Frequently Asked Questions

TAX

 

Q. I have been preparing my tax return for years and have never had a problem. Why should I use a professional?

A. Our tax laws today are extremely complex and getting more so every year. So unless your situation is fairly simple, you may be missing out on some opportunities.  Such opportunities can come in the form of missing deductions or not taking advantage of income exclusions.  A professional has the experience to help you find them.  In most cases, the tax savings offered by a professional are greater than the cost of hiring the professional.  Moreover, if you encounter a transaction you are unsure of, your professional, already familiar with your situation, can offer the best advice possible.

Q. Why should I have a professional CPA prepare my tax return?

A. To become a Certified Public Accountant, a person must pass an extensive, two-day examination on auditing, accounting, taxation and business law.  Once certified, a CPA must remain current by taking classes in these subjects in order to maintain his/her license, which is issued by their state every two years.  This means that a CPA has a depth and breadth of knowledge that most other tax professionals do not have and are not required to maintain.  You can feel safe when hiring a CPA.

Q. What else can a CPA provide?

A. The main feature of any CPA is the ability to become a trusted business/tax advisor.  While most people use a CPA for professional tax preparation, this is only one area in which a CPA can bring value.  A CPA has the skills to help you plan for many future events, such as buying and financing a home, paying for college, saving for retirement, and transferring assets to the next generation.  A CPA is especially suited for helping new businesses by recommending the proper business structure.

Q. How do I get started with your firm?

A. It is best that you contact our office to set up an initial consultation.  There is no charge for this and it gives us a chance to get to know each other. After this, we try to develop an understanding of your future financial goals.  This will provide us with the information necessary to begin developing tax and financial strategies that will help you achieve your goals.

 

BOOKKEEPING

 

Q. I purchased Quickbooks for my business. Is this a good program for me?

A. Quickbooks is an excellent program for small businesses, and can handle almost all of your accounting needs.  We use Quickbooks for all of our bookkeeping clients.

Q. If Quickbooks is such a great program, why do I need a professional to handle my bookkeeping?

A. There are several reasons.  First, it is important to set up your Quickbooks file in a format that can be easily translated into a tax return.  This will allow you to evaluate your profitability from an income-tax standpoint.  A professional is best suited to help you with this.  Second, it is important to recognize which purchases are fully deductible in the year of payment.  For example, the purchase of a computer or desk may not be fully deductible in the first year.  It might be necessary to depreciate these purchases over several years.  You will want to record this correctly in QuickBooks so that it can be easily identified at tax time.  Third, Quickbooks is a very powerful program that has a lot of capabilities.  Instead of spending hours learning how to use the program, you will probably want to spend your time doing what it is you went into business to do; not bookkeeping.  A professional can do it for you, and in much less time.  Fourth, a professional who handles your bookkeeping is much better suited to answer any business and/or tax questions related to your specific situation when he/she is familiar with your numbers and involved with your business on a continuous basis.

Q. Where do you perform the bookkeeping? How do I provide you with my information?

A. We can perform the bookkeeping at your location or in our office, whichever you prefer.  If you want to maintain your Quickbooks file on your computer so that you can use it anytime, such as for billing your customers, it is best that we come to your location and work on your computer.  If this is not important to you, you can mail your information to us or we can come by and pick it up.

Q. How often do you perform the bookkeeping?

A. Generally, once per month.  But this can vary depending on the size of your business and your needs.  New businesses with very few transactions may only need a quarterly bookkeeping service, while larger, well-established businesses may need it more frequently.

Q. How much will it cost me?

A. This depends on how much activity your business has and what level of service you are looking for.  It can cost as little as $50.00/month or several hundred dollars per month.

 

FINANCIAL ADVISORY SERVICES

 

Q. Do you assist clients with other financial planning services?

A. Yes.  Through our affiliate Landmark Financial Services Group, LLC, we offer a full range of financial planning and wealth advisory services to compliment your tax strategies.  Whether it is saving and investing for college, planning for retirement or protecting your family from a tragic loss, we can help our clients navigate the complex waters of financial planning.

Q. Does it make sense to have my financial advisor work closely with my tax advisor?

A. Definitely.  Almost every financial decision you make will have a tax component to it.  There is no one better to help you make these decisions than a team of professional CPAs who have the knowledge and experience to guide your investment team through the always changing tax laws.  Mark W Nichols, CPA, MST, MBA has that experience.  He not only has a Masters Degree In Taxation from Bentley University, but is also the Chairman of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants Federal Tax Committee and previously worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers, the largest tax and accounting firm in the US.

Q. Is your financial advisory team captive with any particular company?

A. No.  Mark W. Nichols is an independent investment advisory representative with Woodbury Financial Services, Inc.  This means that you can be confident that the advice he provides is not based on anything other than what is best for the client.

Q. Why does it make sense to have my financial advisor in the same office with my tax advisor?

A. There is no more important aspect of your financial plan than coordinating your investment, protection and savings decisions with your tax advisors.  Combining these two teams in the same location is inherent in achieving the most successful collaboration.  And you do not have to meet with two or more professionals in more than one location.  You can do it all at once with Mark W Nichols, CPA PC and Landmark Financial Services Group, LLC.

Mark W Nichols, CPA, PC • 10 New England Business Center Drive, Suite 102 • Andover, MA 01810 • Phone: 978.984.5425 • E-Mail: info@mwncpa.com.  |  Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC and Registered Investment Adviser.  |  Landmark Financial Services Group, LLC is not an affiliated entity with Woodbury Financial Services, Inc.  |  Mark W. Nichols,CPA, PC is not affiliated with, nor endorsed by, Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. |  Investment professionals on this site are currently registered to conduct securities business in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Florida.