I began my career in public accounting as a tax season intern at a mid-size, local public accounting firm. The internship program was structured in a way that provided college students, who had little to no tax preparation experience, with some basic tools and references so that they could stumble through the workpaper organization and initial preparation phase of an individual income tax return assignment. I hung on after April 15th doing odd jobs at the firm (scanning, file consolidation, etc.) and was fortunate to be offered a position as a staff accountant that summer.
One of my responsibilities as a staff that first year was to help oversee the new group of tax season interns. This was one of the best experiences of my professional career. Being only one year removed from my own internship, I was able to provide valuable insight for the new crop of interns because I found myself directly reviewing their work. Unfortunately, the guidance I had received as an intern faded, and the knowledge and mentorship from partners, managers, or supervisors didn’t materialize the way I had expected. I stumbled my way through projects, learning the best I could as I went. All the time wishing I could find a resource, similar to what I used as an intern, that gave me practical instructions on how to prepare a tax return.
This website seeks to provide that resource. It has been designed with the staff preparer in mind. You’ll learn the fundamentals behind the information you enter into tax returns. “Why would someone invest in municipal bonds?” “What makes a dividend qualified?” You’l also learn the practical application for many assignments outside of the tax return input. Ever wondered how to calculate the sale of a rental property? Or how about how to reconconcile retained earnings?
These are not “basic” topics, these are fundamental topics. Topics every successful preparer must know in order to find success and enjoyment in public accounting and ones that I consistently come back to. Sometimes it’s to refresh my memory when I haven’t used it in a while, and sometimes its to hone my game, make it more efficient, or explain it in a way that a client can understand. When I was studying for my CPA exams, someone told me that the topics covered in the exams are a mile wide and an inch deep. I’ve found that to be true in most of public accounting. If you understand the fundamentals, you can apply your knowledge across a broad base of topics
“Discipline and consistency. I owe these two factors all have attained in my life. Things have never happened overnight. Results have appeared as a consequence of decades long toil. It is necessary to persist.”
Master Carlos Gracie Jr.