When starting your company, the last thing you want to do is spend unnecessary money. Thanks to money constraints, many tradies and startup owners often view accountants as an expensive luxury, believing instead that they themselves have the knowledge to fill out and file the necessary paperwork.
However, not hiring a business accountant can often be an expensive mistake.
A good accountant offers much more than filling out and filing forms; they can provide expert advice and information, help you to grow your business, prevent you from running foul of the ATO, and save you thousands of dollars in taxes.
An accountant can bring a range of benefits to any startup. There are the obvious ones such as navigating the mountains of paperwork and cutting through the red tape new businesses are faced with, but this isn’t all. A good accountant should do more than just balance the books.
Here are a few of the benefits you and your business will reap:
You’re not an accountant. As a business owner, your time is your money. Hiring an accountant buys you time to focus on your business. A useful rule of thumb is to compare your hourly rate to the cost of an accountant. If you charge $100 per hour, and your accountant charges a flat fee of $100 per month, that is $100 well spent because it’s unlikely that you can complete your monthly accounting chores in a single hour.
With business accounting, there are lots of deadlines to keep track of, on top of your client deadlines. If you don’t keep track of those dates, the ATO will charge you fines and penalties.
Can you afford all of that time and the penalties and fines if you miss a deadline? If the answer is no, a business accountant is a legitimate business expense.
The Australian tax law is not set up to benefit individuals; it’s set up to benefit businesses because businesses are job creators. The tax law is also quite complicated. So while you have created a business entity, you will not reap the tax benefits unless you understand it.
The tax law also changes often so even if you understand something now, in a year, the law may be different. Your accountant knows taxation, stays up-to-date with the changes and will ensure that you are maximising the benefits.
It’s difficult enough keeping track of personal expenses. Throw a business into the mix, and it gets even harder.
Your accountant can help you monitor your expenses and help you keep personal and business expenses separate. The ATO does not look kindly on business owners who mix the two. Doing so may trigger an audit, and the burden of proof is on you to show the questionable expenses were indeed business related.
Growing the business is the priority for all business owners. Your business is your baby, and that can affect your objectivity. Your accountant will take a dispassionate view of your business and can give you objective advice on the best ways to grow it.
As you may have already deduced, hiring an accountant is a wise business decision. But how do you find a qualified one?
Personal recommendations will be the best place to start. If you are a member of any professional organisation, ask fellow members if they can refer you to a good business accountant. They will be familiar with the accounting needs of fellow freelancers and small business owners.
Once you have a few leads, it’s time to do some research.
You wouldn’t trust your health to an unqualified doctor, so don’t trust your business to an unqualified accountant.
Make sure your accountant is qualified through one of the main accountancy bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants and
the CPA Australia. Also, double check that the accountant has sufficient cover for those times they are unavailable, and that you have access to specialist advisors.
A good business accountant is a partner; they support you and your business all year long, not just at tax time. Things change fast when you own a small business, so partnering with a proactive accountant is the only way to make sure that you are taking advantage of all possible tax savings.
You will have a lot of questions when starting your business and you can ill afford any fee surprises from your accountant. A fixed fee arrangement will ensure that you don’t receive a ten page itemised bill. Be sure to understand which services are available and which are not under this arrangement.
As a tradie or a small business owner, you may be comfortable conducting a lot of business online, and there are accounting firms that offer online services only. However, that’s not the best approach for hiring an accountant.
You want to build a relationship with your accountant, so they understand the specific needs of your business. Because the relationship will be a close one, make sure you choose an accountant with whom you get along well with. You will be working closely together so you want to hire someone you can trust and are comfortable with.
Whether you are on the brink of entering the business world, are newly incorporated, or have been running your business for some time, an accountant is a good investment.The earlier you partner with a good accountant, the better for you and your business. Talk to us. We’re only a phone call away.
Highly recommended. Mert is personable and trustworthy, experienced with entrepreneurs.
I’ve decided to make Nobel Thomas my regular accountant as I am now setting up a trust for my business. I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a quality inner city accountant.
The team at Nobel Thomas offer consistent and timely advice for both my personal and business accounting needs. Could not recommend them more highly!
I have been with Mert and the team at Nobel Thomas for a few years now and have never been anything less than impressed with their prompt and high quality service and professionalism.