Twenty years in the accounting industry

Earlier this month, I celebrated a very BIG milestone… 20 years in the accounting industry! So much has changed in 20 years, not just within the industry, but in my career and personal life. I can still remember applying for jobs and having to scour the Saturday career section in the newspaper and posting applications by mail! When I finally got an interview and subsequently got the contract in the mail when I was successful, I couldn’t believe it!

My first job was with a city-based accounting firm that was willing to take a chance on a (very) raw 18 year old, who had no accounting experience and only 1 year of university under her belt. I am sure that my trainer was very excited the day I finally got my debits and credits around the right way!!! I got some amazing experience in this firm, especially in share investments (detailing dividends and share transactions for some clients with large share portfolios, as well as dealing with various capital gains tax implications). I think this is where my love of self-managed super came from, as most SMSFs have share investments and I still enjoy researching investment transactions that happen during the year (especially when a client cannot find all the information for capital gains tax purposes, whether it be DRP, bonus issues, etc).

When I first began in the industry, we had to call the Australian Taxation Office whenever there was a question or we needed information. Over the years, the ATO have gone online with the Tax Agent Portal, and more recently Online Services. Online Services has really revolutionised our dealings with the ATO, as most of our dealings are now done online (ie, we can set up payment plans, get account information, past tax returns, etc). It is very rare to call the ATO anymore, though there are instances where it is still necessary.

Over the past 20 years, we have seen a major overhaul within the superannuation industry (twice!). Firstly in 2007 when preservation and pension laws changed and again in 2017 when limits were introduced to cap the amount a person could have in pension phase, as well as introducing new limits to contributions. There have been so many changes, it is difficult to remember and include them all. However, the most prevalent change has been the access to information that the ATO has been able to acquire over the years. They now know most things on each taxpayer, including what they have received through a merchant facility, investments sold during the year, etc. Accounting software has also changed through the years. MYOB used to be the software of choice, however in recent years, we have seen a shift to cloud-based software, such as Xero, rather than clunky desktop software.

In 2008 I was fortunate enough to purchase a share in an accountancy practice. Little did I know that I would meet my future husband a few months later and we would marry in 2011 (another BIG milestone coming up!) and have our first child in 2012. Following her arrival, I sold my share of the business, but continued to work as an employee until our second child arrived in late 2014. In January 2015, Heath Accounting Solutions was born! The business has grown over the years, and in 2019, I was able to purchase and merge an accountancy business in Dayboro. In March last year we welcomed baby 3 to the family.

I have been so fortunate to have met and helped so many wonderful people and businesses over the past 20 years. I am thankful for the great friendships I have made with others in the industry, many of whom I still collaborate with when there is a particularly difficult question that I can’t answer (a great asset for a sole practitioner!).

So here’s to 2021 and beyond… I am really looking forward to see how tax and business will continue to change over the next 20 years!