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From the moment I established my own practice, I knew my success would depend, to a marked degree, on consistently delivering completed work on time to our clients. Therefore, I set out from the beginning to take the necessary steps to properly organize my practice to efficiently handle an abundant volume of work while maintaining uncompromisingly thorough and meticulous standards. My goal of establishing these systems was the delivery of diligently completed assignments on time, every time. To this date, the only exceptions to meeting deadlines have occurred when circumstances have arisen beyond our control, such as the inability of a referring attorney’s client to be able to timely deliver documents we needed to complete our work.
Those of you who have visited my office know I am adamant about maintaining a neat, orderly workspace. My filing systems (both on the computer and physical filing) are always organized and up-to-date, and my desk consistently remains clean and uncluttered. As a result, I rarely need to spend unnecessary time searching for documents my staff or I need.
What is the secret to our efficiency? Simple. “Do it now.” When I am through using a tool or reviewing a document, I immediately place it back where it belongs. Thus, I know where things are. Additionally, I expect and require the same from my staff.
When we receive a new assignment, we develop an action plan that includes every individual step we must undertake to complete the project. I lay out all of the tasks, and assign responsibilities for who is going to do what with deadlines for each duty to be completed. Then I require each of us to complete every task in the plan prior to their respective deadlines. Of course, occasionally revisions are needed in plans as circumstances change. Rarely, if ever, does a variation in a course of action result in a puzzling challenge when the required expertise in your field is there and you are properly organized. Our system works.
Perhaps, on days you are scheduled to appear in court, you wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “Yes… I’m in trial today and I can’t wait. This will be an exciting challenge and things will work out fine for my client.” If this is your attitude, you understand how I feel about what I do.
Throughout my childhood, I seemed to possess a passion to plan, organize and execute strategies. When a project involved making a presentation in front of a class, I typically would prepare myself thoroughly and practice my presentation until I felt confident I could capture and emotionally appeal to my teacher and classmates. As a result, I invariably achieved my aim, and, as I matured, my confidence and enthusiasm for speaking in front of groups grew.
Today, the stakes are certainly higher. However, I am at ease with the level of responsibility I am routinely presented and continue to possess energy and passion. As of this writing, I have made hundreds of appearances as an expert witness. With each passing opportunity, I try to evaluate my effort and sharpen my skills a little more. The self discipline, method of preparation and focus I developed provide me the confidence I need to draw from my pool of knowledge. Perhaps, this is what enables me to handle curves thrown my way by aggressive attorneys. Yes, I still have passion for what I do and enthusiastically look forward to new opportunities.
On July 31, I presented a webinar to Family Law attorneys entitled, Analyzing Tax Return Data (as it related to income available for support). The event was sponsored by the State Bar of California Family Law Section. Webinar content included an analysis and interpretation of business and personal tax returns as it relates to gross cash flow available for support calculations. We discussed what items to look for, and addressed how to convert income to cash flow for support calculations, in addition to how to input the data into support calculation software.
The initial topic I focused on was how to prepare gross cash flow. This included the sources of cash flow—individual income tax returns, C-Corporations, S-Corporations and partnerships.
Next, I addressed support calculation software input reconciliation— cash flow versus taxable income.
Thirdly, I concentrated the discussion on support calculation mechanics, including settings, tactics, input of cash flow information, and analyzing and understanding results.
To enhance the attendees’ grasp of this subject, I presented a detailed case study, which partially focused on proper input of information into IRS tax forms. These included Form 1040, Schedule A, Schedule B, Form 1120 (U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return), Form 1120S (U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation), Schedule K-1 (Shareholder’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc.), and Form 1065 (U.S. Return of Partnership Income). Subsequently, I presented an example of reconciliation of cash flow to support calculation software input.
I thank each of you who took the time out of your busy schedule to attend the webinar. All of you who were present, as well as those who were unable to attend, are welcome to contact me with questions concerning this subject. It will be my pleasure to assist you.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section and especially Seth D. Kramer, Esq., for selecting me to participate as a member of a panel at the 44th Annual Family Law Symposium. The event was held at the Universal City Hilton on May 19th. In addition, I wish to acknowledge Marshall Waller, our moderator and Judge Harvey Silberman and Commissioner Glenda Veasey, who served as fellow panel members, for their valuable input, support and encouragement. Lastly, I want to recognize everyone who attended our panel discussion. I hope all of you came away with information that will benefit your practices.
For those of you who were unable to attend, our presentation was entitled Everything You Wanted to Know about Pay Stubs and Support Calculations (But Were Afraid to Ask). The panel began by explaining the data contained on W-2 forms and how to input data into support calculation software. We covered the many types of deferred compensation plans, including 401(K)s, 457(b)s, 403(b)s, Cafeteria Plans (IRC§125), and plans for certain small businesses and sole proprietorships. Our presentation concluded with an analysis of complex paystub data. Certainly, I welcome anyone who has questions concerning pay stubs and support calculations to contact me.
Ron J. Anfuso, CPA, ABV, CFF, CDFA, FABFA
Those of us who are Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) believe we are among the elite in our field. This is with good reason. According to The American Institute of CPAs, “The CFF credential is granted exclusively to CPAs who demonstrate considerable expertise in forensic accounting through their knowledge, skills, and experience. The CFF encompasses fundamental and specialized forensic accounting skills that CPA practitioners apply in a variety of service areas…” This, of course, includes Family Law.
The American institute of CPAs concludes that the CFF credential:
- positions CFF accountants as the premier forensic accounting service providers
- demonstrates a commitment by CFF accountants to continuously improve their forensic accounting skills, resulting in increased professional competency
- ensures that the CPA has met the qualification requirements, which are based on passing the CFF examination, business experience and education
In addition to passing a challenging examination, CFF candidates must possess a minimum of 1,000 hours of experience in forensic accounting within a ten-year period preceding the date of the CFF application. The candidate must also have completed 75 hours of forensic accounting related continuing professional education. All hours need to have been acquired within the ten-year period prior to the date of application, with at least 50 percent obtained in the five-year period proceeding credential application submission. Thus, we who have attained the CFF credential not only believe we are the elite in our field, but offer a strong argument that attorneys who wish to be best served by a forensic accountant ought to limit their consideration to those who have attained this prestigious certification.
Ron J. Anfuso CPA, ABV, CFF, CDFA, FABFA
When you ask a Forensic Accountant to appear in court to deliver expert witness testimony, you presume your witness will suitably present himself and serve as an asset for your client. You expect the CPA to thoroughly prepare for the case. If he is considered a credible witness in the eyes of the judge, all the better. There is, however, one additional asset you hope your CPA possesses— a strength so essential it can make or break the success of his testimony. Successful litigators certainly possess this crucial forte. Unfortunately, most CPAs do not.
It is rare to come by a Forensic Accountant who consistently thrives on the witness stand under adversarial conditions. When confronted with tough cross-examination, you will probably shudder if your CPA becomes anxious and flustered. Rather, you yearn for your witness to remain enthusiastic, confident and to welcome even the most demanding challenge.
To achieve this, your testifier must possess the ability to remain unwaveringly extroverted—attention focused on the opposing counsel rather than on himself. This CPA will more likely stay alert and instantly draw from his knowledge of forensic accounting and the case to respond accurately, effectively and succinctly. When under cross examination aimed at reducing the sharp CPA’s credibility, most attorneys’ attempts at dishonoring him will rarely succeed, leaving the attorney fettered with only the following words left to utter… “No more questions Your Honor.”
I enjoy opportunities to present expert testimony. I know my field, I believe in myself and I always thoroughly prepare for court.
Ron J. Anfuso CPA, ABV, CFF, CDFA, FABFA