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    Practice Areas

    At Czarnowski & Beer LLP, we offer a wide variety of results-driven services for:

    • Cooperatives and Condo Accounting
    • Non Profit Accounting
    • Individual Tax & Accounting
    • Real Estate Accounting
    • Enhanced Services
    • Other
    Cooperatives and Condominiums - We Proudly Serve Over 253 Properties! We are a large firm in this practice area presently servicing over 130 properties. However, we never lose the small firm approach, which is the foundation of our success. Our planning strategies are the key to our successful process to timely complete all the engagements well in advance of their annual meetings. As presentation is everything, you will find our Financial Statements to be in large font and in an easy to understand format!  Our design is to deliver ultimate results for your property by applying our comprehensive audit program that is specifically designed for cooperatives and condominiums that is tailored to each client.

    Leading the way for Not-For-Profit Organizations Not-for-profit A person’s volunteer work should come with peace-of-mind about their organization. While it’s always about the mission, your focus on the organization’s financial operations and internal control structure is extremely important. Our services in this practice area are designed to put the Board at ease about their commitment. Long before New York State took action with the Revitalization Act, Czarnowski & Beer LLP led the way in assuring board independence, conflict of interest and unquestionable governance policies. Complying with reporting requirements can be accomplished by most appropriate professionals. Expanding our role to educating board members who are here for the important purpose has always been the cornerstone of our practice. By explaining the need for Board policies that are now required for organizations of more than 20 people and revenue over $1M, we circumvent the extraordinary financial risks that face the important community service culture. Time and time again, we hear board members comment that the policies we recommend and practices we suggest were neither utilized nor exercised and as a result, many problems had been encountered. Our coordination with the Board to establish procedures to monitor management is evaluated in our audit process. For us, it’s all about our mission, and to protect the Board, the purpose of the organization and its volunteers.
    We offer comprehensive Individual Tax and Accounting services You are quite successful at what you do and following the huge list of Government filing requirements and deadlines, or keeping track of where the money comes from and goes is, in no way, the best way to utilize your time. We offer complete comprehensive services to allow you to redirect your attention to where it is best served.  Each task we accomplish carries the function of thinking “what if”. That is, our staff constantly pauses and evaluates what can be improved in the most efficient manner, developing a way to minimize your taxes and to enhance your wealth.  At least once a year, we share our findings with you.  It is then up to you to decide what may or may not work for you.  This unique consultation service is all part of the culture at Czarnowski & Beer LLP. We utilize numerous professional services to keep us abreast of the latest innovations, tax law changes, emerging issues, and deliver this information to you as enhanced representation of your specific tax and accounting requirements.  Our commitment to more than just reporting is available to you as part of our basic representation package.

    Real Estate - Offering Extraordinary Experience and Results Many families, partners and organizations have achieved superior financial results through these investments.  To the next generation, limited partners and minority owners, it is all about the reputation of the Firm.  Family patriarchs and those entrusted as general partners and executive management, find our uniquely experienced and seasoned staff to be trusted advisors who serve as their counselor in much more than the usual accounting issues. By merging our expertise in the numerous Income Tax savings strategies available to your organization, we offer the ability to present those in easy-to-understand concepts for your investors.  The inquiries we receive from management tend to involve much more than tax and reporting matters.  By accumulating our knowledge gained from the issues that affect our clients, as well as our investment knowledge, you will find that the return on investment in the cost of our consulting experience is extraordinary. You will receive insightful and economically rewarding information, and communication with investors is kept to a minimum with our ability to assist with straight-forward and uncomplicated commentary on complex investor communication issues.
    Enhanced Services - geared specifically for your organization  In addition to preparing an annual financial statement and tax return, we also help spotlight potential cost-savings opportunities for your property, help the Board take proper actions and make suitable decisions which will deter the Board from public scrutiny. Our basic procedures include exceptional rotational testing of controls.  This encompasses basic inquiry and, in some cases, testing of a wide variety of aspects of your property’s operations, with a strong focus on risk-assessment.
    Our firm has compiled a comprehensive study of annual costs incurred by our properties.  We have established statistics for most operating categories.  This has allowed us to offer helpful graphic demonstrations of how a given property compares to the “norm” for comparable properties within our vast portfolio.  These graphic demonstrations are offered to our clients. This service is further enhanced by attendance of one of our professionals at a board meeting to review the study and assist board members in properly understanding the meaning of its findings.  We are available to make recommendations for areas of potential improvement.
    This enhanced service allows properties to focus on two of the most popular and timely topics: cost reduction and “going green”. Most of New York’s real estate was developed at a time when efficient use of natural resources was given virtually no consideration.  In fact, providing an overcapacity of resources was the normal plan.  For example, the thought was to provide too much heat, as they can always open the windows if it gets too warm. After real estate taxes and mortgage costs (for cooperatives only), resources for electricity, fuel, gas and water are among their largest expenses, for most properties, other than small buildings, the only other comparable cost is payroll costs. The City has recognized the limitations on natural resources and established a “Go Green” initiative. Recent City legislation attempted to require energy audits, at a potential cost of $10K to $18K per structure.  While energy efficiency is a wonderful concept, utilizing a buckshot approach, particularly at that expected cost level, is not realistic given the budgets of our clients. We have found that most properties do not initiate projects to make every system more energy efficient, but rather, focus on the ones with appropriate payback, that presently are below average. The first step in evaluating what makes sense for a particular property rests on determining the current status of all the property’s systems.  Only then can a logical approach to a cost-effective system upgrade be determined.   Czarnowski & Beer LLP has ascertained the industry criterion for evaluation and established benchmark amounts for many building systems. Using this knowledge, we offer a one-of-a-kind consulting service allowing your Board access to this criteria. Our enhanced service allows you to determine how your property compares in a variety of areas and determine the areas with the highest potential return on investment that may be accomplished. Until the City mandates full energy efficiency audits, we will remain at the forefront of being available to benchmark our clients’ utilization of resources at a more reasonable cost.
    Monthly carrying charge increases have been thrust into the spotlight due to the economic crisis.  The increased charges have predominantly been caused by escalation of costs for energy, employee benefits, and local property taxes. Given that generally more than fifty percent of a property’s operating costs are non-discretionary, cost-cutting must involve more than simply limiting costs haphazardly. Together, with your property manager and building staff, we can coordinate a multi-faceted approach to investigating these key areas. For the benefit of your property and the achievement of your Board, we will offer our guidance to establish policies and procedures, maintain an internal control system including but not limited to maintaining controls over procurement, purchasing, and security of supplies.
    Beyond consideration of expense reduction, maximizing revenue must also be considered in order to limit monthly carrying charge increases.  As a complement to our cost reduction enhanced services, we also offer our “other sources of income” engagement which comes in two distinct concepts. One service evaluates the types and amounts of fees charged by the property to tenants, owners, visitors, and prospective applicants.  This evaluation can determine whether the level and types of fees being charged are in alignment with standard industry practices. The second service approach to “other sources of income” involves the review of applicable property and managing agent procedures to determine that the procedures assure that you are receiving all of the miscellaneous charges that you are entitled to on a timely basis. Try this simple exercise: Consider the listing of fees that has been established, detailing the fees to be charged at your property.  Now consider the frequency you see that revenue being recorded in the accounting records.  Other than your confidence in others assessing these fees properly, what assurance do you have that the fees are properly charged and collected? Even in the best circumstances, simple common errors such as these examples can occur:
    • Inadvertent omission of the procedure to review the dates that the unit owner checks were received to assure they were received by the appropriate date and not subject to late fees.
    • A ticker system is not being utilized to assure that a renewal application is filed upon the expiration of a sublease and that the appropriate fee is charged.
    • A tenant indicates to the appropriate person that they can no longer wish to rent a parking space and that the person responsible for assuring the spot is rented doesn’t receive the notification that the spot is available and rent it to another paying customer.
    We have compiled an exceptional resource designed to efficiently determine the appropriate improvements that are necessary to assure a property that all non-recurring income is properly charged, collected and deposited.  Once these procedures are established, we remain available to instruct the Board or Finance Committee members on how to monitor that the procedures are followed and that miscellaneous income is maximized.
    In the current economic environment, in addition to properties needing to raise revenues, so must the taxing authorities.  It is widely anticipated that there will be increases in Individual Income Tax rates in the near future, thereby making deductions that are passed-through from properties even more valuable.  Those who are familiar with Cooperatives can attest that the first question that is generally asked is “what percentage of the maintenance is tax deductible?”  With increasing tax rates, we expect the question of tax deduction for payments from unit owners to take on even greater significance. In addition to the usual Real Estate Tax and Mortgage Interest deductions that are available, there are other tax benefits that are not based on deduction, but rather provide dollar for dollar tax credits for certain projects that the property undertakes.  This type of benefit can go a long way toward rewarding unit owners and reducing the painful costs for necessary projects. There generally is one place that funds come from when they are required, and that is from the unit owners.  Presentation is everything when requesting funds from unit owners.  Quite often, we have heard the complaint “I have no idea what I am getting for all this extra money I have to pay”. Interestingly, we have seen how the response to requests for additional funds for major capital improvements is received more favorably when the request highlights the additional tax benefits to the unit owners when the assessment is properly structured. Working with you, we will assure that available tax benefits are maximized as part of the operation of the property.
    Enhanced Services - geared specifically for your organization  In addition to preparing an annual financial statement and tax return, we also help spotlight potential cost-savings opportunities for your property, help the Board take proper actions and make suitable decisions which will deter the Board from public scrutiny. Our basic procedures include exceptional rotational testing of controls.  This encompasses basic inquiry and, in some cases, testing of a wide variety of aspects of your property’s operations, with a strong focus on risk-assessment.
    A procedure self-assessment is an evaluation of potential errors that can occur in your organization’s transactions’ cycles and empowers you with the tools to assure that those errors will be detected. The monitoring aspects developed will act as review points at those places in a process where errors tend to arise. There can be an extraordinary number of reasons why a transactional error arises, which could result in errors that are not caught, and which then in turn could lead to the loss of corporate assets. Czarnowski & Beer LLP will facilitate your opportunity to perform a procedure self-assessment with management. We can assist you in understanding how this process works as you and your employees work together to determine where there is a risk of losing assets and ultimately implementing the corrective changes necessary while also improving your property’s operations. Our role is to appropriately facilitate this process which will allow the Board to enhance its ability to monitor and evaluate its management.
    Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and the New York State Attorney General has also applied comparable provisions to school districts as well as creating the New York State Non-Profit Revitalization Act which reminds us of the importance of assessment and reporting on the effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting. Internal control is a process affected by an entity’s Board of Directors, Management and other personnel. The internal control process is designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of effectiveness and efficiency of operations, reliability of financial reporting, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. In the past, many organizations simply accepted the internal control process utilized by their management. The oversight of the Managing Agent by Board of Director can vary from informal to formal. It is imperative that the Board understands and exercises their oversight responsibilities. No better internal control exists than curious board members utilizing a scheduled approach to review the day-to-day issues affecting their operations. Our staff is available to report on the internal controls that exist, assure their adequacy for the purpose in which they are designed, assure that important aspects of operations are controlled, and make recommendations on where procedures can be improved, consolidated, and are no longer cost effective to assist in your Board achieving Best Practices designation.
    The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, is the benchmark for Cooperative and Condominium unit loan qualifications. Unit owners who are attempting to sell their apartments may find that their prospective purchasers are encountering difficulty in obtaining a mortgage if their property is not approved by or eligible for sale to Fannie Mae. When these unit owners have difficulty selling their apartments, they turn to the Board who then in turn find they must obtain a crash course in the Fannie Mae guidelines. These guidelines are published in Fannie Mae’s “Selling Guide” which is prepared for Lenders. To understand why these issues have arisen, it is important to understand that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac originate 90% of the end loans obtained by unit owners. Freddie Mac’s guidelines are more difficult to meet, however, Fannie Mae buys substantially more loans. Therefore, Fannie Mae has become the traditional association that most properties need to be concerned with. The key to success is an investment in understanding and communication to assure that your Board does not receive the worry that the property is not Fannie Mae qualified and an important mortgage commitment or prospective sale is about to be lost. Our staff is well-versed with the requirements and is available to work with you to avoid qualification issues in advance. The Fannie Mae Selling Guide provides details for some common eligibility requirements. Remember that a property’s qualification will rely on the building’s eligibility. Eligibility is not on a unit-by-unit basis. Common eligibility requirements and issues for Cooperatives include: 51% of the units must be first or second homes. 90% of the units must already have been sold to purchasers, unless the property is in the initial “sell out” period. Control of the Board has been turned over to unit owners. For new projects, a Certificate of Occupancy must have been issued. The property’s Operating Budget must be adequate. If the property has not done a study of the useful life of building components, 10% of revenue in the budget must go to reserves. The budget must include a provision for all insurance deductibles. No more than 15% of units can be more than 30 days in arrears. Other than the initial marketing period, no one can own more than 10%. If professional management is in place, any cancellation clause for the management contract must be ninety days or less. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Approved Condominium List can be found at: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm
    Most of our staff has worked for accounting firms that do the same old thing- meet deadlines with the basics, whether it’s a Tax Return or a Financial Report. They come to Czarnowski & Beer LLP looking for challenge and to do more than the monotonous humdrum filings. They are called non-traditional for a reason and that is why our Firm’s culture embraces them. There are those special reports, such as Independent Annual Meeting Election Results, to verify the costs of a special project: What was the payback period for the investment in energy efficiency that the Board has made?; What did the Developer promise but not deliver in the Offering plan?; Is the allocation of common charges to commercial versus residential units appropriate?; etc. Many competitors will wave “no thank you” when asked to accomplish these non-traditional engagements because these engagements are out of the ordinary, and thus tend to be less profitable. However, Czarnowski & Beer LLP is a large firm in its niche that has the resources to evaluate these special requests or situations, organize and mobilize the staffing required to accomplish them, and the presence to report the results, in person, to the unit owners. Reputation is not all that’s needed here but rather a Firm culture for excellence in every procedure we perform, a confidence to handle special situations that others tend to shy away from, and the meeting presence to enlist confidence in the special report with the population. Czarnowski & Beer LLP strives to excel where other firms introvert and withdraw. Speak to us and evaluate the difference!
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