Welcome to our first blog for the 2020 financial year.
At this time of year, you’re probably starting to look at getting your tax affairs in order – or at least thinking about it! You may also start to wonder if your accountant is the right match for you. This is only natural, after all, your accountant is an essential and integral part of your business. It’s vitally important they are the right fit.
So, we thought that we’d look at what makes a great accountant and how to know if they’re the right choice for you and your business? Making the wrong choice may hinder your growth plan and cost you a lot of money.
What to look for in an accountant
Before moving over to a new accountant, book in a face-to-face meeting and ask some questions to determine their fit in your business. Treat it like a job interview. Both you and your potential accountant need to be in sync, otherwise, you will be less likely to take their advice or make them a trusted advisor in your business. Which they will ultimately become.
Questions to ask
Here are some of the questions that we think you should be asking:
What are your qualifications?
How long have you been in practice?
What kind of clients do you see?
What services do you provide?
Who will look after my business most of the time?
How will your practice help me develop my business?
What has your growth rate been like in the past three years?
What is the basis of how your fees are charged?
Understanding the different qualifications
Your accountant should have an accounting qualification and be a member of an accounting body. The main accounting qualifications in Australia are Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Accountant (CA). The main difference between the two relates to the specialisation. A CA will have very specialist knowledge in a few key areas (generally tax and auditing), whereas a CPA will have a broad knowledge of lots of areas. Which one is right for you, will depend on what you require assistance with in your business.
If you’re looking for an accountant to do your tax return or give tax advice, they need to be a registered tax agent. You can confirm this on the Tax Practitioners Board website. They will also have the registered agent symbol.
If you are looking for an accountant to give financial advice, they need to have a financial services licence. Just a note with this one, there are full and limited licences. So, make sure to ask which licence they have and what it covers.
These days with the advancement in technology, the location of your accountant may not matter. You have Skype, Facetime, email and phone for easy access and communication, along with cloud accounting programs like Xero and MYOB online.
However, if you think that you’ll want someone you can drop in on or want that face to face access, you’ll need to make sure that they are local.
Whilst you shouldn’t base your decision on reviews alone, it’s always a great idea to look at Facebook and Google to get an idea of other people’s experience with your potential accountant. You can also do a little research on LinkedIn. It’s something that we like to do whenever we have a big decision to make.
We want to help you make the right choice, so at Heath Accounting Solutions, we offer a complimentary initial meeting to all potential new business and SMSF trustee clients. At this meeting, we ask you questions about your business and what you want to achieve, as well as what you are looking for in an accountant. This is your opportunity to ask us questions as well.
General Advice Warning – The information in this article is educational and general in nature. It does not take into consideration your personal financial or taxation information, goals and objectives. Please ensure you seek appropriate financial and taxation advice.
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