When you work effectively with any supplier, consultant or service provider you naturally get more ‘bang’ for your buck. Your accountant is no different. With our decades of experience, we’ve seen it all. Yes, even the good old fashioned ‘show box’. As qualified accountants, we can value-add beyond preparing tax returns and accounting statements if we are able to focus on what is important. Here are our tips to helping you optimise your accountant’s value and work well with them. Many of these principles also apply to working with your bookkeeper.
Disclose goals and expectations before you start
People select an accountant for numerous reasons. We may have come highly recommended by an associate, or perhaps we simply have our office nearby. Regardless of your reason; be clear and honest upfront what your expectations are. Do you seek a basic service with bare minimum statutory requirements done? Would you like the full service, where you utilise all our skills and expertise? Do you have aspirations and goals for growth, expansion or advancement? Discussing what you need from us helps us to deliver the service you want. Alternatively, if you’re talking to a firm who cannot (or will not) meet those needs, then far better to know before you start. We offer a flexible service suitable for a range of individuals, investors and businesses. If having an accountant who can help you with KPIs, budgets or financial analysis is important, then ensure the firm you have selected can help you with this. At One Minute Tax, we have a range of services available – it’s purely a matter of talking with us.
Don’t hide the puzzle pieces
When you keep us in the loop and provide all documentation, we then don’t have to search high and low (and eventually request) documentation from you. Like any good practice, we give you a list of what we need at year end. This helps our clients to remember everything. Once you’ve worked with your accountant awhile, it’s easy to set up systems to have everything ready and easy. Many of our clients have a folder on their computer called something like “Tax Docs for Accountant 2019” and simply file everything there. Whilst we can auto-fill items such as bank interest income, some other things we will require. Don’t hide bits of the puzzle. Allow us, instead, to focus on getting the job done and potentially working to improve your tax position, tax advice and ensuring you’re in the best structure.
Get the bookwork right
A part of what we do relies on the information we’ve been given. If your business bookkeeping is seriously flawed, then we will see that and fix it, but now we’re spending time bookkeeping, rather than focussing on your tax and finances. For this reason, we strongly encourage our tax clients to use our bookkeeping services because then we know it’s right and done in the right way – first time. Errors, mistakes and omissions make your decision making harder. Your BASes may have been wrong, so we may have to correct these. Good bookwork is critical.
Technology will not only make your accountant’s life easier, it will certainly help you improve your business. Talk to your accountant about options, accounting software, such as Xero or MYOB and extras such as ReceiptBank. These options work exceedingly well for many reasons; so make the most of what technology has to offer.
Talk to us first
When it comes to big decisions it’s best to have a discussion with your trusted accountant first. Once you’ve purchased a business vehicle under a certain type of finance, we can’t change it because the other option would have been better for your particular tax or BAS situation. Financiers are rarely qualified accountants, usually do not know your particular circumstances or financial goals – so are not able to give you the best advice. Whilst a Chattel Mortgage may be better for one person, a lease may be better for another. Every situation is different, so if you’re considering a big buy, give us a call. The same related to buying to selling of large assets; timing can be everything in some instances. We’re here to help you make the right decisions; far better than trying to rectify or problem-solve a big mistake.
Some accountants are ‘miracle workers’ but why test the theory?
Whilst some people function well on a tight deadline, it’s best you don’t leave your deadlines until the last moment. At One Minute Tax, we make every client feel like our only one; reality is that we have many clients. Should everyone leave their tax till the first week of May, then deadlines may get missed. Our team do great work, but expecting someone to ‘burn the midnight oil’ means that things may be overlooked due to sleep-deprived workers. If we need some additional information from you – then your deadline will be missed. Instead, finish your financial year, get the bookkeeping done in July and start sending documents to us in August or September. We can schedule in the work, give it our full and fresh best endeavours and give you the service you deserve.
Have open and timely responses
We have clients coming to us who complained their last accountant didn’t provide timely responses (phone or email) and so we pride ourselves on being efficient and effective with prompt responses. However, it’s important too that you, as a client, do the same. Sometimes our questions are just a quick answer, or we just need a quick signature, but until we get that, we are at a standstill often with your file. Naturally, we progress when we can, but sometimes it’s just that last bit of information or item that we need. By providing quick and timely responses to us we are able to give you prompt and effective service. As always, if you’re unsure of what your accountant is asking you – then ask them to explain what they mean. We know some accountants talk ‘accountant’ so it’s important for you to speak up and ask them to clarify.
Monitor your Progress
It’s great to involve your accountant in how your business or investments are faring – particularly business. If you include your accountant in a regular review, then they are in the loop of your goals and objectives and can even act as a business mentor for you in giving advice and tips around business. Big businesses have monthly board meetings – why not a small business? Make it a habit to review your figures no less than monthly and at least quarterly have a ‘board meeting’ where you consider your situation, how things are progressing and discuss your plans for the upcoming quarter. Just as tax planning is important, so is ongoing review and monitoring. Your accountant can assist with forecasting, budgets, margin reviews and more; make the most of their skills and expertise in order to grow and improve your business.
With all the above tips, we hope you’ve picked up some ideas to help you work better with your accountant. Our objective is always to provide the best service possible and help and guide our clients to maximise our services. We care about our clients’ businesses, investments and career objectives. Whilst we work with figures, our clients are not just numbers to us. Help us to help you make the most of your accounting and taxation services – simply give us a call on 03 8899 7506 and discuss your needs with us.