Discussion:Hi & EA career prospects

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Discussion Forum Index --> User Introductions --> Hi & EA career prospects

Discussion Forum Index --> Tax Questions --> Hi & EA career prospects


Amgain (talk|edits) said:

9 September 2006
Hi All!

I am fairly new to the U.S. and am facing difficulty in getting a regular job. I have a Bachelor's degree in Advanced Accountancy, though my main career had been as a banker.

I have a California Tax Preparer license with one season's experience. I was paid $9 per hour plus 5% incentive on the returns I prepared.

I am thinking in terms of acquiring licenses/certifications to improve my job prospects. I can do either the Enrolled Agent program or an Accounting certification (such as Quickbooks ProAdvisor). The reason for my looking at the Enrolled Agent career is because I have not been able to get either a bank or accounting job so far.

Could anyone kindly advise me whether the EA license will really improve my chances of getting a year-round job quickly? Also, what can I expect by way a starting pay after I get my EA license? (I am not contemplating starting on my own as an EA yet till I get some experience.)

BottomLine (talk|edits) said:

9 September 2006
I'd suggest getting the QuickBooks ProAdvisor certification first. Since you already have a degree in accounting, all you'll need to do is learn how the QuickBooks program "thinks". They have a website that lists the ProAdvisors and tells people how to contact you for training. You can then charge whatever you want and what the market will bear for training. Since you're new to the U.S. you may speak another language. I would put that in your ProAdvisor profile. (I know being in Florida, I could get more clients and charge a premium for them if I spoke spanish.) I've got a bookkeeping and tax practice and about 1/3 of it is QuickBooks training. The most wonderful thing in the world is that the program can be purchased off the shelf. People buy it, discover they need training, go to the ProAdvisor web link and then call me. I charge $75 an hour for one-on-one training in the client's office. (There's a man in Atlanta that charges $150 an hour!) The general public does not know what an EA is. After you get your ProAdvisor certification and start making some money, you can always go back and get your EA.

DZCPA (talk|edits) said:

9 September 2006
More experience will get you more money per hour. How about $20 to $25 per hour starting with a good command of the english langauge required.

Bengoshi (talk|edits) said:

10 September 2006
Let's face it -- $9/hour, even with incentives is not very good. I'm glad you're thinking of improving your job prospects. While I don't know whether you're qualified to sit for the CPA exam in your state, take a look at the prior discussion below. Other members provide good opinions on the value of a CPA license vs. an EA certification.

http://www.taxalmanac.org/index.php/Discussion:EA_vs._CPA_exam

Though you should have some type of certification, I think it really boils down to how dedicated you are to learning your trade and how much trust you earn with people.

PatP3005 (talk|edits) said:

29 September 2006
I am an unenrolled tax preparer. Don't have the required educational certifications to get a CPA license. I was thinking the EA credential would make it easier for me to deal with the IRS. They are making it increasing difficult for unrolled preparers to participate (mostly I can't take advantage of some of the e-services). I also was weighing that against the QuickBooks Pro Advisor. I like the hourly rates being quoted. I have about 30 years experience with tax prep, probably 10 with QuickBooks. Sat once for the EA exam after self-studying. Decided it couldn't be done without a training class of some kind. Any opinions on the best method out there? Thanks for your thoughts.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

29 September 2006
I'd talk with some CPA's in your area to determine if getting your EA would help you deal with the IRS. In the Tampa area they won't even talk with a CPA with a POA! I do sub work for a CPA and he writes a letter from the client to the IRS and gets the client to sign it. That's the only way he can get anything done with the IRS. When you're comparing the EA to the Certified Pro Advisor, you're comparing apples and oranges. I'd suggest getting your Certified Pro Advisor first because you can do that on your own schedule and don't have to wait for at class or a test date.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

29 September 2006
BL: are you generalizing or is it this specific CPA? I recall one ex-IRS type EA in Philly who agents and R.O.s used to avoid like the plague because he could be such a pain when he didn't get his way.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

29 September 2006
Every CPA I talk to in this area is crying the blues. A couple have said that they aren't even allowed on a conference call.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

29 September 2006
I think the EA is a good credential because you actually have a wider geographic practice area (actual practice before the IRS) than even a lawyer or CPA licensed in one state, at least as I understand it. The quickest bang for your buck would probably come from Pro Advisor, however. Bottom line: Are the CPA's representing TP's resident in Florida? If so, I don't know the IRS is getting away with that.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

September 29, 2006
Depends on what you want to do. If tax, then given the looming testing anyway, go for the EA. Clients don't understand it, but IRS does and it gives you fundamental tax understanding. For usual bookkeeping, the QB Advisor is the way to go. For general computer/techno support, go for a Microsoft Certification of some sort. Powerful combo those three. But still no substitute for some good experience.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

29 September 2006
CrowJD - CPA licensed in Florida, practicing in Florida, taxpayer in Florida.

Kathyt (talk|edits) said:

29 September 2006
Pat, I took the SEE and got my EA a few years ago, I just bought a book, I think it was WISE GUIDE or something like that, and I took old tests off of the NATP website. I found that to be very good studying because if you miss a question they explain why, anyway it worked for me, I made above 90% on each section of the test and that was the first time I sat for it, and that's the only 2 ways that I studied for it. I decided it was time to get it because it is getting increasingly difficult to discuss anything with the IRS without it. Also, the bill which is still out there somewhere, that proposes that all non Cir 230 prepares must pass an annual test had just come out, and that made me nervous, because if you have a bad day on test day and don't pass, would that mean I'd have to close my business down till next year, well I didn't want to find out. So that pushed me to take the test. If the bill ever passes then everyone who signs over 5 returns a year (I believe that's it) will have to take a test of some kind, but I think they changed the wording to where it's not an annual test, just one time and then have CPE each year after. Anyway that's why I got my EA and I don't regret it, not only did I learn a little more in studying for it, but it makes communicating with IRS SO much easier. I use E-Services all the time, and I am resolving issues with old clients and new clients so much faster now. You don't have to be an EA or a CPA to use E-Services but without those designations you are limited as to what you can do, having the EA really helped in my business.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

29 September 2006
Kathyt - you may want to look at the "Proposed IRS test for unlicensed preparers (Not EA)" thread. It's discussing exactly what you are talking about.

Skasselea (talk|edits) said:

3 October 2006
Bottom line, while this is off-topic, please explain what you are talking about when you state <<I'd talk with some CPA's in your area to determine if getting your EA would help you deal with the IRS. In the Tampa area they won't even talk with a CPA with a POA! I do sub work for a CPA and he writes a letter from the client to the IRS and gets the client to sign it. That's the only way he can get anything done with the IRS.>>

It makes no sense to me, but maybe I'm not understanding your point.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

4 October 2006
skasselea - Taxpayer receives a letter from the IRS (doesn't matter specifically what the letter says). Taxpayer asks CPA to handle the issue since CPA s a professional and taxpayer has no idea what the letter means. CPA has taxpayer sign Power of Attorney (POA) so CPA can talk with IRS to respond to the letter. CPA faxes the POA to IRS. CPA then calls the IRS to respond to the letter. IRS says they can only talk with the taxpayer. CPA says POA was faxed to IRS. IRS says they received POA but still will only talk with taxpayer. CPA then composes a letter from the taxpayer to the IRS. CPA has the taxpayer sign the letter which is then mailed to the IRS. IRS then responds in writing to the taxpayer. The interesting thing is that the CPA is cc'd on the letter because of the POA!

Kathyt (talk|edits) said:

4 October 2006
That seems hard to believe, all circular 230 practictioners should be able to talk to the IRS with a power of attorney. I'd call back and talk to the next person that answered the phone, because they should speak to the CPA. Even better, use E-services, it's off the subject, but it just amazes me how quickly I can get matters resolved using that, in 15 minutes I can do the power of attorney online and resolve tax issues that used to take weeks or months to resolve. Well 15 minutes might be a slight exageration, I do the POA and go through account resolutions (15 minutes) and I always get an e-mail that resolves the problem the next day. I don't even have to speak to the IRS, or sit on hold waiting for them to answer. I don't hear too many people talking about it but if you aren't using it, trust me, sign up, it makes life so much easier.

Lizzit (talk|edits) said:

4 October 2006
The IRS can not ignore a POA signed by a circular 230 practitioner. If the POA isn't registered, or if your CAF number isn't right, then no, they can't talk to you yet. But once your POA is on file, they must. I always get the client to sign three copies, two for me to keep for recalcitrant IRS agents. You can always sit on hold and fax a copy of the POA through to the recalcitrant IRS person.

If you get an IRS person who insists on talking to the taxpayer instead of the POA person even after they've acknowledged that you are indeed the POA person, then that IRS person is not behaving in accordance to the law. You hopefully have taken their name & station number, and you can report them to their supervisor. You always have the option of hanging up on an unhelpful person and starting all over again with a new one. I find 75% of IRS agents I talk to on the phone are courteous, helpful, and happy to resolve the issue. The other 25% are some combination of uncaring, unhelpful, nasty, or just plain stupid (sometimes all four!).

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

4 October 2006
Practitioner Hotline has always first checked the POA registration, and then if they do not find it, asked me to fax a copy. Ditto local offices. Remember, until then they have no idea if I am an attorney, CPA or EA. Lizzit also makes a good point about name and ID #; they always give that, and it pays to write it down. If I were a CPA in Tampa, I would be raising a stink. Remember something else: even without a POA the professional can relay information to the IRS. The IRS is not permitted to comment or talk about the taxpayer, but they do take the information. I have done this when mailng a payment for a client to prevent a second notice, or one time when a client received a five-figure refund of current year taxes direct deposited before he filed his return. That time, they actually talked to me because the subject was so intriguing.

Skasselea (talk|edits) said:

4 October 2006
Bottom line, I have never, ever heard of anything like that ever happening with any tax practitioner in my 14 years in practice. We contact IRS several times each and every day. I go to numerous IRS/EA liaison meetings and have never heard anyone mention anything of the sort. I have no idea what happened in an isolated case, but it is not a problem about which I have any concern at all.

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