• Why Ascent Business Directions Inc.?
• What has Ascent achieved?
• New developments
• Where to from here?
The aim of this presentation is to introduce our company, Ascent
Business Directions Inc.,and to explain a little of our history and
our vision for the future.
Ascent Business Directions Inc. is an internationally respected
CPA Accounting firm who specialize in working with Amway IBOs.
Ascent has offices in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and South
Africa and employs approximately 100 expert staff including
Ascent can meet the accounting and taxation needs of all
Amway business owners - from new Distributors to Diamond.
Ascent prepares over 20,000 tax returns annually world wide.
Ascent Business Directions Inc. is committed to helping IBO’s
achieve financial prosperity and is proud of our association with
Background - the need for
• The accounting profession and Amway
• The IRS and Amway
• The mistakes many IBO’s make
• Historical perspective - Ascent’s role
The accounting profession and Amway
Ascent Business Directions knows that Amway IBO’s can build
very successful and profitable businesses. Unfortunately, many
other professional advisors are either ignorant of, or
inexperienced with the application of the Tax Laws to IBO’s. As a
result, many IBO’s (who are not with Ascent) aren’t getting the
information or advice necessary for them to meet their
obligations or maximize their taxation position.
Perhaps even more importantly, many CPAs are actually
negative toward the Amway business opportunity. This negativity
has resulted in many potential IBO’s being lost to the business
before they even begin.
The IRS and Amway
Developments in the Tax Court and with the approach of the IRS
means that more than ever before IBO’s need access to the
correct information so that they know their rights and obligations
as business owners.
Recent court cases have given the IRS potential ammunition in
their battle to deny IBO’s legitimate deductions.
The mistakes many IBO’s make
Many IBO’s have been given insufficient or inappropriate
advice by professionals who don’t understand the business. The
lack of correct information has meant that many IBO’s have not
kept adequate records, filed incorrect tax returns or have simply
not met their IRS obligations.
The above factors have meant that many IBO’s are being
audited by the IRS. Because of these audits IBO’s often lose their
deductions, have to repay tax refunds and are penalized and
charged interest. A disastrous outcome for any business. IRS
audits have lead many IBO’s to give up the business as a result
of the trauma associated with unfavorable audit outcomes.
Historical perspective - Ascent’s role - what we can offer IBO’s
The aims of Ascent’s service are:
n To provide consistent, correct and professional advice to
n To educate all IBO’s to maximize their taxation position while
meeting all IRS requirements and guidelines.
n To work with all IBO’s to ensure that they are aware of, and
meet their obligations with respect to the IRS and the Tax Laws
n To offer support and encouragement to all IBO’s as they build
n To provide a specifically designed record keeping system so
that IBO’s can quickly and easily complete their bookwork
n To provide expert support and advice during IRS audits
n To prepare the IBO’s tax returns, both State and Federal, with
a view to obtaining the best result for them and maximizing their
n To work with the Diamonds and their lines of sponsorship to
ensure that all IBO’s, even those not directly associated with us,
have access to professionals that know the business and
support the efforts that are being made
What Ascent has
• How and why Ascent began
• Our experience and expertise
• Proven results
• The Ascent system
• How we deliver
How and why Ascent began
The Australian Diamonds asked us to set up Ascent 9 years ago
after Mark Letten's accounting practice had worked with a large
number of IBO’s for the previous 10 years.
The Diamonds felt that IBO’s may not be seen from the Tax
authorities view point to be in a legitimate business. This results in
Tax audits, loss of deductions and then doubts about the business
and its legitimacy.
Ascent was a totally new concept in accounting services. Ascent
staff know the business and are supportive of IBO’s dreams and
Ascent encourage IBO’s to build the business, keep good
records, minimize tax and build wealth.
After the success of Ascent in Australia the Diamonds asked us to
take the business to New Zealand. Jerry Meadows asked us to
take Ascent to his group in the USA 6 years ago.
Our experience and expertise
Ascent is committed to providing our clients with the highest level
of professional service. All our staff are highly trained and have
an expert knowledge of the Amway business. Many of our
senior staff have both national and international business
Chairman, Mark Letten
n CPA (Australia)
n Diploma of Business
n Registered Company Auditor
n Fellow of the Taxation Institute of Australia
Mark Letten commenced his business in 1978 and is the major
shareholder of Accounting Practices in Australia, New Zealand,
USA and South Africa. Mark acts for the majority of the Diamonds
in Australia and New Zealand and has been a key-note speaker
at major Amway functions both in Australia and around the
Mark has successfully represented IBO’s with Amway before the
Australian Taxation Office and has written/presented numerous
publications, tapes, videos and books for Amway IBO’s.
President, Brian Nilsson
nBachelor of Economics
Brian Nilsson was instrumental in establishing Ascent Business
Directions in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Brian has over
15 years experience in public accounting and is a regular
speaker at Amway functions throughout the USA.
Senior Vice President, Joe DePetris Jr.
Joe DePetris Jr. is Tax consultant to the Amway Distributors
Association Board of Directors, Legal and Ethics Committee. Joe
has extensive experience in representing IBO’s during IRS audits
with over over 400 Amway IBO audits, 200 appeals and 10 Tax
Court Cases under his belt.
Joe is the author of “Bookkeeping 101”, a widely read book and
information guide for IBO’s and is a regular speaker at Amway
International business structure
Chicago (USA head office)
Melbourne (Head Office) Johannesburg
n In 1998, Ascent and Amway negotiated a settlement with the
Australian Taxation Office in relation to IBO’s running legitimate
businesses after a two year battle
n Ascent prepares over 20,000 returns annually in the USA,
Australia and New Zealand. We have also recently opened an
office in South Africa to provide the same service there. Ascent
has taught IBO’s the importance of good record keeping and
how to meet taxation requirements
n Maximized legitimate tax deductions for IBO’s
n Conducted training and education programs that teach IBO’s
how to build financial prosperity from their business
n Prepared numerous written publications specifically for IBO’s
explaining how this business fits in the new business environment
n Successfully represented hundreds of IBO’s before the IRS
n Our principals are regular speakers at functions both large and
small in many countries
n Embraced new technology to ensure compatibility with current
and future developments in this field.
The Ascent System
Ascent has tailored its services to meet IBO’s needs. These
n Record keeping system, both manual and computerized.
n Help hotline, 1 800 number
n Quarterly newsletter
n Business Plan preparation service
n Audit assistance
n Preparation of Federal and State tax returns
n Web page training and e-mail access
n Presentation training sessions
n Development of training material on video and disc for
nCustomized software including cashbook, budgeting and
Ascent’s pricing is designed to be flexible and competitive and
can be customized to meet specific IBO’s needs.
n Base price is $295 for basic return including Federal tax return
n Record keeping kit for $95
n State return, $35, additional returns $50 each
n Additional Schedule C $50
n Complicated Schedule D $50
n Schedule E $50 each
n Schedule F $50 each
nMonthly automatic deduction from check account or credit
n10 % discount for payment up front for the estimated fees
How we deliver
Over the years Ascent has perfected a system of operation that
enables us to deliver a cost effective, efficient and professional
tax preparation service for large numbers of IBO’s. We employ
qualified and dedicated staff who not only understand this
business, but also are supportive and encourage IBO’s to
The unit CPA structure for Ascent Business Directions has been in
operation in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for the past 5
years. We developed the system for the following reasons:
n Ascent found that the majority of IBO’s want more than a
‘factory’ tax preparation service. They have many issues in the
area of tax, accounting, record keeping and business operation
that they want to discuss with a CPA on an ongoing basis
n Ascent also learnt early in its development that IBO’s want to
build a relationship with a CPA who knows their business and
personal financial situation. We found before we implemented
this system, lack of continuity of contact with an accountant
was the clients most common concern
n Ascent has found that up to 50% of IBO’s either have another
business (other than Amway, are a professional (Doctor, Dentist,
etc.) or hold a senior management position within a company.
These people need a more sophisticated service than a ‘tax
n In the first 2 years of Ascent’s operation in Australia and New
Zealand contract accountants were used to prepare the tax
returns for IBO’s. This system had a number of shortcomings
because each year training was required to educate new
contractors about the unique aspects of the Amway business.
This was time consuming, unproductive and did not provide
ongoing consistent service for our clients.
The real success of Ascent is the unique system we use to ensure
that each CPA unit is structured to be able to deal with all IBO’s
irrespective of their pin level, or their other outside business or
All members of Ascent Business Directions are full time salaried
employees. We felt this was the only way we could provide a
seamless service to our IBO’s. Of course staff change but it is rare
for the senior members of the CPA unit to leave the employ of
Ascent as they are paid above market rates and participate in
an incentive system which distributes a part of Ascent’s net profit
to all staff members.
How the CPA unit structure operates:
Each CPA Unit is made up of six staff:
n 1 CPA Manager
n 2 Senior CPAs
n 1 second year CPA
n 1 Graduate
n 1 Administration/Bookkeeper
CPA Senior CPA Senior
Second year CPA
Four of the six people in the CPA unit are qualified. The Graduate
is working towards CPA qualification. It is important to have this
mix of experience as this enables us to develop people through
the chain and replicate a unit as the business grows.
A CPA Manager is fixed in his or her position. A CPA Senior would
ultimately be promoted to become a CPA Manager and
promotions would subsequently occur down the line. It is rare for
the Administration/bookkeeper to be promoted outside this role.
The role of each staff member is as follows:
CPA Manager. Deal directly with the higher pin level IBO’s
(Emeralds and Diamonds) plus with the more complex outside
businesses/professionals. They would also manage the unit and
oversee production targets, client liaison and technical issues.
CPA Seniors. Deal with the pin levels of Direct and above plus the
other business interests of the IBO’s, together with the review of
the work of the other CPA unit members.
Second year CPA and Graduate. Responsible for dealing with the
lower pin level IBO’s (under supervision).
Administration/Bookkeeper. They are required to co-ordinate
incoming and out going accounting and tax work, help process
work and generally support the team.
Each CPA Unit is fully computerized, with E-Mail, Fax, Tax and
Accounting Software. Ascent runs a comprehensive staff-training
program in each location to keep staff up to date on all tax and
accounting matters. The CPA Unit is able to handle all issues in
relation to Distributors, including tax audits, incorporation of
companies, filings for State and Federal taxes etc. Each CPA
Unit can handle approximately 1,500 Distributors. This figure will
vary depending on the other businesses that IBO’s may have.
Ascent and Quixtar - new
• Customized Software
• Tax preparation
• Direct’s Wealth Creation Program
Ascent has a number of exciting new projects under
development that will complement the switch to Quixtar.
Customized Software: - Ascent has designed and purpose built
an exclusive, custom-made software program which will help
IBO’s keep accurate records and thus maximize their tax
deductions. The program will be available to all IBO’s, whether or
not they are Ascent subscribers.
The customized software is very simple to use and provides IBO’s
with a complete accounting, budgeting and database program
for their business. To make operating the system as easy as
possible standard Amway business requirements such as income
and expense categories are built in. The program will be a
valuable tool for both Amway or Quixtar businesses.
Web page: - www.ascentbusiness.com. Ascent’s web page is
currently in the final stages of construction. On completion we
will be able to offer subscribers to our service access to on-line:
n Training in record keeping
n Tax tips
n Downloadable newsletters and bulletins
n Downloadable tax forms. For example if an extension is
needed to be filed, the IBO could simply download the form from
our extensive form’s library. At present they would need to
contact their local IRS office
n Audit information
n E mail access
n On line subscription and re-subscription service
n Tax Preparation. Subscribers will be able to check the progress
of their tax return through the web page. They will be notified
electronically when their work is received, who is working on it,
and at what stage is their work
n Any questions can be asked via e-mail
n Forms can be viewed before completion to ensure accuracy
n Information can be rapidly exchanged to speed up work
For non-subscribers Ascent’s web page will provide:
n Basic information about their rights and responsibilities
n Information about Ascent Business Directions
n Basic accounting and bookkeeping information
n Sign-up capabilities
The Direct’s Wealth Creation Program
Successfully launched in Australia at FED ‘98 the Direct’s Wealth
Creation Program is a specialized mentoring and support
program for people at higher levels of the business who wish to
create wealth and financial prosperity. The program will be
launched in New Zealand in October 1999 and then world wide
in 2000. For references on the success of this program we refer
you to the Diamonds in Australia.
Where to from here?
• Ascent and Your Organization
• Ascent’s role
• What does it mean for IBO’s?
Ascent and Your Organization
With the introduction of Quixtar and the continuing need to
ensure that all IBOs meet their taxation obligations, we believe
that the timing is right for a closer association between your
organization and Ascent Business Directions.
We see this association taking the form of a commercial
undertaking whereby Ascent Business Directions becomes the
preferred provider of Accounting and Taxation preparation
services for your organization.
Your Organizations Role
The role of role of your organization falls into four main areas:
n A link would be provided between the web pages of your
organization and Ascent Business Directions
n Ascent would be promoted as the preferred supplier of
accounting and taxation services in catalogues, brochures and
n Ascent would also be able to promote our services at officially
n Customized software to be promoted in your organization
Ascent has the resources, skills and expertise to offer:
n Our full range of services to all IBO’s
n Training and information videos to be available to groups to
help educate all IBO’s
n Expert staff would be available to attend and address major
functions throughout the country
n Access to our web page and associated services and a link
with the Quixtar web page.
n Years of experience working with IBO’s and full professional
What Does This Mean To IBO’S?
The proposed association between your organization and Ascent
would have significant benefits for IBOs. You can be assured that
the IBOs will receive the consistent, professional and expert
advice from a trusted firm with a proven track record in
supporting this industry.
The Next Steps
We propose that in conjunction with the benefits listed above,
you would receive a financial return for their promotion of
If this presentation leads to an expression of interest from your
organization, then further discussions will take place to ensure
mutual satisfaction of both parties.
We appreciate that to formalize this type of arrangement, there
are many more issues that need to be addressed and we see this
presentation as the start of the process.
Ascent Business Directions is committed to the ongoing success
of your organization and we’re looking forward to a closer
working relationship in the future.
• Please contact us for further information
Ascent Business Directions Inc.
1229 N. North Branch 111
Chicago, Illinois, 60622
Telephone: 312 587 8357
Facsimilie: 312 587 1239
Voicemail: 615 664 1031
1926 Hayes Street
Nashville, TN 37203
Telephone: 615 321 7338
Facsimilie: 615 321 3974
Voicemail: 615 31 1718
J.F. DePetris, Jr.
Certified Public Accountant
501 Elm Street, Fourth Floor
Dallas, Texas 75202
Telephone: 214 748 1917
• USA Network View
• Reference from Amway
Ascent Current Server Configuration Chicago
World Wide Web
HP Switch 1 HP Switch 2
ISDN 1 ISDN 2
PictureTel ISDN 3 TRI/BRI
CH_ Mktg_ Hub CH_Sales_Hub
MAIN INTERNET SERVER