IRFA

Structured Settlements and How to Get Cash for Them

Structured Settlements and How to Get Cash for Them

A structured settlement scheme/annuity refers to a financial compensation plan, especially awarded to personal injury victims. This scheme is opted for if the beneficiary is a minor or is considered unable to manage the lump sum of the money they are awarded. The compensation is not given as a lump sum. Instead, the award is broken down into a series of periodic payments receivable over a long period of time. The compensation can be in small monthly payments or yearly payments, depending on the plan agreed upon. For instance, a beneficiary might be entitled to a structured settlement plan worth $300,000 to be paid in equal annual installments over a period of 10 years.

The terms of structured payments are agreed upon by the parties involved. These terms are subject to being violated by the beneficiary over time. For instance, the needs or priorities of the beneficiary might change at one point in life, thereby requesting for more or all the funds in the payments scheme. Such scenarios happen, especially when the beneficiary attains the age of 21 years. When the beneficiary wants more or all the money in the plan before the scheduled time elapses, the available option is to sell all or part of the future payments and receive a lump sum payment.

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How to Sell a Structured Settlement Plan

As indicated earlier, the priorities and needs of the beneficiaries might change. For example, one might need cash to fund college studies, start a business, pay off a debt, buy a home, etc. When such issues knock, one would prefer to have an immediate lump sum payment rather than the periodic installments. The only option is to sell the settlement scheme in return for the lump sum. However, you have to face one fact as you sell your structured settlements; you won’t receive the full amount of the scheme. Part of the full notional amount will be lost as interest rates. The interest rate is usually about 12% on average, you can get a quote here at StructuredSettlementExperts.net.

The process of selling structured settlement is quite simple. It involves the following steps;

  1. Have a valid reason as to why you need to sell your settlement scheme. It’s very important to make a sound decision so as not to affect your future financial status.
  2. Perform a thorough research on the market interest rates by different companies. This involves searching for the best rates as well as a reputable funding company. It’s advisable to work with the company directly, not with brokers.
  3. Begin the selling process. This step involves organizing your paperwork and submitting for review by the funding company. Some of the papers involved include the settlement agreement, your application, and ID.
  4. Seek a sale approval from the judge. Once the paperwork is reviewed and bears the relevant signatures, you need to file the papers with the court through an attorney. When the court hearing is scheduled, you are required to justify and testify your decision before the judge.
  5. After the sale is approved by the judge, you will sign a contract with the funding company and wait for the cash. You will wait for an average of 45 days to receive the cash.

A common practice is selling the settlement schemes on the investment markets. Most people like to sell their structured settlements on investment markets because they are considered as Secondary Market Annuities (SMAs). Investors are interested in SMAs because of their low risk and high returns. 

Finally, are you ready for the good news? The money received from the sale of structured settlements does not have similar tax treatment as payments from other types of annuities. The payment is treated the same way as those periodic payments from a structured settlement plan. Sell your structured settlement annuity today and flee away from financial struggles.

What is International Accounting Standards?

International Accounting Standards (IAS) is a set of rules on how business transactions should be presented in financial statements. These rules are developed by the Board of the International Accounting Standards Committee. However, it was replaced by the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by the International Accounting Standards Board in 2001. Take note that by “international”, it means that the standards are being employed worldwide.

Why is Financial Statements important?

Financial statements are important because it serves as a proof of how a company or an institution is doing. It also tells how the management is handling their finances. Basically, it is where the investors base their decisions on whether or not they will invest in your company. In other words, it is a medium of communication between the company and the public.

How importance is International Financial Reporting Standards?

Having standards when it comes to financial reporting is very important to ensure that the information being presented are consistent, reliable, and relevant. In order for this to be followed by various institutions, it must be governed by an infrastructure or organization that oversees and ensures that financial statements are in accordance with the standards.

What are the International Standards on Auditing?

Generally, the international standards on auditing concentrate more on the consistency, transparency, and comparability of the documents to help in the evaluation of the movement of capital within the company. It is important to note that auditing relies on the availability of audit evidence, internal and external controls, and international auditing practice statements. In addition, effective planning and a sense of responsibility is expected of the person who is assigned to audit a project or a company.

What are the Different Benefits of Having Accounting Standards?

  • Because it is a medium of communication between the public and the company, financial statements are readily available to anyone (a foreigner or a local). As mentioned above, the standards are actually followed internationally. Thus, it is made not to favor one country over the other.
  • Investors use financial statements as a way to compare two or more companies. Thus, having such standards is helpful for them since it makes it easier for them to compare data.
  • Having accounting standards that are being employed worldwide makes it easier for multinational companies to make financial statements. They do not have to learn standards that are different from their base country.
  • International accounting standards serve as a medium of communication among different companies.

What Is Audit Evidence And Documentation?

This article defines the concept of adequate and competent audit evidence and how it must be presented with documentation. To summarize, audit evidence and documentation is:

• In the fieldwork, the third standard requires auditors to get adequate and competent audit evidence in order to support whatever is their audit opinion. To make it competent, the evidence must be valid and relevant. Generally, if an auditor wants to make the evidence more valid, the information must be:

o Derived from independent sources, this means that the evidence is not from the client’s organization but sourced outside.

o Generated from the accounting system that possesses effective internal control.

o Obtained first hand by the auditors than coming from secondary sources.

• In determining the weight and sufficiency of evidence, the auditors must use professional judgment.

• The auditor must personally gather the evidence to reduce the risk of audit. This means that he can still modify his opinion of the financial statements which are misstated materially. Financial statements of businesses consist of various assertions created by the management, for this reason, the auditor must get sufficient and competent audit evidence that explains each assertion in the financial statement.

• At the account balance level of the individual, audit risk is composed of the following:

o The risk of misstatement in the materials has occurred. This is composed of control risk and inherent risk.

o The risk when the auditor has not detected the misstatement. This is the detection risk.

o When auditors gather audit evidence, they must assess both control and inherent risks but to restrict the detection risk.

• Auditors must be extra careful in examining accounts within the financial statements which are affected by the management’s estimates like the allowance of doubtful accounts. This kind of accounts has greater inherent risk than other types of accounts.

• The documentation of audit is the link that connects between the report of the auditor and the client’s accounting records. The documentation is owned by the auditors and used to illustrate his compliance to the professional standards and support for auditors opinion.

This is what audit evidence and communication is all about.

What are the Civil Liabilities of an Auditor?

Auditors are primarily responsible for making sure that the financial data presented in various financial documents are accurate and consistent. They hold a big responsibility in terms of the financial aspect of an institution for they are the ones who will be questioned when inconsistencies and errors are found out later on. Auditors face a lot of liabilities; the most common issue is probably civil liabilities.

Civil Liabilities that an Auditor may face

  • Negligence liability

It is important to note that an auditor employed by a corporation is actually an agent of its shareholders. Therefore, he is expected to perform with due care and appropriate skills in performing the work given to him. If he does not act according to his job description, then an issue of negligence may arise.

  • Misfeasance Liability

Misfeasance is actually another term for “breach of duty”. More often than not, misfeasance is usually found out after the company has wind up all its assets for liquidation. It can be issued against the liquidator, creditor, or any employee of the company. It is very important to note that when a company is in liquidation due to breach of duty, the past and present directors, promoters, managing agents, and auditors are all liable in offsetting all the losses that has been incurred by such acts.

  • Legal Liabilities

Auditors are expected to work in a proper and honest way. Otherwise they will be liable for negligence if they do not complete the work required by the company and the state; they fail to protect the interest of those who will use the financial statements; and they do not perform with due care and skill.

  • Liabilities to Third Parties

It is important to note that an auditor can also be liable not only in the law governing contracts, but also in the law of tort. Legal actions may be filed to the auditor by a third party if he proves that the auditor owes him a duty of care; the auditor is negligent with his duties; and he has suffered financial losses from the negligence of the auditor.

Tips on Becoming a Chartered Accountant

Becoming a reputable and well-respected accountant is never easy. To achieve it, you need to put extra effort and dedication. A licensed professional accountant need not only limit themselves locally, he/she can actually compete with other accountants worldwide. However, they need to earn it through special credentials from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Steps on Becoming a Chartered Accountant

  • The program offered by the ACCA is composed of 14 exams; you need to be able to complete and pass them in order to become a chartered accountant. Taking these examinations may take up to four years. However, for those who have experience in different areas of accounting, they may be exempted from some of the exams. To qualify, one must be at least 21 years of age and have completed the papers for Management Accounting and Financial Accounting.
  • Gain experience for at least 3 years. If you can, get in touch with ACCA; inquire whether they are looking for possible candidates. Note that 3 years of experience can be gained outside the chartered accounting practice.
  • Complete the Professional Ethics module that will be given to you by the ACCA. Note that a certification as a chartered accountant is some sort of an evidence that an international organization acknowledges your accounting mastery of skills that will allow you to perform globally. Multinational organizations give importance to how ethical an accountant is so it is highly advisable for you to be certified in ethics if you are looking to work in other countries.
  • Register to ACCA global. You can do this by visiting their website, www.accaglobal.com. Their website will actually provide you with complete information on whether or not they need potential chartered candidates. Read about them and assess whether they coincide with the career path you are looking to get into.

The Significance Of Accountant’s Code Of Ethics

Accountant’s code of ethics is an applied ethics. It is the study of judgment and moral values applied in the field of accountancy and a model of what professional ethics is all about. Accounting ethics were introduced by Luca Pacioli, later on they were expanded by professional organizations, independent companies and government groups. Also, the study of ethics is part of the accounting course in college institutions including companies through the conduct of trainings for their auditors and accountants.

Due to many accounting corporate collapses that are happening today, many people are drawing attention to the ethical standards that must be followed in the accounting profession. The collapses that are happening one after another resulted to a widespread disregard of accountant’s reputation. However, to answer the anomalies and controversies faced by the accounting profession, various accounting associations and the government developed remedies and regulations to improve the current system.

People must remember that the accounting profession exists to deliver public service. The profession differs from the means of livelihood because it is accountable to the public interest’s standards and beyond the income paid by clients.

Concept of Ethics

Ethics is molded by societal, professional and personal values and all of them are very hard to specify. For some, they stress that the interest of the society is more important than the interest of the person while others think the other way around. The conflicting viewpoints are the main topics of ethics even before and may still be the same issue in the future.

The word ethics comes from the Latin word “moras” or customs and the Greek word “ethos” that means character. These two words are the basis of how people define ethics but the bottom line is that it is about choices. It tells how individuals act to make the correct choice, as a result, produce good behavior. It includes the examination of values, norms and principles. Thus, ethics is a practical discipline that demands the person’s moral knowledge and skills to apply them properly in everyday life.

Importance of Ethics

Accountants and auditors nature of work needs a high standard of ethics. Potential shareholders, shareholders and other industries that are using financial statements have high regard on the company’s annual financial statements as they are used as tools for investment decisions. These stakeholders rely on the accountant’s opinion who are responsible for the preparation of statements so that the companies can present a fair and true picture. Being knowledgeable about the ethics will help accountants overcome dilemmas of ethical standards, allow to make the proper choice even if it is not beneficial for the company and will be beneficial to the public who relies their reporting.

These are the importance of accountant’s code of ethics.

The Process of Audit

Every institution need to be audited and the process is defined as independent and systematic examination and evaluation of data, records, statements, performances and operations whether financial or something else of an enterprise for a stated purpose. The auditor recognizes and identifies the schemes before him for inspection, collects evidences, evaluates the same and on this basis expresses his judgment which is represented to his audit report. The purpose is then to give opinion on the adequacy of controls within the environment they audit and to evaluate and improve the control, risk management and process of governance.

Auditing are performed to ascertain the reliability and validity of information as well as to provide assessment of a system’s internal control where statistical sampling is often adopted in audits. Below is a step by step guide and identified stages of an audit and highlights the areas in which staff should become involved in the process:

  • Planning – stage one is planning and it is based on annual sequence that runs in line with each year activity. Each audit will cover all key events of the institution at least once and some areas that are deliberated high risk or high priority are often covered more than once. There are certain times and hours that auditors meet with the strategic planning department to plan the internal audit calendar for the whole year activity and to identify the areas for review. Strategic planning then notifies the involved party about the planned activities. Internal auditors will arrange a meeting with a particular staff to discuss the objective and scope of the audit. The information gained at the initial meeting is used in union with other significant information about the unit in order to obtain a general overview of operation. All information is then used to make a preliminary assessment of the risk and control for the unit.
  • Fieldwork – stage two is fieldwork where auditor concentrates on determining how well a unit is managing the risk identified at the planning stage and what controls are operating to help them do the activity. The auditors usually have a list of details and findings to prepare a draft audit report; usually the draft audit report should embrace no disclosures.
  • Reporting – stage three is reporting where a feedback meeting may be held with the unit to deliberate the audit outcomes, assumptions and recommendations. The body can give comments and come up with an agreement on any recommendations acknowledged before the formal draft report will be made.
  • Follow-up – stage four is follow-up and it is the crucial part because it is the time of implementation and delivery of any remedial actions and improvement work identified within the audit report.

Now you have an idea on the process of audit that is very important in an organization.

The Key Qualifications Of Accountants For Small Business

For owners of small businesses, there are various considerations in hiring an accountant. First, they must determine whether to hire an outside or inside accountant. After this, there is a need to determine the key qualifications that an accountant must possess before hiring. An accountant who is non-certified may be what you really need to handle the financial statements of the business, bookkeeping and analysis. However, when matters about return preparation and tax advice, business owners need a certified and licensed accountant. To help you, the qualifications detailed below are the key qualifications of accountants for small business.

Certifications

A CPA has a degree and met the experience and exam requirements for certification in the state. Also, a CPA should continue taking education courses to remain licensed and certified. On the other hand, a CMA is trained to meet the requirements of today’s accounting procedures and can participate in the management team of the company. A CMA can perform accounting duties and responsibilities after passing the exam, has business experience and obtains additional education credits. For small businesses that are still young and growing, business owners want to hire accountants who can assist in managing their financial performance and responsible for the internal control function. With this, the most-suited professional in the business is a CMA.

Expertise In The Industry

Aside from being certified and licensed, a major qualification that an accountant must possess is his expertise about the business’ industry or related industry. This is important as firms specialize differently like in construction, auto dealership, retail and even non-profit. The specialties they have are based on the type of industry and service they provide.

Size

Another qualification that a business owner must consider is the size of the accounting industry. Today, there is a wide array of accountants and accounting firms that you can choose from. This task can be daunting whether you are going to choose a sole practitioner to marquis or national firms. For some business owners, they are more comfortable employing an accountant that comes from reputable and big firms. This idea may sound attractive as it connotes hiring top talents but you may overlook the potential of accountants who are in smaller firms yet capable of the same qualities that big firms can do. As a business leader, think about the outcome that can make you more comfortable. You may choose to partner a smaller firm. You must also remember that big firms are out-sourcing accountants to assign to small businesses. If you want to hire somebody from large firms, make sure to ask who will handle your account.

These are the key qualifications that you must look for in an accountant.

The Importance of External Auditors For Doctors

Companies and professionals like doctors hire external auditors aside from the internal auditors they have. External auditors work independently. They are hired to examine the records and operations of the company or professional to make sure that financial statements are correct. External auditors are very helpful to establish the credibility of the business or the person and ensure that they are compliant with tax laws.

Here are reasons why it is important to hire an external auditor for doctors, other professionals and companies:

Ensures Compliance

External auditors help professionals in determining whether an individual or a business is compliant with the rules of the Internal Revenue Service. He is not connected with the person who hires him, as a result, he can redirect the practices without fear of being questioned or rejected with his views. Also, an external auditor can identify small problems before becoming serious as well as help the person stay on track.

Provides Credibility

Financial statements of professionals like doctors will become more credible since external auditors evaluate their financial statements and corrects if they are accurate. Credibility is very essential especially for a doctor who wants to build a positive reputation. Also, external auditors are less biased because they are not directly working with the people or company that hire them. Thus, the approval of an external auditor creates more credibility than your internal auditor.

Can Give Critics On the Internal Processes

Generally, internal auditors cannot effectively criticize the internal processes of the company or professionals because they work directly for the business or people. However, external auditors can do otherwise, they can observe various operations and view it as an outsider. With this, external auditors can give critics as to where money or time is wasted. Often, the areas that they give comments are in general operations and accounting practices. They recommend strategies to promote greater efficiency including how to tighten accounting practices.

These are the importance of external auditors for doctors, other professionals and businesses.

The Benefits Of Joining Auditors Association

For auditors who want to increase their contact within the industry, joining the auditors association is one way to increase link. Today, auditors association has regional and national chapters. An association is considered a synergistic group, this means that the group of people has greater impact than one person alone. To understand how important joining an association is, here are some benefits:

Enhance Your Network

For professionals, creating relationships with other professionals is important. Joining an association gives you a sense of trust and security because the people within the group can support and help each other in reaching professional goals. Also, associations conduct numerous events to connect with members and gain more camaraderie. During these activities, the members can share ideas, give advices, volunteer to spearhead in trainings or become part of the committee. You can learn new things in your industry, hear about achievers and learn from them, learn new ideas and the best practices.

Another benefit is that you can look for a mentor who can coach your needs or you can help other auditors too. After all, giving back is the greatest reward.

Take Advantage Of Career Opportunities

One of the benefits in joining an association is that you can take advantage of career opportunities because they have job listings. This can be a way to find the job that you were looking for. In addition, associations create career resources like teaching how to make cover letter or effective resumes and negotiating technics and strategies to look for a job. In fact, associations create a panel of experts to help its members of whatever career issues and concerns they have. Other benefits are additional information about trainings, certification classes and seminars. Often, these career opportunities and resources that an association provide to members can be accessed through the Internet to make them more accessible without leaving their home.

These are some of the benefits of joining an auditor’s association. Next time, do not forget to list your association on your resume because this can be an impressive way to show that you are a dedicated professional.