Find An Accountant

The services of a good accountant can be invaluable.  They will help you navigate the maze of tax laws and provide the financial advice you need to manage and grow your business.A good accountant will also take into account where your business is going and what entity would best grow with your needs.  An accountant can help you decide whether to buy or lease your premises or vehicle, how to best provide stock options and other incentives for your employees, and a plethora of other issues than can affect your business.There are two main types of accountants in Australia: Chartered Accountants and Certified Practicing Accountants.  They are both university-qualified, but belong to different accounting bodies.  They are both required to undertake study and pass further exams to be accepted for registration with those bodies. If their accountant contacts them throughout the year, not just at tax time, with proactive advice and recommendations they may be a good choice.  Get real value from an accounting firm with a forward-thinking attitude and a relationship that you can rely on.

When should I engage my accountant?

Accountants help you set up your business in such a way that if you make money, you can minimise taxes.  Their initial job should be to select a business entity that will legally reduce the tax you have to pay, and limit your exposure to litigation. It is essential that you engage an accountant before you start your business.  Do not try to save on outlays here even if you are short of money.  A good accountant is well worth the fees.

Managing your accountant

There are many deadlines that accountants must comply with.  Keep in mind that you should try to give your accountant information as early as possible.  Giving information to your accountant at the last minute can mean that you are fined because tax deadlines could not be complied with.  Or you might receive a hefty invoice from your accountant because of the late nights they had to put in to ensure you were compliant. Develop a picture of your needs to ensure that your accountant cannot only meet those needs, but also expected, and unexpected, future needs.  Accountants with only one piece of your financial picture will not be able to give you the best advice. As a business grows, accounting work such as routine bookkeeping can be done in-house by employees to save money.  This means your accountant will eventually just do the accounting work and you will have a bookkeeper doing the day-to-day work.

How can I tell if an accountant will suit my business?

Be sure that you feel comfortable with the accountant, because this is a long-term relationship.  The accountant should be able to understand you and your problems.  Most importantly, your accountant needs to understand your business and where you want to take it. Accountants provide many varied services and you need to decide what services you require before appointing them.  If you just want a firm to prepare a tax return and year-end financial statements then you probably do not need a large firm, and you certainly do not need a tax specialist.  But if you need tax and financial planning advice, look for somebody who is a specialist in their field. Think about whether you need an employee benefit plan designed, computer system installation and support, and advice on changing your operations for maximum efficiency and tax advantage.  All of these factors should be considered when appointing your accountant. Once a business is operational, an accountant is still needed to prepare annual information returns, do quarterly reviews and offer advice.  A good accountant can also take on the role of a general business consultant, help with cash flow problems, internal controls and finance. Ensure your accountant is available at short notice or responds to your call quickly as there may be occasions when you need urgent advice.

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