Thomas M. Dragotto
Certified Public Accountant
Some of my services include:
SERVICES FOR BUSINESSES:
- ACCOUNTING & BOOKKEEPING (TOP)
Whether your business is a start-up or an established business, I can satisfy your accounting and bookkeeping needs in a timely and cost effective manner, so that you can focus on managing and growing your business. I can establish bookkeeping systems for your business (including accounts receivable and accounts payable) so that you or your employees can perform the bookkeeping functions, or my firm can do both the bookkeeping and accounting for your business. If you do the bookkeeping functions for your business, I can perform the accounting functions necessary to make sure that your financial records are complete and accurate.
- FINANCIAL STATEMENT PREPARATION (TOP)
Whether you do the bookkeeping or my firm does it for you, I can prepare monthly, quarterly, or annual financial statements that are custom-tailored for your business, that can include special schedules and analyses specifically designed to meet the unique needs of your business. I can also prepare a budget for your business and incorporate the budget into your financial statements and show a comparison of actual results to budgeted results. I can prepare financial statements for your business that are in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that can be used, along with other analyses I can help you with, in order for you to obtain bank financing or other types if financing. I can also prepare GAAP financial statements on a regular basis for your business that can be given to your banks, investors, and certain other third parties.
I can meet with you on a monthly or quarterly basis in order to discuss your financial statements and related schedules and analyses and also to discuss any other matters of an accounting, financial, or tax-related nature that are pertinent to you and your business.
- AUDITS, REVIEWS & COMPILATIONS (TOP)
A bank or other form of creditor or regulatory agency may require your business to submit financial statements to them that are audited by, reviewed by, or compiled by a certified public accountant.
AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (TOP)
When a certified public accountant performs an audit of a business’s financial statements, the CPA provides an opinion about the fairness of the financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles or other comprehensive basis of accounting. An audit provides the users of the financial statements the highest level of assurance that a certified public accountant can issue. Although I am qualified to perform an audit of a business’s financial statements, audits are very involved and can be very expensive – an audit is not a service that I aggressively market. Depending upon the size of your business, I may refer you to a regional or national CPA firm to perform the audit for you. If you decide to use a larger regional or national CPA firm to perform your audit, I can assist you with the document preparation and interface that will be required during the course of the audit.
REVIEWED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (TOP)
When a certified public accountant performs a review of a business’s financial statements, the CPA is performing inquiry and analytical procedures that provide him/her with a reasonable basis for expressing a limited assurance (but not an opinion) that there are no material modifications that should be made to the statements in order for them to be in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles or, if applicable, with another comprehensive basis of accounting. As a certified public accountant, I can issue reviewed financial statements for your business.
COMPILED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (TOP)
When a certified public accountant performs a compilation of a business’s financial statements, the CPA is preparing and presenting in the form of financial statement(s) information that is the representation of management (owners) without undertaking to express any assurance on the financial statements. As a certified public accountant, I can issue compiled financial statements for your business.
Please note that there is no professional standard that requires a search for fraud or illegal acts in a review or compilation of financial statements engagement. However, during the performance of review or compilation procedures, if any evidence or information comes to my attention regarding fraud or an illegal act that may have occurred, I will bring it to the attention of management (owners) and also request that management (owners) consider the effect of the matter on the financial statements.
- PART-TIME CFO SERVICE FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED BUISNESSES (TOP)
Growing businesses often reach a point where they need professional financial advice, but can’t afford a full-time Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – an experienced full-time CFO can cost a business (in salary and benefits) anywhere from $75,000 per year to well above $200,000 per year. If you are fortunate enough to be in this position, then I have the perfect solution for you. My part-time CFO service gives you a professional financial manager who works with you to help guide your business to success, at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO.
Some of the services I can provide to your business as a part-time CFO include improved quality and timeliness of financial information, budget preparation and monitoring, profitability analysis by services or product line, tax saving strategies, trend analysis, cash management, a liaison with bankers, attorneys, vendors, and insurance agents, development of credit and collection policies, and the training and management of your accounting staff.
This service can be anywhere from a few hours a week to several hours a month (as high as 25 to 30 hours a month, depending upon the needs of your business). In addition, if your business had a full-time CFO who recently left and you are attempting to replace that individual, I can serve as your interim CFO until you find a permanent replacement CFO.
By way of background, I have worked in several corporations as a full-time CFO. As such, I have several years of experience as a full-time CFO, giving me the practical experience needed to serve your company on a part-time / interim basis as your CFO.
- FINANCIAL BUDGETS, FORECASTS, AND PROJECTIONS (TOP)
Budgets and forecasts are financial tools of assumed future financial activity or results. The terms “budget” and “forecast” are often used interchangeably to mean expected or most likely financial results. A budget is typically prepared at the start of a year for the full-year. A forecast is typically a revision of the budget using updated assumptions. Therefore, a typical business will have one budget for the year, but may prepare multiple forecasts during the course of the year. Used properly, a budget or forecast can alert management to the fact that corrective actions may be needed in some aspect of the company’s operations. A projection is similar to a budget or forecast – it can be more flexible in terms of format in that it may cover a range of potential scenarios (“what if” events).
I can prepare or help you prepare your annual budget or periodic forecasts and projections. I can incorporate your budgets and/or forecasts into your financial statements and I can also help you to interpret variances between actual results and budgeted or forecasted results.
- BUSINESS START-UP SERVICES (TOP)
Starting any type of business can be extremely difficult and very time-consuming. Most entrepreneurs would prefer to spend their valuable time on the areas that will kick-start their new businesses, such as product development, marketing, and sales. I can help you with the back-office part of your new business. I can help you file all of the necessary documents and forms required to start a new business, I can set up your record keeping systems, I can help develop your accounts receivable and accounts payable systems, and I can assist you with on-going bookkeeping and accounting functions. In addition, I can assist you with tax planning and tax return preparation.
- CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT (TOP)
A cash crisis can be emotionally devastating and it can even destroy a business. If you are always worrying about how your business is going to fund its next payroll, you probably know what I mean by this. Cash flow is the life-blood of your business. Some business experts go so far as to say a healthy cash flow is even more important than your business’s ability to deliver its goods and services. Although you may find this hard to believe, consider this- if you fail to satisfy a customer and lose that customer’s business, you can always work harder to please the next customer – but if you fail to have enough cash to pay your suppliers, creditors, or employees, you will probably go out of business.
The sooner a company learns how to manage its cash flow, the better the company’s chances for survival will be. The first step towards taking control of and properly managing a company’s cash flow is being able to analyze the components that affect the timing of the company’s cash inflows and outflows. A thorough analysis of these components (some of which are accounts receivable, accounts payable, credit terms, credit polices, inventory levels, and spending controls) will reveal problem areas that lead to cash flow gaps in your business. Narrowing or closing these gaps is the key to cash flow management.
I can help you with your company’s cash flow management, by developing both short-term and long-term cash flow projections for your business and by preparing historical cash flow statements (along with your other periodic financial statements). I can meet with you periodically in order to help you understand the differences between your projected cash flow and your actual cash flow. Proper cash flow management will help you understand your sources and uses of cash, will provide you with the tools to help you generate cash in a more expeditious manner, and will let you know when you will need to raise capital needed to fund future growth or capital expenditures.
- PAYROLL (TOP)
Small business owners can spend an average of eight hours a month performing payroll functions. That’s 12 full days a year that could be spent generating sales, prospecting new business opportunities, improving products or services, or servicing customers. I can offer payroll solutions that meet your business’s needs and enable you to spend more time doing what you do best – running your business. You should consider outsourcing your payroll because it is cost effective, it is a time saver, you will have worry free payroll tax filing, and because you will be provided with comprehensive reporting. When you believe the time is right to outsource your payroll, I can help you evaluate the merits of using an outside payroll service such as Paychex or ADP
If you still prefer to prepare your own payroll (i.e. you do not want use an outside payroll services), I can assist you in the preparation of your quarterly and annual payroll tax returns (federal forms 941 and 940 and state of California forms DE-6 and DE-7). In addition, I can prepare your annual W-2 forms (and transmittals) and your annual 1099 forms (and transmittals).
- AUDIT SUPPORT (TOP)
An IRS (California Franchise Tax Board - "FTB") audit or examination may be a desk review where the IRS/FTB agent requests additional information or documentation or a field review, where the agent examines significantly more information. Such audits or examinations start with a written request from the IRS/FTB. I can support your business in such IRS/FTB audits or examinations by helping you assemble any needed information, acting as your representative before the IRS/FTB agent, researching technical issues, responding to IRS/FTB inquiries, and advising you about pertinent matters that may arise during the audit or examination.
If your business is going through other types of audits, such as a sales tax audit, a worker’s compensation insurance audit, a property tax audit, or a financial audit being conducted by a regional or national CPA firm, I can assist you with the inquiries and requests made by the auditor(s) and I can assist with the document preparation and interface that will be required during the course of such audits.
- INTERNAL CONTROLS (TOP)
A business’s internal controls (which are also known as financial controls, management controls, or process controls) are the processes that are put in place by a company’s management which are designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in regards to the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, the reliability of financial reporting, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
An internal control review conducted by a CPA is different from most other accounting services because it concentrates on the control structure that produces the financial information and not on the financial information itself. During such a review, I will study a company to identify its internal control strengths and weaknesses. I will pay particular attention to the weaknesses and explain how those weaknesses could adversely affect the company’s ability to record its financial information and protect its assets. This can be a key service in helping a company to prevent losses due to fraud. Losses as a result of fraud are usually much higher than the cost of evaluating a company’s internal control structure. I will provide recommendations to strengthen internal controls and consequently provide asset protection and assurance that transactions are executed in accordance with management’s authorization.
- BANK FINANCING SUPPORT (TOP)
When your business is in need of bank financing or other sources of financing, I can help ensure that you will be adequately prepared to obtain that needed funding. I can help you gather and prepare the financial information that will be requested by the financing institution, such as financial projections, an executive summary, historical and pro-forma financial statements, and personal financial statements. I can also provide the professional representation you will need in order to help substantiate your financial needs, your company’s financial position, and your company’s ability to repay the loan. l
- BUSINESS ACQUISITION SUPPORT (TOP)
If you are contemplating the acquisition of a business, I can help you negotiate with the seller and also with the due diligence you will want to undertake in order to ensure that the business you are attempting to purchase is sound and is at a fair selling price. The way that a seller values a business that is for sale is not an exact science. As the price can be subjective and can vary based upon what is found during the due diligence process, it is important for you to have a professional on your team that has experience in performing due diligence and who can also help you in the purchase price negotiation process.
- TAX SERVICES FOR BUSINESSES (TOP)
TAX PLANNING FOR BUSINESSES (TOP)
My philosophy in regards to tax planning is that it should be a year-round strategy. I am continually looking for ways that my business clients can minimize their taxes and to avoid any penalties. I can help you prepare various “what-if” scenarios throughout the year as a way for you to minimize your tax liability for the year. Using this information, I can advise you about how to adjust, if necessary, your estimated tax payments or your salary withholdings. I can also advise you about the tax ramifications of certain transactions that you may be considering for your business, but you have not yet completed, so that you can make informed decisions.
TAX RETURN PREPARATION FOR BUSINESSES (TOP)
Tax return preparation services for business include the preparation tax returns for C-Corporations (Federal Form 1120 and California Form 100), for S-Corporations (Federal Form 1120S and California Form 100S), for partnerships and LLC’s (Federal Form 1065 and California Form 565), and for sole proprietorships (Federal Form 1040, Schedule C). If your business is required to file tax returns in other states, I can do that for you as well. As an example, if your are incorporated in the state of Delaware, but you are doing business in California, you are required to not only file a California tax return, but you are also required to file an annual report for the state of Delaware.
I can also assist you with the preparation of quarterly estimated tax payments that may be required for your business (or for you as an individual if you are operating your business as a sole proprietor, a partnership, an LLC, or an S-Corporation).
Not only will my computer software check and double-check your tax returns for accuracy, I will check and double-check them as well. I will also assist you with tax planning for the following year.
If you have not done a good job of keeping your books for the year, I can assist you with your accounting and bookkeeping needs so that you are able to file an accurate tax return.
(Sales and Use Tax)
My sales tax services include the preparation of your monthly, quarterly, or annual sales and use tax returns. If you are set-up by the sales taxing authority (such as the California State Board of Equalization) to file quarterly sales and use tax returns and to pay monthly installments of your sales, I can also assist you with the payment of your monthly sales and use tax installments. I can also advise you in regards to sales and use tax “taxability” issues and I can also assist you with any sales and use tax audits that may arise.
(Business Property Tax)
If you are a business owner, you may be required to file an annual business property tax return. Business property taxes in California are based upon property values as they exist as of 12:01am on January 1st of each year (the tax lien date). The required form to be filed is Form 571-L and it is due each April 1st. A separate form may be required to be filed for each of your business locations. I can assist you in the preparation of your business property tax returns.
If you prepare your own payroll (i.e. you do not use an outside payroll services), I can assist you in the preparation of your quarterly and annual payroll tax returns (federal forms 941 and 940 and state of California forms DE-6 and DE-7). In addition, I can prepare your annual W-2 forms (and transmittals) and your annual 1099 forms (and transmittals. I can also help you evaluate the merits of using an outside payroll service such as Paychex or ADP (as these services not only prepare your payrolls, but they also prepare all of your payroll tax returns).
SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS:
- TAX PLANNING FOR INDIVIDUALS (TOP)
My philosophy in regards to tax planning is that it should be a year-round strategy. I am continually looking for ways that my individual tax clients can minimize their taxes and to avoid any penalties. I can help you prepare various “what-if” scenarios throughout the year as a way for you to minimize your tax liability for the year. Using this information, I can advise you about how to adjust, if necessary, your estimated tax payments or your salary withholdings. I can also advise you about the tax ramifications of certain transactions that you may be considering, such as the purchase or sale of a home and the timing of the sale of various investments. I can advise you in regards to the shifting of income or expenses from one year to another in order to have them fall in the year that is most advantageous to you, and I can help you with any tax planning associated with a business you may own.
- TAX RETURN PREPARATION FOR INDIVIDUALS (TOP)
Tax return preparation services for individuals include the preparation of your annual federal form 1040 and your state of California form 540 (or the short-form versions of these forms). If you are required to file a tax return in a state(s) in addition to or other than in the state of California, I can prepare those tax returns for you as well. Not only will my computer software check and double-check your tax returns for accuracy, I will check and double-check them as well. Your tax returns can be filed electronically so that you will get your refund back quicker. I will show you how to adjust your payroll withholdings so that you get more money back each payroll period, as opposed to giving the IRS an interest free loan for up to 16 months.
If your individual tax records are not in order, I can help you organize them and I can assist you with the maximization of your tax deductions.
- PERSONAL CFO (TOP)
An advisor who is giving financial planning advice and selling financial products has an inherent conflict of interest, especially if the advisor’s personal compensation depends more upon the sale of a product rather than the value of the advice given. A personal “Chief Financial Officer” (CFO) is someone who can provide objectivity and help ensure you are receiving expertise and guidance void of any conflicts of interest.
Most people are familiar with the functions performed by a corporate CFO. Similarly, a personal CFO provides constant management and integration of your personal financial affairs and wealth strategies. A personal CFO takes a very active role to help ensure that agreed-upon planning strategies are implemented in a timely and effective manner.
As your personal CFO, I can act as the quarterback of your financial team (which may include a stock broker, insurance agent, attorney, and money manager), directing all of these professionals in an objective, coordinated manner. I will review and analyze recommendations from these advisors on financial strategies or investment products being proposed. The ultimate result is achieving your financial goals and objectives, as well as potential cost savings. When necessary, as your personal CFO, I can act as the “bad guy”, deflecting investment tips and financial advice that are not in your best interests.
I can also act as your personal tax advisor and advise you as to how the proposals and actions of your other financial advisors will impact your personal income tax planning. In addition, I can pay all of your bills and make sure that all of your personal finances are organized.
- PERSONAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (TOP)
Personal financial statements are sometimes called a statement of net worth and may be requested from individuals and / or couples by various financial institutions. These financial statements are prepared using the fair market value of the individual’s or couple’s personal assets and liabilities. I can assist you in the preparation of your personal financial statements.
- AUDIT SUPPORT (TOP)
An IRS (California Franchise Tax Board - "FTB") audit or examination may be a desk review where the IRS/FTB agent requests additional information or documentation or a field review, where the agent examines significantly more information. Such audits or examinations start with a written request from the IRS/FTB. I can support you in such IRS/FTB audits or examinations by helping you assemble any needed information, acting as your representative before the IRS/FTB agent, researching technical issues, responding to IRS/FTB inquiries, and advising you about pertinent matters that may arise during the audit or examination.
Thomas M. Dragotto, Certified Public Accountant
3717 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite 185 Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
Phone: (805) 267-1843 Cell Phone: (805) 630-5679 / Fax: (805) 267-1844
Email: / Website: www.CPAinThousandOaks.com