WEST ORANGE, NJ - The end-of-year holiday season is traditionally a time of relaxation and good cheer, but for Steven P. Bortnick, that’s no reason to let down his guard.

“There are a host of concerns that we have to address of behalf of our clients,” said Bortnick, a partner with the West Orange CPA firm Bederson & Co. LLP. “States are increasingly more aggressive when it comes to issues like sales tax collection and allocation of corporate income tax; and we anticipate significant changes to individual tax rates are likely to be made in 2012. Our professionals make it a point to keep with all this and more, and to explain it to clients.”

A full-service regional CPA firm, Bederson is large enough to offer a wide range of accounting, audit, tax, estate planning, business consulting and other services, according to Bortnick. But the firm has also controlled its growth in a way that enables it to deliver close, personal service to each client.

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“For example, we made a conscious decision to keep away from doing certified audits of publicly held companies,” he explained. “That uses up a lot of resources and could result in a diversion from our core competitive advantage of servicing closely held businesses.”

This kind of strategy allows the firm’s members to gain a broad, deep understanding of clients, he said.

“Besides handling their business matters, we work with wealth managers and other professionals who can provide valuable investment and other advice,” Bortnick said. “The idea is to make it easier for clients to access the kinds of financial, accounting and other services they require.”

In one case, a New Jersey based business faced “significant” financial sanctions related to a state audit of seven years of its activities in an Urban Enterprise Zone, or UEZ, where certain businesses can charge half the standard sales tax rate on certain purchases, may be eligible for tax exemptions on certain purchases, and may qualify for certain financing and other benefits.

“The matter involved a very detailed and unusual set of circumstances that the state auditor had not previously encountered,” explained Bortnick. “Our team engaged in a lot of research and documentation, but in the end we were able to explain it to the state in a satisfactory manner that led to a resolution that was very favorable to our client.”

The relationship between Bederson and its clients is getting closer all the time, given the tough economy and other increased challenges that business owners are facing.

“People are spending less, expenses are rising, and it can be difficult for businesses to arrange financing,” Bortnick observed. “Our trained accountants can help clients deal with short-term and long-term matters, including monitoring debt, cash flow, overhead and compliance. We can also help them to plan for business growth.”

Business owners and individuals will likely face a growing number of issues in the near future, Bortnick added.

“Local, state and federal governments are seeking ways to boost their revenue, and that often means more scrutiny of business transactions, higher corporate and individual tax rates, and new changes to the tax structure,” he said. “On top of that, the cost of material, labor and overhead continues to rise, even as competition increases, placing even greater demands on business owners. Change is being forced on them, but we’re pleased to be available to help guide our clients through turbulent times.”

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