“If you haven’t heard of UFA, then you’ve not been keeping up with your finances,” declared Jim Burke, UFA director of business operations. “We are the leading authority in the industry and we have the most up-to-date technology to offer our members. In short, we’re the best choice for your bookkeeping needs.” The health of the independent bookkeeping business has taken a serious beating over the past few years because of the economic recession, but the business is still standing strong and looking for new customers. The health of the independent bookkeeping business is ensured by maintaining a sound balance between bookkeeping fees and bookkeeping costs, according to the Association of Bookkeepers and Accountants. The members of this organization include accountants, attorneys, CPAs, financial planners, mortgage brokers, and realtors.
According to the recent interview with members of the National Association of Certified Financial Officers (NACFA), the benefits of UFA should be weighed against its disadvantages. According to most members of the accounting community, UFA provides the best value for your money because it provides excellent financial tools and services, and highly competitive pricing with the highest levels of integrity. “There are some negatives of UFA, however, that need to be discussed,” said Donnelle. “One of the negatives of UFA is that they don’t offer any tax planning or retirement planning, which is a problem because we have to make sure our retired professionals are taking their fair share of deductions from their salaries or retirement accounts.” The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers recommends that members of the accounting and tax professions encourage their clients to consider UFA membership because of the exceptional benefits and features that come with membership in the association.
According to the February 2010 edition of the NACFA’s book, UFA and the Canadian Association of Certified Financial Officers, the cost to join UFA is less than half what it would cost to sign two years of membership with the smaller but no doubt reliable Canadian Tax Practitioner (CTP) organization. The average annual cost to join the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is about one thousand dollars, while the fee to become a member of the National Association of Certified Financial Officers (NACFA) is only about seven hundred dollars. This difference in fees makes UFA a strong competitor in the market for accountant memberships. A CPA can expect to earn a four-percent service charge for his or her services as a member of the National Association of Certified Accountants, but this fee is less than half of what the NACFA charges for its members.
But what about the advantages of UFA compared to CPA? Why would a person to sign on the dotted line for the less expensive fee? According to Kevin K. Mulchner, CEO of Corporate Training Solutions, Inc., “The biggest advantage of UFA is the lower fee compared to CPA. People are attracted to joining UFA because of the lower fee, but after the first few months, most CPA clients start asking for a refund or looking for a cheaper CPA. After about three years of working with the CPA, a client decides he or she wants more personalized attention and moves on to UFA. On the other hand, if a person joins UFA and works with a professional firm for two years, their rate will be close to what a CPA would charge.”
Another advantage of UFA is the leverage factor. A person who signs a four-year, five-figure contract with a major corporate firm has a lot more influence over the firm’s decision to hire them versus hiring someone with a lesser number of contracts. With UFA, a person can have a million dollar contract with a major firm and still work only a couple of weeks a year. While there is still the leverage of contracts, a smaller firm has to work twice as hard to get half that money back. Even a large firm can lose out on a million dollar contract if they hire a CPA and they don’t get a percentage of the money back, whereas with UFA, a person who signs a million dollar contract has leverage.
There are some disadvantages of UFA as well. The disadvantage of a one-year, six-month contract is that there isn’t a big jump in pay. This means you won’t make as much money after six months if you sign a one-year, eight-month contract, but you’ll still make more money if you sign a six-month, twelve-month contract. The disadvantage of an eight-month, one-year contract is that while your income increases, you will be taking on another contract, making it less lucrative than a one-year, six-month contract. So, if you sign a one-year contract with an employer you already have employment with, you will make more money.