Business News of Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Source: Oral Ofori
Title: Africans in and out of diaspora asked to take taxation seriously
Nana Osei Amoh, CEO of Auxano Limited Liability Company (LLC), a budding financial firm in Virginia USA has taken advantage of the tax season in 2013 to call on his fellow Ghanaians and Africans all over the USA and those living on the continent to take their financial issues very seriously and pay careful attention to taxation. This is because finances are an integral part of everyday living and when we become capable of managing them properly, a window of opportunity is opened into a much brighter life.
Auxano LLC was started not just as a tax firm but also an accounting and bookkeeping firm at the beginning of 2012 with an intent to improve upon the quality of services provided by tax preparation firms after the CEO noticed the reduction in the quality of such service in his immediate environment. 'The tax preparation business for most firms has been just preparing tax returns for their clients and the next time they have contact with them again is a year later. At Auxano LLC however, we pride ourselves in building a long lasting relationship with our clients by not just seeing them once a year but throughout the year, where we offer tax guidance and advice that lead to the maximization of wealth' Mr. Amoh says to support the reason behind his young firm.
Before starting this firm, Nana worked and still works for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), the third largest Federal Government contractor in the USA as an accountant. Working on this job gave rise to the idea of starting his own firm but the greatest motivation and inspiration for him has been the general overseer of his church; Dr. Mensa Otabil who heads The International Central Gospel Church headquartered in Ghana, and Pastor Dr. Sadick Arthur; the Pastor of the local assembly where he worships in Virginia USA. 'It was while listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Mensa Otabil titled 'Dominion Mandate' where it was preached that "God puts us here on earth with a mandate to being fruitful and productive", that initiated the whole process of owning and starting a business.
Starting a business always comes with the associated difficulty and for Nana, the most prevalent difficulty faced in his business is getting his clients to understand how the taxation system works in the United States. There is the notion that whenever you file taxes you must get whatever amount you have paid in taxes from the beginning of the year back, this unfortunately does not always hold true, however people have been made to believe this and will want to do whatever it takes to get money back even if it means cheating or lying during tax preparations. The challenge therefore is to educate clients with this preconceived notion that they have a misconceived perception.
Another challenge according to the US based Ghanaian financial entrepreneur is attracting new clients. Once a person is able to surmount these hurdles, all they need is a strong passion from within to motivate them and for him, accounting has always been in his blood. Nana's father was a Chartered Accountant, and as early as age 18, he was working in various accounting firms and gathering the needed exposure and experience. 'The desire, passion and interest to know more about accounting has always spurred me on. Furthermore, my solid educational background has prepared me very well for this. The most current training I have had was with the H&R Block (2012) the most known tax preparation business in the US and some training courses with the IRS on tax law updates among others' he points out.
Mr. Amoh is currently a CPA Candidate also with a Master of Arts in Industrial and Labor Relations with concentration on Human Resource Management, from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the USA (2005). He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations on accounting and finance from the University of Ghana, where he completed studies in 2000 in Legon, Accra.
When I asked why the people of a country should take the tax season serious, Nana says it is because every citizen must appreciate the fact that taxation is the backbone of their nation's economy and paying taxes is an obligation of a people to their country. Without taxation an economy will be on the verge of falling apart, which is why over the past 4-6 years the battle in the US congress has for the most part centered on taxes. This is also why when the people of Ghana recently went to the polls to elect a new president, almost every electorate was heavily concentrating on who possessed the most potential to improve upon the state of the economy. Without taxation, the people of a nation will not be able to enjoy quality infrastructure, public goods and services and other amenities taken for granted on a daily basis.
'I believe everyone in the USA and other developed countries where tax returns are filed yearly should file their taxes religiously and do so in a timely fashion. I will encourage citizens of the less developed countries to also see the payment of taxes as a necessary obligation that has a long reaching benefit to their posterity.' On the flip side also, Nana continues to explain that 'it is very important that we take the tax season serious because the IRS being one of the most powerful government institutions around has the power and authority to levy certain penalties and restrictions on people should they fail to file their taxes, pay them or do due diligence where mandated by law'.
What therefore is the biggest issue(s) facing African Immigrants in the battle of tax preparation? Answer: Education and embracing diversity. Some Africans living in the diaspora, and in this case a lot, fail to recognize that the US tax code and that of other advanced and highly developed countries are very complicated, and they keep changing all the time. 'We fail to consistently educate ourselves on an going basis and this hampers our ability to maximize the most gains out of taxation' says Nana. The need for Africans living outside their home countries and contributing to the economies of wherever they find themselves to strife to understand taxation is very important, just as the need to making stronger efforts to assimilating very well in a country as well as embracing the different cultures presented them will go a long way to alleviate setbacks faced by people trying to build successful lives for themselves outside their home countries.
The future looks bright for this young Ghanaian financial expert who says his aspirations is to keep expanding his business to serve clients in all areas of their financial lives and not just limiting himself with taxes. Taxes are just a part of having a sound financial base or portfolio. 'In the next few years we want to see our clients flourishing in all areas of their finances'. Auxano LLC intends to introduce other services that will benefit clients in the USA and reach out internationally by advising those living in Ghana, other parts of Africa or the world on whatever they need to know to make sound financial judgements and investments.
PS: Another tax related piece from the archives: http://www.oralofori.com/2012/02/free-resources-for-filing-your-tax.html