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Fundamentally Flexible: How four Fs and Virtual Office CS make one firm a Best Place to Work

The article below was originally published on Thomson Reuters' website.

When Scott Nuttall, managing partner of Kmetz, Nuttall, Elwell, Graham, PLLC in Vero Beach, Florida says, "I think you would have to use the F words" to describe the culture of his firm, don't worry—it's not what you think.

"We like to think of ourselves as fast, fun and furious," says Nuttall, "and I'll even add in flexible, which I think is a key word." Key because KNEG prides itself on providing staff with a flexible work environment, which has helped the firm win a "Best Places to Work" award for the past five years running.

Nuttall also believes in another important key: technology. "As managing partner I wear a few different hats, and one of them is establishing an infrastructure for my staff. I feel it's very important for new hires—especially the younger kids just graduating from college—to be in an environment where they've got access to the latest and greatest in terms of technology, resources and materials to help them grow in their career. We want to provide them with those tools."

Ten years ago, Nuttall found a tool that gave him the flexibility he sought: Virtual Office CS, the Thomson Reuters product that enables firms to access their CS Professional Suite® tax and accounting software in the cloud. KNEG, a Thomson Reuters customer for the past 20 years, began using Virtual Office CS ten years ago so they didn't have to worry about constant technology updates or software upgrades.

And they've continued not worrying in the decade since.

"It's all turnkey," Nuttall says. "Everything pretty much runs on autopilot, which has taken away the need for us to worry about our technology and allowed us focus on our core business."

It didn't take long for the entire firm to realize the benefits of Virtual Office CS. According to Nuttall, "One of the things we're big on at our office is that our staff members have a great office setup both at work and at home. Scanners, printers, laptops—we're buying, and allowing them to take it all home, because we don't care how the work gets done, just that it does get done. Our staff can go home early, have dinner with the kids, and put in a few hours of work in the evening. Or when they're traveling, it's easy for them to check in here and there. We all appreciate the flexibility and the ability to connect at any time, and we're a lot more productive as a result of our relationship with Virtual Office CS."

Has there been a tangible impact on the firm—for instance, on the bottom line? That answer would be an unequivocal yes.

"Twenty years ago, our 15 staff members did about $800,000 of billings per year. Ten years ago [when the firm implemented Virtual Office CS], we did $2 million with the same number of staff. And here we are today, doing $3.2 million in gross revenue, with just 17 staff members. The number of employees has obviously changed little; what has changed is the technology and the ability for us to get things done much faster and more effectively."

Nuttall tells another story that makes his case.

"It's not easy to find good, competent staff CPAs. We had a very strong audit manager, who before Virtual Office CS was spending about half his time working on the technology side, servicing and maintaining our internal server. Once we got onto the Virtual Office CS environment, we got back our full-time audit manager—which we needed much more than we did an IT person."

Does Nuttall have a favorite Virtual Office CS feature?

"The ability for us to have portals available for our clients, so they can access their information or upload files directly to us, whether it's their 1040 or business data, a QuickBooks® update or just to communicate with us.

"Our clients tend to be, for the most part, on the elderly side. In the past we had a little trouble getting them enveloped into technology, but we're starting to find as we deal with the 50- and 60-year-olds that they're more adapted to technology. They're used to checking their medical records through a medical portal. Now we're actually finding that more and more of our clients want that technology. Virtual Office CS lets us do that."

So would Scott Nuttall advise other firms to consider Virtual Office CS? In a heartbeat.

"I'd strongly recommend Virtual Office CS. I feel it's been a huge success in our firm. Looking back to where we were ten years ago and where we are today—it's simply night and day. And a good part of that is due to the Virtual Office CS environment and the offerings it made available to our firm."

Expedited Processing of Form W-7 Now Available with KNEGs Certifying Acceptance Agent

It's OFFICIAL! Jim McGuigan is now KNEG’s authorized IRS "Certifying Acceptance Agent." We are now able to expedite the processing of Form W-7, application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Who needs that you ask? Well... The IRS issues ITINs to foreign nationals and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and do not qualify for SSNs. A non-resident alien not eligible for an SSN, who is required to file a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund of tax under the provisions of a U.S. tax treaty, needs an ITIN.

What is a Certifying Acceptance Agent?

A Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA) is an entity authorized by IRS to assist individuals in obtaining ITINs. That entity can be an individual, business, or organization (college, financial institution, accounting firm, etc.). CAAs review the documentation provided by the individual applicant and complete a certificate of accuracy. Then they submit the certificate and completed application along with a tax return to the IRS for processing.  Without the certification of the CAA, an applicant would be required to mail their passport or other identification directly to the IRS for certification.

What services do Certifying Acceptance Agents offer?

  • Meet with the applicant and assist in the completion of the IRS Form W­7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • Review the required documentation to verify a foreign individual’s status. Complete the paperwork and submit the ITIN on the applicant’s behalf.
  • Certify to the IRS that the individual’s application is complete, accurate and that the documentation they provided for review is authentic. This eliminates the need for the original identifying documents being submitted to the IRS with the application.
  • Receive the individual’s ITIN directly from the IRS and communicate with the agency on matters regarding the ITIN issuance.
  • Expedited ITIN application service with the IRS. The agency processes ITIN applications submitted by a CCA before processing those applications submitted directly by ITIN applicants.

 If you have any questions regarding Certifying Acceptance Agent services or IRS Form W-7, please feel free to contact KNEG CPAs at 772-231-6902. We’ll be happy to assist you!

Kmetz, Nuttall, Elwell, Graham, CPAs, Vero Beach, Florida, recognized as the firm that did the most in the last year to innovate, invigorate and grow their business.

This story first appeared on MarketWatch November 6, 2015

Thomson Reuters Recognizes Customer Superstar Award Winners at SYNERGY 2015

(Thomson Reuters ONE via COMTEX) -- DEXTER, Mich., November 6, 2015 - Thomson Reuters announced the winners of its second annual Customer Superstar Awards. The awards were presented on Thursday during SYNERGY 2015, the company's 35th annual users' conference for tax and accounting professionals, in Orlando, Florida.

The Customer Superstar Awards were created to honor outstanding practitioners and firms in the accounting profession. Winners were selected by a panel of Thomson Reuters judges.

KNEG-awardThe winners are:

- The Taxologist Award, recognizing the firm that has mastered the use of cloud technology to create maximum tax workflow effectiveness: Baldwin CPAs, PLLC.

- The Ideas Community Award, recognizing the individual whose collective Ideas Community suggestions received the highest number of votes from practitioner community members over the past 12 months: Ryan McCowan, Greene McCowan & Co., PLLC.

- The Innovation Award, recognizing the firm that did the most in the last year to innovate, invigorate, and grow their business: Kmetz, Nuttall, Elwell, Graham, PLLC.

- The Rookie of the Year Award, recognizing the new (within the last year) Thomson Reuters client that had the most successful implementation of products and is also being represented at SYNERGY for the first time: Niedoba, Beppel, & Co. LLC.

- The myPay Solutions Partner Award, recognizing the firm that did the most to grow their business through a partnership with myPay Solutions: Watts & Hershberger, PC.

"The SYNERGY Users' Conference has always been a time for customers and Thomson Reuters staff to come together and celebrate our unique partnership," said Jon Baron, managing director of the Professional segment with the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters. "We are proud to honor these firms with our annual Customer Superstar Awards. The winners represent some of the most innovative and progressive firms in the profession today."

To learn more about our Customer Superstar Awards and SYNERGY 2015, visit cs.thomsonreuters.com/SYNERGY/awards.aspx.

Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, intellectual property and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization. For more information, go to www.thomsonreuters.com.

Does Your CPA Firm have a Firm Administrator?

Firm Administrators add to the client experience and are a valuable asset to both the client and the firm they are working with. Often times, especially during tax season madness, you as a client may have a question or concern regarding your personal or business taxes or an array of other possible questions or concerns depending on your particular situation. Some clients may not wish to “bother” the partner or CPA working on their documents or may have contacted them already and have not heard back.  If the CPA firm you’re working with has a Firm Administrator, you have a direct contact/liaison to reach out to.  Often times this person may be able to answer your questions immediately, or if not, will get the answer and get back to you promptly.  Maybe you need a proposal or price quote? Again, your resource is the Firm Administrator. If you have a small business and need assistance with Human Resource issues or need a referral to someone in the firm or community who can assist you with a pressing matter, again, you have a direct resource.  Often times the Firm Administrator has additional credentials or experience in marketing, human resource management or has a plethora of contacts in the community to assist you in whatever your needs or endeavors might be.

If your CPA firm has a Firm Administrator, this indicates they are committed to excellence for their staff and their clients, as well as their community involvement. Compare CPA firms before you make your final selection and investigate whether or not you’ll have access and benefit from a Firm Administrator before making that selection.

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