Frequently Asked Questions

Be In The Know

What are the differences between an accountant, a CPA and a bookkeeper?

Bookkeepers, accountants and CPA’s all work with businesses financial data.  Bookkeepers typically record transactions, whereas accountants tend to provide more in-depth analysis.  A CPA is an accountant who has gone through the rigorous process of obtaining a state license and is required to keep current with laws to maintain that license in that state.

The line between accounting and bookkeeping is slowly diminishing. While most businesses will still need a bookkeeper to keep the books, bookkeeping will has become a lot more than just data entry, balancing bank ledgers, and reconciling bank statements. 

Business has become more globalized than ever, requiring expertise in areas more than accounting.  Hence many companies are requiring more services and needing the expertise of CPA’s. CPA’s hold some of the highest confidence out of all professional certifications with businesses knowing that CPA’s have the prerequisite skills to get the job done.

How long should I keep my tax records for?

You should plan on keeping your tax returns along with any supporting documentation for at least three years following the date you filed or the due date of the tax return, whichever is later.  There are many instances in which the three-year rule does not apply. As a general rule we would recommend you keep your records for a minimum of seven years. As a client of Unique Accounting Systems, we will keep your data indefinitely.  After ten years, your data will go into secure, archival storage.

Why hire an independent accountant?

Considering the complexity of the law and the chance of getting something wrong, the penalties can be severe for a simple mistake.  In many cases once audited, you become entrapped with a feeling that you will never be able to surface from it and you would be right to feel as such.  The taxpayer is ultimately responsible for their financial situation and the peace of mind one will receive by talking to a professional will always outweigh the costs.  Additionally, by using an independent accountant you are taking the first step in your audit defense, establishing proper internal controls with yourself. You may save a few bucks in the short term, but wind up paying thousands in the long term.   Never do it alone and have a firm who will have your back.