Category Archives: Raleigh CPA Firm

The Game Plan of an Audit

by Steve Schulzhistory-telecom-audit

Last week while talking to my brother on the phone he asked me what I did as an auditor. I began explaining what the purpose of an audit was, what some basic procedures were, and what different issues raised during an audit when he stopped me and said he had no idea what I was talking about. I sat there in silence for a second and realized there has to be a better way to explain to someone with no knowledge of accounting what I did day in and day out; then it hit me. As huge football fans, I could compare the two with ease – the players/team were the entity, each play was like a new transaction, and the officials were like the auditors. I called him back and went on to explain the following:

Having the necessary personnel – Having the necessary personnel is essential for both the engagement team and the entity. First and foremost, the audit staff must be independent and possess the proper level of training and knowledge to carry out the engagement(s) at hand. The entity also needs to have the appropriate staff able to handle daily processes that oversee the internal controls and maintain records of transactions. In comparison to football, officials must be unbiased, knowledgeable, and properly trained to work their assigned position. Each side of the ball will need the correct number of players and the offense will need to be in the proper formation before any play can be run. In all respects, failure to have the proper personnel may result in unfavorable conditions that gather insufficient audit evidence used to determine an opinion.

Building off of a strong pre-season – During the pre-season, teams, officials, and the league must prepare efficiently and effectively in order for things to run smoothly during the year. In audit this is similar to the planning stages. When planning the engagement, the audit team will come up with a strategy to understand the scope, timing, and direction of the audit; much like a team devises a game plan going into each game.

The players and the officials – Officials monitor each play just like auditors test the transactions of entities. During fieldwork, auditors will examine different accounts, test controls, and perform other procedures required to meet the needs of the game plan formulated during planning. If the results of the auditor’s test dictate that more testing is necessary, the auditor will need to carry out further procedures to get a better look into the area being tested. In comparison, officials on the field will use their training, judgement, and experience to call plays as accurately as possible however, sometimes they will need to investigate the issue further and will go to the replay system for help. This gives the referee the opportunity to get a closer look at the play and make a more accurate ruling, similar to further audit procedures.

whistleMaking the right call – Understanding that not all transactions are perfect, auditors must determine what differences or errors are material and force the auditor to alter their opinion on either the controls or financial statements. Likewise, officials are tasked to make sure that every game is played fairly. Some things, like a holding penalty, will not determine whether a game was played, as a whole, fairly or not  but major issues might. An example of this would be like playing with deflated footballs. This would cause an unfair advantage and may cause the contest to come under question and possibly a forfeit. In short, a holding penalty would be the equivalent of a five dollar difference between the receipt and what was recorded in the books while playing with deflated footballs would be the equivalent of a material misstatement.

Langdon & Company LLP has lots of professionals and football fans alike that would be happy to answer any of your audit questions.  Please contact our office for more information.

Steve (sschulz@langdoncpa.com) is a staff auditor with Langdon & Company LLP.  He focuses primarily on healthcare and nonprofit organizations.

 

Why Hire a CPA?

by Brittany Spragins

When looking to hire an accountant to prepare your taxes or perform an audit, you want to ensure that you select a CPA for several reasons.  When you see the CPA designation, you are assured a level of quality that surpasses the average accountant. CPA seal

Every state maintains its own standards and criteria for becoming a CPA.  According to the NC State Board of Accountancy, the use of the CPA designation is granted only to individuals “who meet the statutory requirements” of NCGS 93-12.  These requirements include passing all four sections of the CPA exam, receiving a minimum level of college education with an emphasis in accounting, an accounting law course that covers ethics, professionalism, and professional responsibility, and appropriate work experience.  When the CPA submits his or her application, it must be accompanied by 3 letters of recommendation to indicate “good moral character.”

When selecting a CPA, you are assured that,

“a CPA should at all times maintain independence of thought and action, hold the affairs of clients in strict confidence, strive continuously to improve professional skills, observe generally accepted principles and standards, promote sound and informative financial reporting, uphold the dignity and honor of the accounting profession, and maintain high standards of personal conduct.” -www.NCCPABoard.gov

In North Carolina, it is against the law to use the CPA title without the state’s approval that you meet its qualifications.  Part of the benefits to the client is that the NC CPA Board establishes consumer confidence since it instills peer reviews of the CPA’s work.  It also provides enforcement of professional ethics and code of conduct to ensure client confidence.

Whether you hire Langdon and Company LLP to assist you on a personal or corporate level, you can have the confidence that you are hiring a CPA firm that upholds the highest levels of professional and ethical standards, maintains excellent working knowledge of the tax and assurance current events, and is a focused on a personal relationship with the client.

For more information on CPA’s, you can visit the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) website www.aicpa.org or the NC State Board of Accountancy website www.nccpaboard.gov

Brittany (bspragins@langdoncpa.com) is a staff member of Langdon & Company LLP’s tax practice.  She focuses primarily on high net-wealth individual returns and their closely-held companies.

Adult Care Home News

by Rachel Owensdhhs

We now have some clarity when it comes to DHHS compliance for Adult Care Homes (ACH).  Last year, the North Carolina General Assembly passed General Statute 131 D-4.1-4.3. It was under this statute, that the Adult Care Cost Report requirement returned.  These cost reports are mandatory for facilities receiving State/County Special Assistance Program funds. Types of facilities subject to this requirement include nursing home combination facilities with adult care beds, mental health supervised living facilities, and all other  adult care homes (Licensed under general Statute Chapters 131E, 122C, and 131D, respectively).

In addition to these cost reports, any of these facilities that are licensed for 7 or more beds, are to be audited.  This audit is of the cost report information in the form of Agreed-Upon-Procedures (AUPs), that must be done by a certified public accountant (CPA)/independent accountant.

The requirements for the combination facilities are slightly different since they are based on the Medicare’s requirements of Skilled Nursing facilities.  Combined nursing facilities should submit a cost report and related AUPs based on their last completed Medicare cost report, which in most cases covers October 2013 through September 2014.

Important Dates:  For the mental health facilities, the reporting period is July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.  The reporting period for adult care home facilities is October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015.

The due date is December 31, 2015 for all facilities.

All facilities that do not receive any funds through the State/County Special Assistance Program are considered exempt and an exemption form must be completed.  This form can be found on the DHHS Office of the Controller’s website at www.ncdhhs.gov/control.

Nursing-homeThe ACH cost report software is also available online, here.  All questions related to the AUPs can be addressed to AUP.Questions@dhhs.nc.gov.  If you have questions about cost report and AUP preparation, please contact our office.

Are You Withholding Enough?

by Cody Taylor

Have you ever gotten to the end of the year, filed your taxes and then been surprised by what you owe?  One of the factors that can contribute to your surprise is not withholding enough taxes from your paycheck.  If you are a W-2 wage earner (your employer takes taxes out of your paycheck) and your income profile isn’t very complicated you may be able to use the IRS Withholding Calculator to figure out the correct withholding level for you.

The IRS gives some tips for using the program:wallet - not used

  • Have your most recent pay stubs handy
  • Have your most recent income tax return handy
  • Estimate values if necessary, remembering that the results can only be as accurate as the input you provide.

To Change Your Withholding:

  • Use your results from this calculator to help you complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate
  • Submit the completed Form to your employer

Even if you’ve always gotten a refund there may be reason to look into your withholding amount or whether you may need to make an end of year estimated payment to cover any tax liability if your situation has recently changed.  Some scenarios include an increase in nonwage income (Interest, dividends, capital gains (ex. stocks), alimony or self-employment income), a change in marital status, you moved to a new state, gained or lost a dependent or maybe you simply had a change of income level recently.  Nonwage income does not usually have taxes withheld so an increase from one year to the next can surprise people at tax time if they aren’t prepared for it.

Withholding information is especially important when you or your spouse is self-employed.  The IRS Withholding Calculator is not recommended when your income profile contains alternative minimum tax, self-employment tax, or if you receive pass-through income in the form of a K-1(s).  These more complicated situations may require an end of year tax projection to ensure your tax liabilities are covered.

If the IRS Withholding Calculator is not right for your situation and you need some additional assistance with end of year tax planning please contact our office for additional information.

Cody (ctaylor@langdoncpa.com) is a staff in our tax department.  He focuses on various closely-held family companies, and trusts.

FASB Delays Effective Date for Revenue Recognition Standard

by Rebecca Lunn

On May 28, 2014, Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. However, due to response from stakeholders, the FASB has delayed the effective date by one year. New effective dates are as follows:

  • Public business entities, certain not-for-profit entities, and certain employee benefit plans would apply ASU 2014-09 for annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2017, including interim reporting periods within that year. Early application permitted only as of years beginning after December 15, 2016, including interim reporting periods within that year.
  • For all other entities, the ASU is effective beginning after December 15, 2018, and interim reporting periods within years beginning after December 15, 2019. Early application permitted as of an annual reporting period beginning after December 15, 2016, including interim reporting periods within that reporting period; or an annual reporting period beginning after December 15, 2016.

For additional details on ASU 2014-09, please see the earlier blog post written by Lee Byrd.  You can also contact our office with any questions.

 

Year-end filing of 1099-MISC

by Russell Barker

You might think 1099-MISC filing is a year-end job and does not need attention before that.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  You should always gather W-9 forms from applicable vendors whom you have paid year round.  A W-9 form is an IRS form in which the vendor provides name, address and tax identification number.  This number can either be a social security number or Taxpayor Identification Number (“TIN”). year-end-review-300x225

Generally, a 1099-MISC should be filed if the vendor is unincorporated AND amounts paid are:

  • at least $10 in royalties or broker payments in lieu of dividends or tax-exempt interest
  • at least $600 in rents, services (including parts and materials), prizes and awards, other income payments, medical and health care payments, crop insurance proceeds, cash payments for fish (or other aquatic life) you purchase from anyone engaged in the trade or business of catching fish, or, generally, the cash paid from a notional principal contract to an individual, partnership, or estate
  • any fishing boat proceeds
  • gross proceeds of $600, or more paid to an attorney during the year, or
  • withheld any federal income tax under the backup withholding rules regardless of the amount of the payment.

The reason to start gathering this information is because at year end, you may not have contact with a vendor or cannot reach them.

What are the ramifications if you do not get this information and you should have?  The expense that you are trying to claim may not be valid and you might not have a credit on your books for the expense.  In some cases, this can cause an increase to your net income and more taxes you will have to pay at year end.

The old saying of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  By obtaining and filing all W-9 forms, you will avoid a lot of unnecessary stress at year end. Langdon & Company LLP has a team of accounting service professional who are available to help with any of your Form 1099 questions.  Please contact our office for more information.

Russel Barker (rbarker@langdoncpa.com) is a Quickbooks ProAdvisor in our Accounting Services Department.  He works primarily with physician’s practices and other small businesses.

There is an App for that

by Dwayne Murphy

Are expense reports frustrating to fill out? Can’t find that receipt you need? Keeping up with travel expenses can be a nightmare but with our technology today and smartphone capability, keeping up with travel expenses can be, and should be easy. There are a number of apps that will make the difficulty of expense tracking and reporting a thing of the past. Below is a brief description of just a few of the very many apps that that are available to help track and report expenses.

TripitTripIt_icon_flat

  • Automated travel management app that requires little or no data entry. For example it gathers all of the information from the confirmation (e.g. airline, hotel, car rental & restaurant confirmations) when you email it to the app.
  • Organizes everything by day, trip and time and forms an itinerary that you can access and share with others.
  • Edit plans manually and sync with your calendar.
  • There is a free version and a paid version with the paid version including extra benefits such as flight tracking and reward program tracking.

BizXpense Tracker

  • This paid app records all of your expenses and provides a running total for each business trip you take and also has the ability to track time as well
  • Easy mileage tracking by entering total distance or start and stop odometer reading and will remember odometer readings for your next trip.
  • Remembers total mileage from previous trips and will pre-fill mileage when locations are entered.
  • Create and manage categories and sub-categories and mark as “reimbursed” or “submitted”.
  • Print finished expense reports in multiple formats.

Expensifyexpensify

  • This free app lets you snap a quick picture of your receipt and select which report it goes on then Expensify does the rest.
  • Tracks your mileage through your phone’s GPS and allows time entry as well.
  • Easy report submission by use of email or the option to save to a PDF.
  • Integrates with any accounting, payroll, CRM or ERP solution including QuickBooks and ADP.

We all have enough to worry about and expense reports should not be one of them.  There are plenty of apps out there to make life easier and hopefully the list above can give you an idea of which one will be the perfect fit for you.

Dwayne (dmurphy@langdoncpa.com) is an audit senior with Langdon & Company LLP.  He works with a variety of non-profit clients

How to Prepare for an Audit

binderby Lee Byrd

For many organizations, an audit is an annual process that requires the Organization’s personnel to devote additional time and effort above and beyond their day-to-day responsibilities. It can be tiresome and unwelcome to those assigned with task of handling the audit. However, there are many ways in which an Organization can prepare for an audit which could lead to less time the auditor’s spend on site, decreased stress around deadlines, and an overall more efficient audit process.

  • PBC List – PBC stands for “Prepared By Client” and this is a schedule of initial audit requests provided by the auditor, which are to be prepared by Organization personnel. Because the auditor’s schedule is often tight, it is essential that the items on the PBC List are prepared and ready for the auditor prior to the start of fieldwork. Items that are not completed timely could cause significant delays in the audit process.
  • Prepare throughout the year – If the Organization has been audited before, personnel likely have an idea of key information or schedules that will be requested by the auditor. Rather than waiting until the PBC List is received, it may be helpful to update these schedules periodically throughout the year. Such items include investment, debt or fixed asset rollforwards which must be prepared from underlying data and records. As these schedules are updated, be sure to keep those supporting documents in a file or folder to provide the auditor at year-end with the audit package.
  • Organization – Keeping your audit files and underlying support organized will be key to aiding the audit efficiency. Items from the PBC List should be accumulated in folders and labeled according to the PBC List numbering, if possible. This will aid the auditor in identifying and processing the information quickly. Additionally, having supporting documentation such as invoices and deposits filed in an orderly manner will allow Organization personnel to quickly pull support requested by the audit throughout fieldwork. The less time it takes to provide the auditor requested documentation, the less time the auditor must spend on site.
  • Designated Personnel – While it is important to delegate preparation of audit schedules and accumulation of other requested support to financial personnel throughout the organization, it is important to designate an individual, such as a controller or CFO, as the audit contact. This individual will be responsible for communicating deadlines and any delays to the audit team. More importantly, this individual should review all schedules and support prepared by other personnel prior to providing that information to the audit team. Ensuring that provided information is complete and accurate will prevent duplication of effort and audit findings.
  • Information is Key – Know what has happened within the organization during the year. The auditor will ask about significant events, variances from prior year, and variances from budget, just to name a few. Providing clear, concise explanations for these variances will allow the auditor to document appropriately. Additionally, any information that can be provided to the auditor prior to the start of fieldwork will allow the auditor to develop expectations and may reduce the number of variance inquiries made throughout the audit.
  • Communication – Your chosen auditor should always be open to communication from their clients, whether during the actual engagement or throughout the year. Be sure to reach out with questions so that issues can be resolved prior to the start of the audit. Additionally, if you feel that you will not have the requested information prepared by the designated date, notify the auditor immediately so that scheduling and deadlines can be addressed as soon as possible.

It is equally important to the audit firm and the Organization for the audit to be as efficient and seamless as possible. The above suggestions should aid in creating a pleasant audit experience for all parties involved.

Langdon & Company LLP’s audit team is here to help. Contact us with questions regarding your audit engagement. Lee Byrd (lbyrd@langdoncpa.com) is an Audit Manager at our Firm and has over 7 years of experience with a variety of clients.

How to Amend a 1040

by Susan Dean

Have you discovered an error after filing your personal income tax return? Did you forget to report income or claim deductions? Have you received a “corrected” tax reporting document such as a Corrected Form 1099? What should you do if you fall into one of these categories? Depending on the circumstances, you may need to amend your tax return.

To amend your Form 1040, U.S. Individual Incofrom Susanme Tax Return, you should file a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Form 1040X will become your new tax return, changing your original return to include any new information.

Page one of Form 1040X is a summary of your 1040 information, both as previously filed and what you are currently reporting.  Column A reports the “Original amount” as reported on a prior Form 1040 (or prior 1040X). This is the amount(s) you are updating or “amending.” Column C reports the “Corrected amount” or the amount that should have been reported on the original return, the amount you are updating. That leaves Column B. Column B shows the “Net change” between Column A and Column C. Column B reports the difference in what was reported (Column A) and what should have been reported (Column C). Form 1040X gives a visual comparison of your 1040, both before and after the change(s). The form shows the increase or decrease to your taxable income and/or tax liability.

When filing an amended tax return, you must explain the reason for the amendment. This explanation is reported on Part III, Explanation of changes. In this section you should communicate to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) why you are filing Form 1040X. The reason can vary from receiving a late or corrected Form 1099; forgetting to claim a deductible charitable contribution or business expense; reporting additional taxable income; or changing the originally filed filing status. No matter the reason, the IRS wants to know why you are amending and what form(s) and line numbers have changed as well as any supporting schedules that have been affected by the change(s).

Once you have completed Form 1040X by reporting the corrected information, explained the reason for the change(s) and attached any necessary forms and/or schedules, you are ready to sign and file your amended return. Depending on the change in your overall taxable income and/or tax liability, you may owe additional tax to the IRS or you could be due a tax refund. The state you live in and the outcome of your tax liability determines where you file your amended return. Before mailing your amended return, please confirm the correct address in the current year Form 1040X instructions.

Please note if you are amending your federal income tax return, you also may need to amend your state income tax return. Refer to your state income tax return form instructions on when and how to amend your state income tax return or contact your personal certified public accountant.

For more information on amending your Form 1040, please refer to the IRS website and their section on Amended Tax Return Frequently Asked Questions. If you think you may need to amend your personal income tax return and would like further advice on amending or would like to request assistance in amending your personal tax return, please contact our office.

Susan (sdean@langdoncpa.com) is a Tax Manager working primarily with closely-held family businesses and corporations.