FAQ - Accounting Services

Our business has some unique bookkeeping requirements. Can you customize your service for us?

Yes. In nearly all cases, we can provide the precise service you require. We are highly flexible and attempt to provide all necessary services for our clients.


What is included in your basic bookkeeping service?

Every month we categorize and record all income and expense transactions and provide you with a monthly financial statement consisting of a balance sheet, a profit and loss statement, a check register which includes copies of all paid invoices, and a bank reconciliation that includes your bank statement and check copies. These are the basic reports all business owners need for tax reporting purposes, planning, and for making informed decisions. This is the basic package which is adequate for nearly all small businesses. Other services are available.


We have an elderly relative that needs help accounting for his income and expenses. We are fearful that he will not pay his obligations on time and will incur late charges and interest that can amount to a lot of money. It can also damage his credit. Can Nationwide Accounting Services provide a cost-effective service that will protect our relative?

Absolutely. Call us so we can provide you with a proposal.


What is not included in your basic bookkeeping package?

Following are the most common add-ons to our basic package of bookkeeping services: (1) Billing Clients, (2) Payroll Management, (3) Filing Tax Returns, and (4) Paying Bills.


If you are providing us with bookkeeping services, when can I expect to receive my monthly financial statements?

Our goal is to deliver them by email no later than the fifteenth day of each month. Most are delivered earlier.


In past years our organization has used various accountants to prepare and file our state and federal tax returns. It seems that without exception, they are always running behind which results in our having to obtain extensions. Most of these accounting firms have only one or possibly two people who can prepare and file tax returns. Do you have sufficient staff to perform on time?

We have three accountants available to prepare and file tax returns for our clients. We make it our number one goal to prepare and file accurate tax returns on time.


Can Nationwide Accounting arrange to send invoices to my clients on a systematic basis?

Absolutely. We send invoices by both email and regular mail depending on our client's preferences.


For homeowner association accounting, do you recommend Automatic Bill Payments or ACH?

We recommend Automatic Bill Payments. See: Automatic Bill Payments vs ACH.


Does your company collect delinquent assessments for community associations?

Our affiliate, Pacific Association Collections (PAC) specializes in the collection of delinquent assessments for community associations located anywhere in California. The company was founded in 1987. Call Michael Chulak for assistance or visit: Pacific-AssociationCollections.com.


When does Nationwide Accounting Services get paid?

If we are performing recurring bookkeeping services, payment is due on the third day of each month.


What is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

Most people use the terms interchangeably but there are technical differences that are not of great significance as long as a client knows exactly what services they will be receiving.

Technically, bookkeeping consists of the recording of financial transactions, and is part of the process of accounting. Accounting focuses on the reporting of an organization's financial information including the preparation of financial statements. Nationwide Accounting Services provides both bookkeeping and accounting services to its clients and the terms are used interchangeably on our website.


Can you provide accounting services in Northern California?

We can provide accounting services anywhere within the United States. We are a nationwide accounting firm.


If we hire Nationwide Accounting Services, will we be dealing with staff located outside the United States?

No. All of the owners and staff live and work in Southern California. You will never be referred to anyone outside of California.


Does your firm have a CPA available if we need CPA services?

Yes. Contact our President and Chief Financial Officer, Michael Chulak if you have a need for CPA services.


If we hire you, will we be locked into a long term contract?

No. Either party can cancel at any time providing a 60 day notice.


Will we be able do reach you on weekends or after hours if necessary?

Yes. Our clients are provided a cell phone number for afterhours or weekend communications.


Can you assist our homeowner association prepare an annual budget?

Absolutely. Please see: Budgets for Homeowner Associations. We also have an affiliate that provides Reserve Studies for homeowner associations: PacificReserveStudies.com.


Our HOA is unincorporated. Can Nationwide Accounting Services assist us in getting our homeowner association incorporated so our owners are better protected?

Yes. There are many reasons to incorporate. See: Reasons to Incorporate Your HOA and then contact Michael Chulak for additional information.


Our homeowner association has been suspended by the state. Can Nationwide Accounting Services help us get our HOA active again?

Absolutely. Homeowner associations can be suspended for many reasons. Our firm can assist you in reviving your corporate status. See: Suspended Associations and then call us.


Does your company make it a practice to scan all important documents and communications?



When Nationwide Accounting Services prepares and files tax returns, can we be certain that the information provided will be kept confidential?

Yes. The only people, other than the IRS and FTB to see your information will be the tax preparer and his or her supervisor who will be reviewing and approving the tax returns before they are filed. No other person in our company will have access to the information provided or the returns. We fully understand the importance of confidentiality.


What property management software do you use?

We use AppFolio which is a first-class software designed specifically for property management companies and their clients.


What software does your firm use to prepare state and federal income tax returns?

We use Drake Software.


How often do you write checks?

Generally, once each week, but we can produce a check within 24 hours if necessary.


If we hire Nationwide Accounting Services to provide bookkeeping services for one small homeowner association, how much can we expect to pay?

Bookkeeping services utilizing AppFolio will typically cost $200 to $400 per month for small associations. If homeowners sell or refinance their units, there is an additional fee paid by the owner or buyer, not the association.


How does Nationwide Accounting Services handle payroll?

We highly recommend that our clients utilize the services of a payroll and human resources specialist to work directly with our firm. The large companies keep current on all of the tax and employment laws which provides our accounting clients with the highest level of legal protection. We then work with a payroll and human resources expert. ADP, Paychecks, Gusto, OnPay, and Heartland Payroll is a partial list of experienced payroll companies. See: IRS Forms.


Our company has reached the point where we need a controller or chief financial officer to watch over our finances and to deal with the filling of tax returns, and our banking relationship. At this point, we cannot afford to hire a full-time person to fill this important position. What is the solution?

The solution is to hire a part-time chief financial officer-controller who can take your company to the next level. This is one of several services provided by Nationwide Accounting Services.


Does Nationwide Accounting Services provide its clients with Cost Segregation Analysis and Reports?

Yes. See: Cost Segregation Analysis for details about this important cost savings service.


Can you form a corporation for our business?

Absolutely. The cost is $200 plus the fee to the state which is currently $100. The state also charges an annual fee which is currently $800 per year. Nationwide Accounting Services is incorporated in California. We believe the protections provided to the shareholders of a corporation are well worth the cost.


If we utilize your services to form a corporation, can you form the corporation with more than one classification of stock?

Absolutely. We have created new corporations with common stock that has voting rights, common stock without voting rights, and preferred stock that includes preferences for the payment of dividends and/or future liquidation. It is important to have flexibility if in the future you want to merge, raise additional capital and/or provide employee benefits in the form of stock.


What is the difference between authorized shares of a corporation and outstanding shares?

Authorized shares are the maximum number of shares a corporation is legally allowed to issue as determined by its articles of incorporation. Outstanding shares are the actual number of shares issued to investors from those shares authorized to be issued. Corporations often hold back on issuing shares because they may want to issue them in the future for a specific purpose.


What happens if I am unable to pay my state or federal income taxes?

If you do not pay the taxes demanded by the government, you will be subject to severe penalties and interest and your rights are severely limited. See: What Happens if I Can't Pay My Income Taxes.


When are HOA tax returns required to be filed with the state and federal governments?

HOAs are required to file their tax returns by the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of its tax year. For community associations with a tax year ending on December 31, they must file by the following April 15.


What does Nationwide Accounting Services need to file tax returns for homeowner associations?

When we prepare and file a homeowner association's state and federal tax returns, we assume the association is a non-profit mutual benefit corporation and at least 85 percent of the revenue is residential unless the client indicates otherwise. More than 99% of the tax return assignments we receive from homeowner associations meet these two requirements.

We will need the following items which can be scanned and sent via email, or by U.S mail: (1) The complete financial statements for the relevant tax period, (2) Copies of the year-end bank statements for all accounts, and (3) The prior year's state and federal tax returns.


Are HOAs permitted to obtain extensions to file their state and federal tax returns?

Yes. As long as the extension form is filed prior to the filing due date, a 6-month extension is generally automatic. It is important to be aware that an extension is only an extension to file the return, the taxes must be paid on time or a penalty will apply.


Can the IRS audit a taxpayer after a return has been filed and a refund issued?

Yes. This is also true of the California Franchise Tax Board.


How long does the IRS have to audit our association's tax returns?

The IRS has 3 years to audit HOA tax returns. HOA tax returns prepared by an accounting firm using form 1120-H are rarely audited.


How does the Internal Revenue Service conduct audits?

There are three ways: (1) Correspondence audits where the parties communicate in writing. This type of audit is reserved for small dollar audits; (2) Office audits which start with a letter but require the taxpayer to appear at one of their field offices with all relevant documents, and (3) Criminal investigations where the taxpayer should be represented by an attorney.


What are some of the most common errors that taxpayers make when filing personal and business state and federal tax returns?

The most common tax filing errors that we have come across include the following: (1) failure to take all lawful deductions, (2) failing to include all W-2, 1099 and K-1 forms, (3) amounts entered on the wrong lines, (4) taking home office expenses that are inappropriate or excessive, (5) taking deductions for meal expenses that are not allowed, (6) failing to sign and date the tax returns, (7) math errors, (8) sending the completed tax returns to the wrong office, (9) arranging the tax forms in the wrong order, and (10) omitting required schedules and pages. All of these errors and others can result in delays, audits, penalties, and interest charges. The IRS and FTB are unforgiving. They expect perfection.


Is income generated from bartering goods or services taxable?

Yes. For example, if you provide a service and receive something in return, the value of what you received is taxed by the IRS and FTB. Barter transactions are required by law to be reported to the IRS and FTB. See: Barter Exchanges - How They Work.


What is an Offer in Compromise?

If accepted by the IRS, an Offer in Compromise allows a taxpayer to settle a tax debt for less than the amount they claim is owed. See: Offer in Compromise.


Can Nationwide Accounting Services refer us to a commercial collection company that collects both accounts receivable and court judgments for its clients?

Yes. Our affiliate, Pacific Rim Commercial Collections (PRC) is a full service business to business commercial collection firm with more than 30 years of experience collecting debts for its clients.


How are FICO scores determined and how can a FICO score be improved?

A FICO score is a credit score created by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO). Lenders and lessors use the scores to make credit granting decisions. See: FICO Score - Credit Score for detailed answers to your questions.


What is mark to market accounting?

Mark to market accounting (MTM) is an accounting method used to value certain assets that fluctuate over time such as loans outstanding, bonds, and other securities. Mark to market presents a more accurate valuation of a company's assets, based upon current market conditions, which includes the level of interest rates. MTM accounting is the alternative to historical cost accounting which maintains an asset's value at the original cost. For example, if a company makes a loan at a fixed rate of 7% per annum for 10 years and the market declines to 5%, the value of the loan will decline in the marketplace. Utilizing MTM accounting, the company will write down the value of the asset to reflect the current market value given that the loan will have to be sold at a discount. Under the historical cost accounting method, the asset remains on the books at the original cost.


What hours is Nationwide Accounting open for business?

Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to Noon and 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Clients are provided cell phone numbers so we can be reached after hours or on weekends in the event of an emergency.


Can Nationwide Accounting Services help us sell our California business?

Absolutely. NAS works closely with its affiliate, Pacific Business Advisors, a full-service business brokerage firm established by Michael Chulak in 1987.


Is Nationwide Accounting Services related to First Nationwide Accounting Services?

No. Our firm is not, and has never been related to First Nationwide Accounting Services.


Does Nationwide Accounting contribute to any charitable organizations?

Yes. We contribute to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Shriner’s Hospital for Children. See Charitable Contributions.


We have a new growing business with limited cash flow. Will Nationwide Accounting Services consider providing accounting services in exchange for our services?

Possibly. Please refer to: Barter for Accounting Services.


Does Nationwide Accounting provide accounting services to mutual water companies located in California?

Absolutely. We provide monthly billing of assessments, the payment of all authorized invoices, transfers to reserve accounts, collection services, and monthly financial statements. Our AppFolio software is perfectly designed for mutual water company accounting. We can also refer you to a company that provides management services to mutual water companies anywhere in California.


Can Nationwide Accounting Services provide us advice on how we should hold title to our property?

Only an attorney can provide such advice, however, we have provided educational material on this website to assist you see: See: Holding Title to Real Estate in California.


What is accountant responsibility?

Accountant responsibility is the ethical responsibility an accountant has to those who rely on the accountant's work. Accountants have a duty to serve the public interest which includes regulatory agencies, creditors,investors, and shareholders. Accountants must follow the law and all professional standards. Accountants are not held responsible for unintentional errors on tax returns prepared for their clients.


What is a Chartered Accountant (CA)?

A Chartered Accountant is an international designation granted to high level accounting professionals in many countries other than the United States. The designation is equivalent to the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license in the United States.


What is the difference between cash accounting and accrual accounting?

The short answer is that cash accounting is based upon cash being deposited into or being withdrawn from a bank account. Accrual accounting is based on tracking money that has been earned or that is owed to another. Most large companies prefer accrual accounting while most smaller companies prefer cash accounting. Nationwide Accounting Services provides both accounting methods depending upon the preference of our client.


What are capital expenditures?

Capital expenditures are funds used by a company or property owner to acquire or upgrade physical assets such as equipment, heavy machinery, and buildings. Capital expenditures are recorded or capitalized on the balance sheet instead of expensed on the income statement. Capitalizing an asset requires the owner to spread the cost over the useful life of the asset as depreciation expense.


What can I claim as a tax deduction without a receipt?

Both the IRS and FTB require taxpayers to keep documentary evidence to support reported expenses. If you are audited and cannot provide written receipts, alternatives such as canceled checks and credit card or debit card statements may be acceptable. The best practice is to keep receipts.


May we distribute your articles to others and add them to our website?

Yes, provided we are given credit for writing the article. Every one of our articles includes our identifying information at the bottom which must be included. There is no cost for using our articles.


What is Tax Freedom Day?

Tax Freedom Day is a significant date because it represents how long American taxpayers, as a whole, have to work in order to pay all federal , state, and local taxes. Tax Freedom Day varies each year depending on a number of factors, but is usually around April 18th of each year. This means that the average taxpayer works until April 18th to pay his or her portion of all taxes and then starting on Tax Freedom Day, his or her earnings can be spent freely. Tax Freedom Day is calculated and announced each year by the Tax Foundation. See: List of Taxes Americans Pay Each Year.


What is the Tax Foundation?

The Tax Foundation, established in 1937, is a non-profit organization that collects data in order to monitor the tax and spending policies of government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. The Tax Foundation publishes the Tax Freedom Day reports each year. The Tax Foundation is critical of unnecessary tax increases that burden the American people.


What is forensic accounting or a forensic audit?

Forensic accounting and forensic audits involve the examination of financial and accounting records that result from litigation or that may lead to litigation. The results of a forensic audit or investigation can be used as evidence in court.

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