Sample Headaches with Outdated Bookkeepers

For entrepreneurs, time is of the essence and while they may agree that they can do the accounting and bookkeeping by themselves after an education on basic business accounting and BIR compliance, paying for a bookkeeper or accountant is sometimes more practical.

  • First, entrepreneur can concentrate more on operational aspect of the business.
  • Second, the books of accounts and related compliance with applicable government rules and regulations could be more efficiently handled because the bookkeeper or the accountant is more knowledgeable on them.

It is so saddening to say that based on the experiences of some small & medium entrepreneurs, not all bookkeepers and accountants are competent enough to properly handle the bookkeeping and proper compliance in keeping with the existing rules and regulations of the government agencies.  This is without prejudice to the accounting profession because this may not apply to all, but it appears that some have their own way of business accounting and handling their clients that is not in accord with the present accounting standards, or they simply failed to enlist themselves in the loop of present updates with the new rules. Hereunder are few examples:

  • A newly constructed building under the name of an individual owner was booked in the corporation where the individual owner was a director as a pre-operating expense. The building is an asset, not an expense and since there is no document giving the corporation a right over the same, it cannot record it in its books. Pre-operating expense rule that is amortized within a period of five (5) years has long been abolished by the BIR. The rule now is that start-up expenses are claimable outright and no longer amortized. If no revenue within that year, then, it could benefit subsequent year or years through net operating loss carry over (NOLCO).
  • Rental of residential units not exceeding P10,000.00 a month per unit has been subjected to 12% value added tax (VAT). This is not proper because under Section 109(Q) of the Tax Code, as amended, the same is exempt from VAT. Worst, if a VAT exempt transaction is imposed VAT, it will be considered as waiving the exemption thereby subjecting the exempt transaction with VAT and the same is irrevocable indefinitely. Granting that it was an error, BIR may apply technicality and said error can no longer be reversed so it will be always subject to 12% VAT even if it should have been exempt.
  • Increase of authorized capitalization effected only at the General Information Sheet (GIS) and without an approval for increase of authorized capitalization with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). Extent of authorized capital stock of a corporation is a grant of the State through SEC to private corporations so that without an approved increase, corporations could not effect an increase in its GIS.
  • Change in address made in corporate documents (GIS, etc) without any approved amended articles of incorporation for the new address with the SEC. SEC has made this new rule for transparency purposes that corporations shall indicate in its Articles of Incorporation the exact address upon registration and upon any change in the same. Accordingly, each transfer of address requires an amendment of the Articles of Incorporation.

In all of the above, it is the owner-entrepreneur who shouldered the penalties and headaches and never the bookkeeper or accountant. There could be numerous more instances of lapses where the client suffered so much of its hard earned money. I have not yet found any instance in the Philippines where a bookkeeper or a retainer-paid accountant has been made liable.

Based on this, I highly urge small and medium entrepreneurs to educate themselves and not simply entrust their fate with their retainer-paid bookkeeper or accountant. Every peso of hard earned operational income could multiply more profits if used in operations and not wasted on paying penalties. If you have encountered such instances, I suggest that you consult a more competent professional or you may even have their services for the compliance review of the past transactions so you could have a better picture of exposures, if any, and make some corrective actions, if still available.

Finally, I appeal to those bookkeepers and accountants concerned in the above to please ensure professional competency. Let us stay abreast with the recent developments so we fully cater the professional needs of clients. Let us uphold the highest professional ethical standards and demands of our profession that our small and medium entrepreneurs would be able to compete and be more successful though the support of our professional services.

Disclaimer: This article is for general conceptual guidance only and is not a substitute for an expert opinion. Please consult your preferred tax and/or legal consultant for the specific details applicable to your circumstances. For comments, you may also please send mail at info(@), or you may post a question at Tax and Accounting Center Forum and participate therein.

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