Home – New Forums Money matters Accountants for startups/eCommerce? Reply To: Accountants for startups/eCommerce?

John Debrincat
  • Total posts: 963
JamesMillar, post: 240039, member: 5318 wrote:
If you define an accountants role as purely “accounting” (as debits and credits) then yes, the process and ledger function is fairly similar across all businesses. However the best accountants are the ones that combine an excellent understanding of core “accounting” together with an excellent understanding of the tax law AND an excellent understanding of the Corporations Act.

Having worked in this industry for a very long time I can say with absolute confidence that a significant percentage of accountants (generally the more conventional ones) don’t have what we would consider an optimal combination of knowledge and experience in these developing sectors to advise effectively. By “advise effectively” I mean mix all of the ingredients into a pot and produce valuable advice that will produce superior tax, financial and commercial results.

For example the difference in the case of our accounting firm is that we have invested several hundred thousand (of our own resources) in ecommerce businesses in the last six years. Our average realised ROI has been multiples of the amounts invested. We have navigated capital raising issues (and shareholder disputes), employee share scheme tax issues (very relevant in tech startups for non cash remuneration), enterprise IOS app development, large scale email marketing issues (a daily deals platform with 50000 subscribers) and a trade sale exit to a foreign software company, For an accounting firm to invest and participate in activities of this type is highly unconventional.

Of course there are other excellent “accountants” out there (some on this forum no doubt) but I would be looking for an X factor that defies convention. Ask them how many businesses their accounting firm has invested in or co-founded in the last five years as part of their core practice. My guess is a big fat zero.
Hi James,

I think that you just stepped from the world of accounting into financial advice and investment. Most (probably all) companies need an accountant but not necessarily financial advice and investment.

It sounds like the services that you are offering are comprehensive and that you have a lot of experience. Yes I do define accountants as providing accountancy services.

A start up business needs to get the basics right and unfortunately that does not always happen. 90% of start-ups fail, generally within 2 years, and it is the basics that they get wrong.

I appreciate that there may be financial practitioners out there with investments in start-up and even co-funded businesses. But I don’t choose my auto mechanic on the number of cars they might own or my doctor on his hospital share portfolio.

Sorry if that comes across as a bit abrupt it is not meant to be personal. I have been working with and mentoring small businesses and startups for a long time and its the business 101 stuff that gets them past the first 2 years.

Luckily we had a great accountant that helped us get past that first two years and now almost 14 years later I am really glad they knew the “debits and credits” and they are still our accountants.