Is your Accountant making or taking your money? Cashed Up Business Q&A pt 2
As we inch closer and closer to the end of the financial year and the conclusion of the tax season, there’ll be conversations around how your business did and how well you did on the tax front. As accountants ourselves, we know that part of the glory and all of the blame rests with us when the final (tax) reveal takes place. If you’ve saved a lot of tax because of the advice you received and the actions you took as a result – happy times. If not, one of two things generally happen. One nothing. Or two, disappointment (perhaps some unkind words but rarely) and then… nothing.
This is not a good outcome for you, the small business owner. It should, all things being equal, start the search for a more invested, proactive accountant to guide you through the fiscal jungle or at least lead to some fairly direct conversations about expectations.
So, to the questions.
Why does my accountant look so calm before hitting “enter” for the last time?
You know that moment when you’ve been sitting with your accountant for quite some time and they are just about to tell you what you owe or what you’ll be getting back from the ATO? You’re excited, perhaps you’re nervous, perhaps you’re feeling physically sick. This could be bad, it could be really, really bad. And yet, there they sit, as cool as a cucumber.
There are two possibilities. One because they know they have done some great work for you and they know you’ll be delighted with the result. If anything, they’re mildly curious about how you’ll spend all that extra money that you thought would be heading the ATO’s way.
Or two, they simply don’t care. Unfortunately, there are those in our industry, and every industry for that matter, who are permanently in “fill and file” mode. This is not great but it gets worse when you realise that someone like that is “taking care” of your small business’s money. The same money with which you promised yourself, you’d make a great life for your family.
How much will a good accountant cost my business?
Nothing. Costs, particular when it comes to tax, can mount up pretty quickly if you don’t have a good accountant. But if you do, you will find that their fees will be dwarfed by the amount you save as result of engaging their services. We’ve said it before but it bears repeating - If your accountant isn't putting $10,000+ a year back in your pocket in tax savings it might be time for a change.
What else should my accountant be doing for me?
Aside from taking care of lodgements there are a number of things your accountant can and should be doing for your business:
Educating you on your numbers and what they mean
Ensuring you only pay your fair share of tax and not a cent more
Insulating you against pressure from the ATO through great advice and even organising payment plans if things become very difficult
These quick examples don’t include the basic goal of helping you build a better, stronger business with which to help you enjoy life with your family.
That’s the key – no question.
If you do have more questions, particularly around assessing the type of service you’ve been getting versus the quality you deserve, please do contact us.