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Modeling Spread Footings for buildings

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I have always modeled spread footings as a fixed support at the level of the natural ground line then designed the footing for the axial load and moment from the columns. Lately I found from a textbook (Seismic Design of RC and Masonry Buildings by Paulay and Priestly), where it says it is better to model it as a hinged support and put Footing Tie Beams to take care of the moments. It also states that the location where the base shear acts, Whether at the base of the footing or at the natural ground line must be established. I have always assumed it to be acting at the natural ground level.
Your comments and opinions will be appreciated. TIA.
Alex C. Nacionales