Tips on How to Find a Tax Advisor That Ticks All of the Boxes

If you’re reading this then it’s likely that you’ve never had dealings with an accountant or tax advisor before. However, it’s good that you’re here because it shows that you have an interest in hiring a professional to assist you with the more complicated, tax-related dealings that can be terribly overwhelming for the inexperienced. That being said; how can you differentiate the professionals from the cowboys? Anyone can claim to be an accountant or a professional tax advisor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are either qualified or able.

Don’t worry though, we’re here to guide you so that you can make a well-informed decision for yourself. Accepting the assistance of a tax advisor is a big step, – one that can be of huge benefit to you when done correctly. Sharing your sensitive information with someone else requires a great deal of trust, particularly when it comes to your finances. This is why trust is important above all else when it comes to the client/tax advisor relationship.

What Should You Look for in a Tax Advisor?

  • When it comes to tax advice, you will need to double check with your prospective tax advisor that they have the relevant expertise that you are looking for. Perhaps ask about current or previous clients and any experience that they might have.
  • Aim to work with a business of a similar size to your own as they will have first-hand experience of the challenges that you face. That being said; you should not write larger firms off – They will have a wealth of representatives who will have the relevant experience, in which case you should find out exactly who would be taking care of your account.
  • Would you prefer to work with someone who has experience in dealing with other clients in your industry? Understand that this isn’t an essentiality. It certainly helps to have experience in your industry, though if they have been in the game for a long time, their knowledge of other industries will certainly be helpful. Weigh up the pros and cons.
  • Do you want your accountant or tax advisor to handle everything for you? Some companies only specialise in certain areas, which means that if you require additional services, you might have to look elsewhere. Be realistic about your needs both now, and in the future.
  • Are you familiar with them? What is their reputation like? When it comes to finding out about a prospective accountant or tax advisor, ask around with friends, family and associates to see if you know anyone who has had previous dealings with them. Everyone will claim to be the best in the business, but that doesn’t necessarily make it so.
  • You must ensure that they have all of the relevant licensing and qualifications required to offer you sound and well-informed advice. Don’t be afraid to ask to see their certification, it’s a perfectly acceptable expectation. Of course, if you’re uncertain as to what you should look out for then you should pay a visit to the AASB (Australian Accounting Standards Board) website.
  • How will they keep you informed and up to date? You should aim to work with a company that has embraced current technology and is not only willing to see you face to face as often as you require; but has the means to keep you updated via different avenues.

Make Contact with Your Prospective Tax Advisors

Getting in contact with a number of short-listed candidates is a great way for you to establish an initial relationship. This will help you to get an idea as to what it would be like if you were to partner with them. How well do they communicate with you? How enthusiastic are they when the handle your query and answer your questions? Did they have many questions for you? This may seem a little trivial for an initial verbal contact, though it says a lot about the sort of company/tax advisor that you are dealing with. Simply put, you should never settle for anything less than what you deserve, – which of course, is the very best.

Feeling overwhelmed by it all? If you have any further questions or if you would like to explore our services, – please feel free to get in contact with us today. We’ll be more than happy to advise you in any way that we can.

How Much is an Accountant for Self-Employed People? Here are 10 Reasons Why It’s Worth Every Penny

One of the most frequently asked questions by self-employed people is: “How much does an accountant cost?” And of course, that’s a fair enough question to ask, – it’s important to know exactly how much something is going to cost you before making any commitments. That being said, it is also important to learn how much money an accountant can save you as well.

A troublesome and common misconception is that accountants “cost you”. Certainly, in the beginning you aren’t going to see an instant return on your investment; however, with the right approach, some hard work and careful consideration, an accountant can take your business to new heights.

Now, before going on any further we will answer your question and share our fees below. This will give you an indication as to where you stand as a self-employed individual seeking professional accounting assistance in Sydney.

Business Activity statements from $200

Income tax returns: from $300 for a sole trader, from $500 for a company or trust, from $1000 for an SMSF.

Now that we’ve established our prices, its our job to justify to you, why it’s worth every penny. Below you will find 10 reasons why we believe this to be the case:

1 – No More Stress

Life is busy and stressful enough as it is without having to sift through piles of paperwork and receipts and make zero mistakes. Tax and accounting are time-consuming and complicated processes that are best delegated to the professionals. If you work with a reputable and reliable company, you will be able to relax in the knowledge that everything is in hand.

2 – Time is Money!

As cliché as it might be, time is money. There is nothing more valuable (or finite) in life than our time. Do you really want to spend hours going through your books and trying to stay up-to-date with current tax legislation and its requirements? Let the professionals handle the nitty-gritty and you can focus your valuable time either making more money, or with your friends and family.

3 – They Know More Than You

Do you know of any legal loopholes that can save you vast amounts of money? If you did, you wouldn’t be reading this. The benefit of working with a high-class accountant is that they will be able to offer you plenty of sound, well-informed and perfectly legal financial advice to help save you money.

4 – They Can Spot Deductions Where You Might Miss Them

Tax and accounting is a very complicated business and many people miss out on a number of savings that can be made. A decent accountant will be happy and willing to look back over your books and spot any potential deductions that you might have missed. That was you’ll be able to keep an eye out in the future and get your moneys worth the next time-round!

5 – Plan for Your Future

An accountant will want to know what your plans and aspirations are both for your business and for yourself. What are your financial goals? Do you know exactly what you need to do in order to get to where you want to be? An accountant will have the expertise and the know-how to help you achieve those financial goals.

6 – Help You Get Everything in Order

You might be up to date with your books, or you may have left everything for too long and have only just decided to get your act together. Whatever the case, an accountant will be able to help you get back on top of everything and have your books in order so that you will not come into any trouble down the line. Get it done right!

7 – You’ll Never Miss Another Deadline

Again, life is stressful and there’s an awful lot to remember. Add being self-employed into the mix and you end up with yet even more tasks to stay on top of. The beauty of working closely with an accountant is that you’ll never miss another deadline again!

8 – Pay Exactly What You Owe

It’s always nice having a large tax-rebate, but that money could have been generating interest for you instead. Hire an accountant and they will be able to ensure that you pay exactly what you owe when it comes to tax, so that your hard-earned money can continue working for you!

9 – They Will Advise You on the Best Practices

As a business owner you should want to carry out the very best practices in everything that you do. A trusted and reputable accountant will advise you accordingly and ensure that you are running your business by the books. It’s easy to grow complacent and to start making silly mistakes, but with someone watching your back, you’ll have nothing to worry about. (The last thing you need is accidental criminality)

10 – You Won’t Necessarily Need Them all of the Time

Some people worry that they will be bound to spend out monthly fees indefinitely, even when they don’t need their accountants’ services. You are not bound forever. You just need to figure out how much help you need and how regularly you’d like that assistance. Iron that out with your accountant and they will tailor the most suitable possible package for you and your business.

Summary

Of course, there is going to be an element of bias in this post. An accountancy blog writing about how hiring an accountant is worth every penny. We appreciate how that might come across, but like it or not, the facts are there. When done correctly, an accountant truly can help you get the most out of your business, save you money on your taxes and free up more time for you to focus on growing your business.

If that is something you would like to explore further, then please feel free to get in contact with us today. We’re always happy to help!

10 Top Tips on How to Choose an Accountant

Hiring an accountant is one of the smartest moves a small business owner can make. Understandably, many people try to avoid it for as long as possible as they would like to save as much money as possible, where possible. That being said; you’d be surprised by how much an exceptional accountant would be able to save you, particularly when it comes to payable tax.

Then again, making the decision to hire an accountant is the easy part. It’s finding the appropriate accountant for you which can prove tricky. In this post we’re going to share with you: 10 top tips on how to choose an accountant. – And not just any accountant; the most suitable accountant for your small business and its tax-related requirements.

 

1 – You should certainly endeavour to settle on an accountant before you start your business, or indeed as soon as possible. This is because they will be able to offer you valuable advice when it comes to start-up costs and registering with the relevant tax authorities and so on.

2 – Don’t be afraid to ask what qualifications and licensing your prospective accountants have. Most people love talking about their achievements and awards, so if an accountant tries to change the subject then that should raise suspicion. If you’re unsure on what to look out for, visit the Australian Accounting Standards Board.

3 – You want to work with an accountant that has experience with dealing with other small businesses like your own. If they have experience in your industry, even better! You need to weigh up the pros and cons of working with a general accounting firm and a specialist, industry dedicated accountant. (A balanced knowledge of other industries can be beneficial as well)

4 – Make sure that you are fully aware of how a prospective accountant will charge you. What are their fees? Are they annual or monthly? Get as much information as you can so that you can budget accordingly and hire the most suitable accountant to suit your requirements.

5 – Don’t settle for the first accountant that you come across. Sure, if they come highly recommended by your associates and you’re entirely happy with everything, however it doesn’t hurt to compare. Short-list a couple of accountants at the very least. You should be able to get a good idea as to what it will be like working with them by your initial contact with a company.

6 – If a smaller accounting firms is more expensive, they tend to have a better understanding of what a small-business needs. Again, it’s about weighing up the pros and cons and trying to get the best possible partnership to suit your style of business.

7 – Be clear on the scope of services that an accountant provides. Also, be realistic about what you are going to need in the future. An accountant might tick all of the boxes now, but if they can’t help you with additional services in the future, then it might be worth looking for a company with a more balanced set of services.

8 – Always try to follow up references where possible. Any decent and reputable accountant worth their salt should have some very satisfied clients who would happily vouch for them.

9 – Communication is the key! Again, your initial contact with an accountant should demonstrate how well they’re able to communicate with you. One of the biggest problems that people face when working with an accountant is poor communication, – both between the client and the accountant; and the accountant and the relevant authorities.  The very best accountants will be up to date with the latest in technology, offering you a number of ways to stay up to date.

10 – Don’t forget that a high-quality accountant will be invaluable in all aspects of your business, – particularly if in the event that you decide to sell you business in the future.

 

Summary

Be realistic, budget accordingly and above all: be honest with yourself. You should give your gut the benefit of the doubt and go with whoever you feel that you have the strongest connection with. Trust is hugely important when it comes to a client/accountant relationship, particularly when you’re sharing sensitive information about your small business.

If you have found this piece particularly useful and would like to explore our services further, please feel free to get in touch with us today. Our team of friendly representatives and advisors will be more than happy to assist you in any way possible.

How to Find the Best Accountant to Help with Your Personal Taxes

If you’re newly self-employed or you’re considering going out on your own, then you’re going to have to handle your income tax. In terms of what you pay, it’s not so dissimilar to that of working for another company, – the only difference is that its your responsibility to take care of it.

This can be an incredibly daunting prospect to many people, particularly if they’ve been employed for their entire working career and have never had to even think about personal tax before. For more people, it’s just a number that is regrettably deducted from their wages at the end of each month. For a self-employed individual, it is something which is going to require your attention.

We cannot stress, how important it is that you take care of your personal tax responsibly and with careful consideration. This doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone though. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all and you’d like some assistance, there are plenty of accountants and firms out there who would gladly oblige. The question is: how to find a good accountant for personal taxes?

Of course, finding a good accountant is easy enough, though you want to find one that you can wholeheartedly rely on. Someone that instils you with confidence; someone that charges you a fair and reasonable rate; and someone that will take your finances seriously.

In this post we’re going to share a few tips on what to look for, so that you can make an informed decision when settling on which accountant to work with. As with anything, when you search for a product or a service on the internet you’ll become inundated with seemingly limitless options; all of which are ‘the very best in the business’.
Well, self-praise is certainly no recommendation. So, rather than take their word for it, have a read through this guide and find all the information you need to deduct your own estimation.

How to Choose the Appropriate Tax Accountant

The most important thing of all when it comes to a professional accounting relationship, is trust. Let’s assume that most accountants and firms are qualified to do a sufficient job with your books. Feeling comfortable in placing that sensitive information in the hands of another however, does not come easily. So, how can you establish that level of trust?

When you’re browsing the internet, you’re going to find an awful lot of companies. You may wish to work with a local firm; you might feel more comfortable with a larger, regional firm; you may even prefer to work with a freelance accountant. In any case, you need to shortlist a few potentials before you even think about making a decision.

Reputation

Reputation is an important thing to look out for when you’re shortlisting candidates. Ask around with friends and family, perhaps put a post out on social media and ask if anyone has had any dealings with ‘such & such’. This is a good way to get a feel for how other people have experienced their services. You’ll likely have heard of a number of your local firms before as well, which is a good start.

Size

Again, you need to decide what size company you’d like to work with. Some larger firms tend may offer cheaper rates, however medium to small sized firms tend to offer a more personalised service. That being said; these are just generalisations. These are the sorts of questions that you should ask in the beginning: Who will be taking care of my account? Will I be passed around between various representatives? If a firm can’t offer you the dedicated service that you’re looking for, search elsewhere.

Other Services

While you’re looking for someone to help with your personal taxes, will you want other services in the future? It’s handy to work with a company who specialise in a particular area, though offer a number of other services. The last thing you want is to rush into working with an accountant and then when needing another service later down the line, you have to start the search all over again because they can’t help you.

Qualifications

If you’re going through a firm you won’t really have to worry about this. Naturally, an established accountancy firm isn’t going to hire unqualified accountants. That being said, if you’re hiring a freelance accountant, make sure that they are able to share their qualifications with you. Most people are more than happy to talk about and show off their own achievements, so if they act coy and try to change the subject or turn you off it, bin them off and look elsewhere. When it comes to your personal taxes, you can’t take any risks by working with someone who is unqualified and unlicensed.

Testimonials / References

Most reputable websites will share a few testimonials from some of their clients. Keep an eye out for websites with testimonials. If you need further convincing, you can always ask if they have any references that they could put you in contact with. Any reputable company worth their salt will have worked with certain happy clients for a number of years who will be willing to vouch for them.

References are always a touchy one as no accountant wants to bother their clients unless they really have to. If they outright refuse to put you in contact with anyone then that should raise some suspicions, though don’t be put off if they try to alleviate your doubt in other ways. However, most people are more than happy to take a quick phone call, particularly if the service they receive is genuinely brilliant.

Go with Your Gut

Of course, don’t just rush in with the first accountant that you come across. Do some digging around, short-list some candidates and look at the facts. Once you’ve established contact with a few of your potential candidates, you’ll get a good feel for who you vibe with the most. Following that, you should be able to make an informed decision. Trust your gut! It will rarely let you down.

If you’re interested in exploring our services further, or if you have any questions for us, – please feel free to get in contact with us today. One of our friendly representatives will be more than happy to assist you with any queries that you have.

What Is the Difference Between Bookkeeping vs Accounting?

Discovering some old books that you should have returned to the school library 15 years ago does not make you a good bookkeeper! Good at keeping books perhaps, but a bookkeeper in the financial sense is something else entirely, – something of which gets mixed up with accounting all of the time. Most people believe that bookkeeping and accounting are one in the same, however, there are some key differences that you should be aware of, particularly as a new business owner.

We’ll begin by breaking down bookkeeping vs accounting in their simplest form for you. Following that, we’re going to explore their features and differences, for your convenience.

What is Bookkeeping?

Simply put: booking keeping is the process of recording all financial transactions related to a business.

What is Accounting?

Accounting is then responsible for taking this financial data, interpreting, classifying, analysing, reporting and finally, summarising this data.

So, while both disciplines are similar, their functions are designated for different outcomes. A skillful bookkeeper’s objective will be to record all of the relevant data accurately and efficiently, laying a strong foundation upon which a skilled accountant can build. A qualified accountant will then be able to gauge the current financial situation of the business and communicate the relevant information to the appropriate authorities – that is the objective.

Decision Making

Bookkeeping records the financial data, that is all. That’s not to take away from a bookkeeper and suggest that hard work and skill is not required, – however, when it comes to decision making, an accountant is required to analyse and process the data. Management will then be able to make critical business decisions based on the accountant’s findings. So, in this light, it is evident that both bookkeeper and accountant are crucial components in a businesses financial functionality.

The Importance of Synchronicity Between Bookkeeping vs Accounting

Many business owners like to handle their own bookkeeping, which is understandable, given that your business is essentially ‘your baby’. You’ve put much hard work into growing it into what it is today, and the thought of inviting an outsider to come and handle your sensitive information can be unsettling.

That being said; if you want to be able to make sound financial decisions based on the data recorded, then you must ensure that you are very efficient when it comes to keeping the books. Synchronicity between bookkeeper and accountant is vital, particularly if you want to get the best possible results.

This is why it is always advised that you hire a bookkeeper and an accountant. You can handle the books yourself, though it requires time and dedication to do so thoroughly and effectively. By outsourcing these tasks to one dedicated firm, they can work closely together without delay. This alleviates the pressure from you, allowing you to focus on other important tasks that deserve your attention.

Simply put, an accountant and bookkeeper working closely together will produce much better results, faster and with excellent efficiency.

The Other Benefits for Passing Your Bookkeeping and Accounting Responsibilities onto the Professionals

Of course, outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting can help you and your business in many different ways. We’ve been through one in the previous section: efficiency. Now, let’s take a quick look at a few other key benefits.

1 – Time Management

Time is without a doubt, your most precious and valuable commodity as a business owner. You’ve got a million and one tasks to carry out on a daily basis and anything that you can do to lighten that load is a bonus. By outsourcing these tasks, you’ll be able to dedicate your precious time to other, profit generating tasks. Then on the flipside, your bookkeeper and accountant will be able to accurately record your financial information and find ways to help streamline your business and its earning potential.

2 – Cost Effective

Time is money, but money is money too, and a qualified bookkeeper and accountant will be crucial in helping you handle yours. Any reputable and reliable accountant will be able to analyse the books and find new and innovative ways for you to save money, cut back in areas and ultimately reduce your overall tax bill at the end of the year.

Many people worry about outsourcing their books and accounting out of fear of spending too much money, yet it should be treated as an investment, rather than expenditure. If your accountant isn’t saving you money, you’ll soon find out and can respond accordingly.

3 – Access to Technology

Any decent accounting firm will have access to the latest in technology. This means that they will be using the very best accounting software which comes with a wealth of benefits at your disposal. If on the accounting, you decided to keep the books yourself and handle all tax-related accounting, you’d be at a disadvantage, having to spend an awful lot more time and effort on doing so.

Summary

In conclusion, we can clearly see that while a bookkeeper and an accountant have similar roles to the untrained eye, there are key and evident distinctions. A bookkeeper makes accurate records of all financial transitions carried out by a business. – When done properly, this lays a strong foundation upon which a trained accountant can build. An accountant will then analyse all of the recorded data and compile reports for management to review. These reports are often accompanied with tips and suggestions on critical decisions that can affect the overall earnings and tax-related savings at the end of the financial year.

Again, when working closely together, a bookkeeper and an accountant can produce some highly beneficial results. If you really want to get the best out of your business, streamline your processes and take your company to greater heights; outsourcing such financial tasks is certainly something worth considering.