Signs You Need a Forensic Audit – Perry & Associates, CPAS

How to Know if You Need a Forensic Audit


No company wants to believe they could be the victim of financial fraud, especially from an inside source. But it happens all too often. 

Ignoring the possibility won’t make it go away. However, preparing for prevention and detection of fraud will move you much closer to eliminating the problem or at least catching it in the early stages. If you suspect that your company may be dealing with internal or external fraud, now may be the time to seek a forensic audit of your company’s financial affairs.

But how do you know if you actually need a forensic audit? Below are a few of the signs that may indicate you need forensic accounting services.


7 Signs You Need Forensic Accounting Services


  1. Internal Control Issues – By this, we don’t just mean someone that is a micro-manager (albeit, that’s not healthy either). These control issues manifest primarily around financial decisions and issues, but come out in an uncommon concern, control or manipulation of the company’s finances. Often, it may be communicated that the motivation is deep concern for the company’s well-being. But in many cases, a further examination can reveal ulterior motives. 
  2. Odd Work Habits While those that work long and hard hours may be respected in many corporate cultures, it’s important to understand that workaholics can often have other reasons for keeping late working hours. If you have an employee that refuses to take a vacation, works long into the evening or comes in on the weekend when the office is empty, give extra scrutiny to that individual’s actions and accounts. 
  3. Personal Financial Stress Unfortunately, difficult life situations can push people to desperate measures. Internal fraud can often be triggered by a personal financial loss such as divorce, bankruptcy or medical bills. 
  4. No Accountability If the person that reconciles your bank statements is also the individual signing checks, you may want to get a forensic audit simply to ensure complete transparency. 
  5. Multiple Bank Accounts Some businesses require various bank accounts for different business functions; however, multiple accounts make fraudulent movements of cash harder to detect. Use as few accounts as possible, and make sure each account has a specific purpose and use. 
  6. Unexplained Transactions You should be giving more than just a cursory review of your financial statements every month. If there are transactions or accounts that you don’t understand, ask about them. If the response is vague and downplayed, you need to investigate further. Often the initial response to these questions can indicate if there may be foul play afoot.
  7. Generic Financial Reports It’s true that your financial reports are a summary, but they shouldn’t be so generic that you’re unsure what is going in and out of each account. Make sure you have established a budget beforehand, which can act as a guide for actual reporting. Then, require that financial reports account for details, not just generalities.

Prevent Internal Fraud

Unfortunately, internal fraud can happen to any business. But you can take steps today to help prevent and detect fraud. Some of the following steps can help you mitigate the risk of internal fraud:

  • Assign main financial duties to different people (account reconciling, check cutting/signing, etc.)
  • Establish an anonymous fraud-tip hotline (make this available to both internal and external individuals and ensure the “whistle-blower’s” anonymity)
  • Clearly segregate duties and controls (make sure the financial responsibilities are clearly defined among employees)
  • Always perform a pre-employment screening of new hires
  • Consider having an outside company handle your financial affairs or at least review them


When in doubt, get a forensic audit. The upfront cost will be worth the potentially massive loss you could sustain by falling victim to financial fraud. And while a forensic audit is searching primarily for an illegal activity for the purpose of presenting in court, there may be benefits in the process. Forensic audits can be beneficial in uncovering waste and inefficiencies that often would have gone unnoticed by the company. 

Forensic Accounting Services Near You

If you are in need of forensic accounting services, or simply feel you need to ask a few questions before determining if you need a forensic audit, call us today to speak to one of our certified forensic accountants



List of Tax Deductions | Perry & Associates, Certified Public Accountants, A.C.

List of Tax Deductions You Won’t Want to Miss!


Tax Season…most of us have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. And while it’s tempting to ignore it until the new year, your taxes and time may benefit from keeping it top-of-mind all year long. Receipts, expenses, purchases, and assets are all prime records that you should be keeping year-round to get ready for the big day. Besides, we think you’ll agree that it’s never too early to plan for deductions.

Deductions take a vast chunk of your time when filling out your tax return, and – we all hope – save you a vast amount of money. Charitable donations, medical expenses, home equity lines of credit, work-related expenses – all of these top the list of tax deductions that are commonly used. But there are many unfamiliar deductions that you may be missing. Here are just a few.


Don’t Miss This Uncommon List of Tax Deductions


  1. Student Loan Interest

You’re diligently chipping away at your student loans? Great job! You get a deduction. A portion of the interest you pay on the student loans is tax-deductible. The benefit caps out at $2,500, and you will not receive the deduction if you make more than $75,000 per year as an individual or $155,000 per year if married. But if you meet those requirements, you’ll benefit from a great deal of tax savings.


  1. Child Care Costs

Do you feel like your disposable income is eaten up by childcare costs? Paying for childcare is a hefty expense for many families. Thankfully, you’re able to recover some of that money through the Child and Dependent Care Credit. Tax credits can be worth between 20 and 35 percent of your total childcare costs. Having someone that you trust to watch your littles is priceless, and we know you’d gladly pay any amount for their safety. But a little kickback certainly doesn’t hurt.


  1. Mortgage Points

Refinancing your mortgage? Pay attention here. You’re probably well aware that the interest you pay on your home loan is tax-deductible. But did you know that if you buy “points” to lower your interest rate, that money is tax-deductible as well? The IRS allows you to deduct the full amount of the points over the life of the loan. For instance, if you bought down your interest rate, paying $3,000 in points on a 15-year mortgage, you can deduct $200 per year. 


  1. Jury Duty Fees

Did you recently serve Jury Duty and have pass-through income from the jury fee? That may be tax-deductible. Many employers still pay your full-time salary for the time you spend in Jury Duty. However, since you also receive payment from the government for the time you served on the jury, some employers require that money be given back to them. Yet, at the same time, the IRS requires that you pay taxes on the jury money earned. If you simply “passed-through” the jury fee to your employer, you can deduct that income from your total taxable income. 


  1. State Income or Sales Tax

Did you know you can deduct taxes that you have already paid? While you are only permitted to deduct one or the other, you can choose which one according to what will provide the most benefit for you. For most people, deducting the tax that was paid on state income proves most profitable; however, if you made a large purchase that incurred considerable sales tax, such as a boat or new vehicle, it may be the year to choose the sales tax deduction.


This is just a small list of tax deductions that you may be missing without someone to help you navigate the complex and always-changing tax laws! 

Here at Perry & Associates, we would love to help you determine what deductions you can take and how best to track that right now. Our tax professionals are ready to take on even the most uncommon tax deductions. Call us today and get a head-start on tax season!




Find Accountants Near Me | Perry and Associates

Help! I’m Looking for Good “Accountants Near Me


“Alexa, what are some good accountants near me?” Maybe not the most exciting question you’ve ever asked your virtual assistant, but certainly an important one. However, once you have your list of possibilities, the work really begins. 

How do you know which accountant to choose? Without a plan, it may be hard to distinguish one accountant from another. 

So, how about we reword that question a bit – “Alexa, what are some good questions to ask  potential accountants near me?”

When you’re armed with some key questions to ask your potential financial partner, you’ll know exactly what you’re walking into, which will give you confidence in the decision you make in the end.

Rarely would you hire a new employee to work for your business without conducting an interview. So why would you hire an accountant without doing the same? And most experienced accountants will actually welcome the questions. It shows that you are serious about your finances and your business. That’s the type of client all accountants hope for.

We’ve compiled a short list of eight questions we suggest you ask when looking for the right accounting firm to handle your business finances. 


8 Questions to Ask Your Accountant



1. What are your fees?
Managing expectations is always one of the most important parts of any relationship. It’s no different with your accountant. Make sure you know exactly how they charge and how they bill. Do they charge hourly? Project-based? Do they prefer a monthly retainer fee? How will billing be handled? This isn’t usually a make-or-break deal. It simply aligns your expectations from the beginning so money surprises (and consequent frustrations) don’t occur down the road.

2. Do you represent in the case of an audit?
Did you know that not all accountants are qualified to represent clients in an IRS audit? However, all CPAs are. If you think there’s a chance you may be audited at some point (which you should always plan that there is), having an accountant on your financial team that can knowledgeably and seamlessly represent your case will be invaluable.

3. How many times have you gone through an audit with a client?
On that same note, if you have a particularly complex business structure and tax filing status, you will want the security of knowing that your accountant has been through this before and can handle whatever challenges may arise.

4. Do you have experience in my industry?
This is important. Not all industries are taxed the same. Some industries have extremely complex tax laws, which, if not followed, can make or break a business. On the other hand, some industries have unique (and completely legal) tax breaks that could save your business thousands of dollars. Ask yourself, “Does this accountant near me actually have the experience necessary to navigate my field of business?”

5. What is your tax philosophy?
There exists a wide range of attitudes and actions among accountants when it comes to taking tax deductions. You’ll want to know if your accountant is cautious, forward or aggressive with tax deductions. And more importantly, you’ll want to make sure that aligns with your own goals and philosophy.We feel it necessary to note here, that regardless of the immensity of the deductions, it’s important to make sure your accountant is always legal. Beware of constant statements such as “We can get around that”, “We can hide that here”, etc.

6. What software do you have experience with?
If your small business bookkeeping uses a unique software program, ask if your accountant is familiar with it. That will make the transition for both of you much smoother. At the very least, make sure he or she is comfortable navigating digital platforms if that is what you will be using within your own business.

7. Are you willing to work directly with my other financial partners?
Most accountants are. However, if you find one that appears hesitant about collaboration, you’ll want to steer clear. You need a complete team of financial partners, including an attorney and wealth advisors, to deliver the best plan and outcome for your finances.

8. How often do you meet with your clients?
If the potential candidate says he simply likes to meet once a year right before taxes are due, this should be a red flag. As a business with various expenses and cash flow to track, you’ll want to know where the money is going on a regular basis. Not to mention the quarterly taxes that should be prepared and paid in order to avoid a large tax sum at the end of the year or even penalties from non-payment.


If you’re currently looking for an accountant in southeast Ohio and northern West Virginia, we would be happy to answer the questions above for you! Find out more about each of our accounting firm locations near you. 


Or call us today at (740) 373-0056.


S Corp Vs LLC | Perry and Associates

The S Corp VS LLC. Which one should you choose? 

Choosing a business entity can bring much confusion for the new entrepreneur. However, it’s important to understand your options so you know best how to protect yourself and your business. 

First, understand that a business entity is a way the business is organized. This doesn’t define what the business does, just simply what the type or structure of the business is. Keep in mind there are various types of business entities, however, for today’s focus, we’ll be comparing just two – the S Corp vs an LLC. 

Definition of S Corp and LLC

The S Corporation Defined

According to the IRS, “S corporations are corporations that elect to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes.”

Put simply, an S-corp actually indicates how a business is taxed. It is essentially a pass-through entity. 

The LLC Defined

A limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure that serves to protect the owner from the company’s debts or liabilities. Also possible to act as a pass-through entity, the LLC can be taxed in a variety of ways.

The S Corp vs LLC


Extra Layer of Legal Protection

Both an LLC and an S corp can provide a legal separation between the owner and the business’s debts and liabilities. The actual entity is considered the “owner” of the business, and as such, holds the responsibility for the debts and liabilities. As you can imagine, this brings security and peace of mind in the unfortunate possibility that a business transaction ever ends in a lawsuit. The owner’s personal assets will be untouched.

Pass-through Entities

Both the S corp and the LLC can act as pass-through tax entities. With pass-through entities, the business itself does not pay taxes on the profit. Income is passed-through to the owners or shareholders and then taxed on a personal level. Most often, this proves a valuable tool for reducing the tax burden necessary on the entity’s profits.

Entity Obligations

Both an LLC and S corp have certain obligations that must be met each year in order to keep the corporation’s legal status, such as maintaining a registered agent, filing annual reports, qualifying to do business in another state, etc. However, this is where the differences begin to show.

What’s the difference between S Corp and LLC?


While there are certainly similarities between an LLC and an S corporation, there are also factors that set them apart. 

Entity Obligations & Requirements

The extent of entity obligations varies between the two. S corporations have more reporting requirements, including adopting bylaws, holding initial and annual director and shareholder meetings, keeping meeting minutes with corporate records and issuing stock. 

While LLCs have some similar recommendations, they generally are simply that – recommendations, not requirements.


Ownership rules represent another key difference between LLCs and S corporations. S corporations can have no more than 100 shareholders. LLCs are unlimited. All shareholders of S corporations must be U.S. citizens. LLCs may have international members. S corporations cannot be owned by any other entity, such as another corporation, LLC or partnership; however, LLCs have this possibility.


Ownership transferability differs between the two as well. While S corporation shares (stock) can easily be transferred, LLCs are not usually as simple. It generally requires the approval and cooperation of all the members.


An LLC can actually be taxed in different ways, depending on which entity it chooses for taxation purposes. An LLC can choose to be taxed as a sole proprietor or a partnership (and consequently as an S corporation). Since an S corporation itself is a form of taxation, there are no choices involved. 

Determining which entity is the best fit for your business can be tricky. It’s important to talk to your business attorney as well as your tax accountant. With collaboration, this group of trusted advisors can come up with the best plan for your business structure that can bring you protection, legal tax deductions and operational success for years to come.

Call us today to talk about what’s best for your business!


Small Business Bookkeeping: Ways to Make it Work

Let’s face it. Small business bookkeeping is the last thing on your mind at the beginning of a busy week, let alone the end of a full one. It often gets pushed to the following week, with self-promises that, “Next week I will make sure I do it!”

We understand how tiring running a small business can be and know that many business owners simply don’t get jazzed about spending hours in front of spreadsheets. That’s why we offer our business bookkeeping services to accomplish this tedious task for you. However, you should know that we actually recommend that your small business bookkeeping still be managed to some extent by you.

Why? Because you will always make better decisions for the health of your business when you know exactly where every dollar is going. Here are a few tips to help you on your journey to better business bookkeeping.

5 Tips for Small Business Bookkeeping

  • Make it a system. There are two factors here that are important to consider.
  • Convenience – Make your bookkeeping system convenient for you. It must fit your lifestyle and your tendencies.

Always on your phone? Then go digital! There are a variety of programs and apps that are made specifically for small business bookkeeping. Perry advisors can even help steer you towards the right one for your business.

But if perhaps you have tried the digital route and it just brings more frustration, that’s fine! Stick to the paper.

Make sure you’re comfortable with the method you choose and make sure you have all supplies necessary to easily complete the task.

  • Habit – Make it a habit that fits into your day, week and month automatically.

If you make fresh cinnamon rolls for your bakery and you know you must have the gooey baked goods ready by 6:00 the next morning, chances are you make the dough the night before. You wouldn’t consider not doing it because it’s part of your daily routine in order to serve your customers and make a profit the following day.

Create your bookkeeping system to follow the same principle. Set a time to do your business bookkeeping and do it no matter what. But make sure you’ve thought through the time you choose. Don’t schedule your weekly bookkeeping for Monday mornings when you’re likely to be dealing with numerous issues that resulted over the weekend.

  • Separate your business and personal finances.

This is one of the most common mistakes we see in bookkeeping for small businesses.

We know it can be difficult at first to get into the habit of using a different card, depositing business funds only in the business account, etc. But you must keep them separate!

Open a business checking account with a separate credit card and don’t co-mingle your expenses. You’ll save yourself hours of stress down the road when you’re completing taxes or in the event you are audited.

  • Keep good records.

We can’t stress this one enough. Make sure you record everything, from business miles to the company dinner with who was there and what you talked about. In the event you ever get audited, you will be thankful you took the time upfront to record these expenses.

The market is full of apps that make recordkeeping much simpler than it has ever been. Talk to a Perry associate for recommendations on programs and apps that would help you organize your recordkeeping.

  • Automate when possible.

Yes, we said you could stick to paper if that fits you better, but really…if you could automate something, why wouldn’t you? Despite its issues, technology brings much efficiency to our lives when utilized well.

Automate bill payments, invoicing, account balancing or anything else possible. This frees up more time for you to work on your business and financial intelligence.

  • Plan for Major Expenses.

We all know that businesses incur major periodic expenses whether we plan for it or not. So why not plan?

Is your business reliant upon computers and electronic gadgets? Then plan for new ones. Computers and laptops have an expected lifespan of about three years. If your employees’ devices were all purchased two years ago, you can be sure that in about a year or so, you’ll be seeing some costs associated with repairs or replacement.

Perhaps your company trucks are 10-15 years old and repairs are becoming more frequent. Start planning now for replacement vehicles, whether you buy with cash or simply provide a down payment.

Quarterly taxes, employee bonuses, relocating costs, etc. – think ahead to upcoming probable expenses and work those savings into your budget.

If you’re not sure what those expenses may be, your accountant can look back through your bookkeeping and discover a trend for those major periodic expenses.

Small Business Bookkeeping at Perry & Associates

At Perry & Associates, we help our clients successfully navigating small business bookkeeping, whether it’s simply consultation or complete management. But we keep you involved in the process. We help you develop comprehensive financial awareness in order to best serve your business and your future.

Call us today to talk to an associate about your small business bookkeeping needs.


picture of calculator for college savings

Our College Savings Calculator Sets the Stage

How Much Should I Save: College Savings Calculator

With summer break just around the corner, you may be all too ready to set aside anything related to school planning and focus on other pressing responsibilities. However, there are some school planning issues that benefit from immediate, rather than future, attention. Namely, college savings.

We tend to hear considerable groans and sighs when we bring up the topic of saving for college, and we certainly understand why. With so many other immediate financial needs, plus saving for your own future, it’s difficult to prioritize saving for your child’s college education.

However, the sooner you begin saving the easier it will be! Often, simply calculating the end amount and necessary monthly savings required forms enough of a foundation to spur parents on to begin this important step towards realizing their child’s future education expenses.

College Savings Calculator

We’ve provided a college savings calculator that will enable you to do just that. This financial tool provides a solid basis for calculating your college savings in addition to allowing you to immediately determine a variety of financial figures.

The college savings calculator automatically registers the projected inflation rate of 4.8% (The College Board, 2017) along with a variety of other factors. You’ll be able to adjust your monthly contribution amount, rate of return on your investments, the expected college tuition, and more. Once you have a clear understanding of how much to save for college, our tax experts will be happy to help make your plan a reality.

There are a variety of college savings plans available from the traditional 529 college savings plans to custodial accounts to Roth IRAs.  All of these options may seem overwhelming, but you can trust the knowledgeable staff of Perry & Associates to help you determine the best option for you and your family.

Our trained associates never recommend a one-size-fits-all solution for college savings plans. So much depends on your current financial situation, financial assets, modes of income and current tax bracket. We partner with you to find unique solutions that will help you save for college and save on taxes.

Looking at your entire financial picture, we walk through the best options and layout an exact, easy-to-follow plan for your child’s college savings. Perry & Associates has offices located in Marietta, Cambridge and St. Clairsville, OH as well as Vienna and Wheeling, WV, giving you local, personalized service where and when you need it.

Get started today with our college savings calculator. And then give us a call and find a qualified partner to help you plan your success!



RSM Alliance Press Release

Perry & Associates Certified Public Accountants, A.C. announces membership with RSM US Alliance


Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. will have access to global resources through RSM US Alliance while maintaining their independence and entrepreneurial culture


Marietta, OH – (May 2, 2019) – Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. joins RSM US Alliance, a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms, effective April 30, 2019. This affiliation gives Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. access to a full range of national and international capabilities through RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance has more than 75 independent member firms in 38 states, the Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico.


Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. accepted membership in RSM US Alliance to expand their services to their clients and people. Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. will have access to new tools, expertise and practice management resources, including technical resources, marketing and business development, practice management, talent management and career development, dedicated client services, and networking opportunities. This access includes a broad range of national and international resources.


Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. President, Jodey L. Altier had this to say about the collaboration, “We are thrilled to join RSM US Alliance.  Our firm mission is to understand client needs and to provide extensive services to those clients and enhanced development for public accountants without leaving our small-town communities.  Having access to the resources of RSM, a large global firm, will help us meet our mission.  The RSM group we’re working with are some of the highest caliber professionals with some of the most dynamic resources I’ve seen in my career.  Our firm and clients will benefit greatly from this alliance.”

Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. will continue to retain their independence, individual name and visual identity. Clients of Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. will continue to work with the same local teams they know and trust.


About Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C.

Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. ( was initiated on May 1, 1974 by the founding partners. Since that time the Firm has had a steady growth of clientele and has added employees as needed. In 1983, a decision was made the Firm would expand our auditing practice and we would specifically pursue the area of governmental and non-profit auditing. This held true until 1991, when we expanded our auditing services to for-profit entities and we also started using the expertise in our audit staff to perform management service consulting.


The Firm has five offices, located in Vienna, West Virginia; Marietta, Ohio; Cambridge, Ohio; St. Clairsville, Ohio; and Wheeling West Virginia. There is 1 shareholder that owns the Firm. Jodey L. Altier is the sole Shareholder, President, and Managing Partner in charge of every audit performed by the Firm and she is located in our Marietta office. Jeff Brooks is the Vice-President of the Firm. As of November 8, 2018, the Firm has obtained re-certification in the Ohio Department of Administrative Services Equal Opportunity Division Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) Program. The Firm offers forensic accounting as part of its Tax, Audit, Review, Consultation, Bookkeeping, Payroll and Litigation Support services. Forensic Accounting is the integration of accounting, auditing and investigative skills. Forensic accountants are trained to look beyond the numbers and deal with the business reality of the situation.


About RSM US Alliance

RSM US Alliance provides its members with access to resources of RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance member firms are separate and independent businesses and legal entities that are responsible for their own acts and omissions, and each are separate and independent from RSM US LLP. RSM US LLP is the U.S. member firm of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax, and consulting firms. Members of RSM US Alliance have access to RSM International resources through RSM US LLP but are not member firms of RSM International. Visit us for more information regarding RSM US LLP and RSM International. The RSM™ logo is used under license by RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance products and services are proprietary to RSM US LLP.