ARTESIA, CA – Jiten Gandhi launched out on his CPA career over three decades ago and has come a long way since. He has grown his practice to where it is today - well entrenched, servicing the local Indian-American community. Talking to India Journal Gandhi goes back to where it all started in 1983 when he landed a job with Arthur Young & Co, which is now known as E&Y.
Gandhi & Kang, LLP is today a subsidiary of Kang & Associates (KA). Gandhi & Kang, LLP was formed in 2005, when Jiten ‘s, EA practice was merged in, to focus on servicing the Indian-American community. KA services both mainstream and Korean American clients (approximately 33% of the practice), as Steven Kang, CPA speaks Korean. KA is an independent member of BDO Seidman Alliance, which is a nationwide association of 160 CPA firms in the US, including BDO USA, a US member of BDO International, a fifth largest accounting firm in the world. By accessing the worldwide resources of BDO and each other, the Alliance presents an opportunity for KA to expand services to its clients-without jeopardizing personal attention to client service.
From 2005 to 2009, KA’s office was in Cerritos Towne Center. In May 2009 the office was moved to Artesia when the partners bought the building. Since the merger, Gandhi figures the Indian-American practice has grown 65% while the other practice has grown about 5% per year. Recently, KA has acquired Anderson Income Tax Service, which is a 40 year old tax preparation company, servicing the surrounding communities. “Our firm is made up of 21 staff members, with 7 CPAs, 1 EA, 6 CTEC tax preparers, four accountants/full charge bookkeepers and four administrative staff,” elaborates Gandhi.
The firm specializes in servicing closely held businesses, which is defined as businesses owned/operated by small number of individuals. Special needs exist for closely held businesses, as the need of business owners is closely synched with the need of the business. The coordination of accounting and tax impacts between the business accounting and tax requires special services and resources. Gandhi explains that the firm excels in providing these coordinated services to closely held business.
The second area of expertise is international accounting and tax services. With the advent of the internet, it is now relatively easy to conduct international business. No longer is the realm of international business reserved for large multinationals. Many closely held businesses are now conducting international businesses. Drawing from the resources of the fifth largest accounting firm in the world, KA helps closely held businesses in conducting international business.
The third area of expertise is the hospitality/real estate industry. Conducting real estate as a business, rather than as a passive investment, requires specialized skills. KA provides accounting, tax and consulting services to hundreds of hospitality/real estate clients to maximize their after tax cash flows.
What tips can you give taxpayers as the April 15 deadline approaches? To this Gandhi retorts,“ The old saying ‘Time is money’ is very true for using CPA services.” He goes on that in the service industry, the most important resource expended is labor, which is measured by time. As such, the more time you require from your CPA, higher the fees will be. If you are interested in minimizing your fees this tax season, you should see what you need to do to organize your data, to minimize the time required by your CPA. By taking less time from your CPA, you will be able to better organize your data and also lower your fees at the same time.
In the tax world, everything comes down to documentation. If you have good documents, then you should be able to defend your position, even if you are audited. The value of your tax preparer is tested when you are audited. Remember the US tax reporting system is on voluntary system. Until you get audited, you can put whatever you want to on your tax returns and no one would care.
You need to be wary about the tax preparer who promise big refund (with a little wink), without explaining the ramifications if you get audited. More likely than not, these tax preparers would not come to your defense, if you get audited. The value of a tax preparer is determined by when you are audited. As I have said earlier, until you get audited, no one cares whatever you put down on the returns. On the key to the success of the business, Gandhi is forthright in saying that the firm’s services have been tested by audits from IRS, FTB and BOE. We understand that it is the responsibility of taxpayers, not tax preparers, to pay the taxes to the government. For this very reason, our job is not to get our clients in trouble but taking callous risks on behalf of our clients. Our job is to explain the pros and cons of various options they have in reporting their income/expenses so that they can make informed decision. We take efforts in explaining these options so that our clients make decisions that they are comfortable with. Running a business always carry risks. Our job is to help our clients to minimize these risks, while maximizing their cash flows, through informed decision. Having the resources to get clear answers on questions to manage these risks helps us in getting the trust from our clients. As a trusted advisor to our clients, we work to be the objective voice to our clients, in evaluating all business related issues. In some cases, our clients ask to advise them on matters outside of accounting and tax matters. Although we appreciate their trust in us, we know the limit of our abilities and we always try to bring in specialists, so that our clients get the best possible advice. In short, it is our personal attention to our clients’ issues, and world class resources in helping our clients, which are the two key ingredients contributing to our success. We also really enjoy what we do -helping our clients.
As to future plans, Gandhi elaborates that in a service business, having the right people is the key to growth. If you have the right people, the business will grow. As such, we are looking for high caliber professionals to help our practice grow to the next level.
We are also looking into acquiring couple of practices in the area. Couple of practitioners in the area have approached us to take over the practice, with the owners looking to retire. Having the economy of scales allows us to absorb these practices, while maintaining the same level of personal and professional services. We are also looking to open additional offices in Irvine and Los Angeles. All this growth is dependent of having the right professionals to properly service our clients.
Gandhi & Kang is located at 17918 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 200, Artesia, CA 90701. Call: (562) 865-2727