benefits packages. Your ideal candidate is most likely to choose the company with the most competitive benefits package. 

What Are the Benefits of Having a 401(k) Package for Your Employees?

Offering a 401(k) benefits package isn’t mandatory as an employer, but there are several incentives to provide one:

  • Attract qualified talent: Set yourself apart from the competition by offering talented candidates a comprehensive benefits package.
  • High retention: Show your employees they’re valued by matching their investments in their future with a 401(k).
  • Long-term company success: Your company’s success is directly tied to the talents, qualifications and capabilities of your workforce. 

To ensure you offer the best packages your company can, we recommend you annually review your benefits packages for new and existing employees. 

Does An Employer Benefit From a 401(k) Matching Plan?

There are several benefits of a 401(k) plan — for you and your employees. For example, you can both benefit from tax breaks with 401(k) plans. Money contributed to a 401(k) is tax-deductible and accumulates on a tax-deferred basis, subsequently lowering both of your tax brackets.

If your employee’s salary is $80,000 and they contribute $18,000 to their 401(k), they are lowering their tax bracket because their salary then becomes $62,000 when you deduct the $18,000. 

Employers benefit from a matching plan, too. The money you contribute to their 401(k) is also pre-tax, lowering your tax bracket. Remember to contribute to your own 401(k) because this allows for salary deferral and profit-sharing contributions. 

What Are the Benefits of Offering A Retirement Plan and 401(k) to Your Employees?

When you match your employee’s contributions to their 401(k), they are accepting free money — which is an incredible incentive, especially if your contributions outdo another employer’s. Even better, the money you and your employee invest into a 401(k) generates more savings for both of you in the long term. 

You can provide salary-based, company-profit or dollar-for-dollar amount matching contributions depending on your preference:

  • Dollar-for-dollar: With a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution, you match their contribution down to the dollar — so if they contribute $5,500 annually, you will, too.
  • Percentage-based: Rather than contributing 100% of what your employee puts into their 401(k), you can contribute a certain percentage. For example, it’s common to match 50% of their input. If your employee contributes $5,500, you contribute $2,750. 

There is a maximum contribution limit to a 401(k) between an employee and employer. According to the IRS, as of 2021, the maximum contribution amount is $58,000. 

Contact Marshall Jones

Contact Our Dedicated Professionals for Your Accounting Services Today! 

At Marshall Jones, we are committed to providing quality tax advisory services for corporations and individuals. Reach out to our certified public accountants and advisors and benefit from our industry expertise. We have over 30 years of experience in tax preparation services. 

Reach out to us online today to get started!