Professional Accountants can be critical to the ongoing success of your business. They can provide advice on company structure, financial management and legal tax avoidance. But their fees can be exorbitant!
In some cases, too, their expenses are puzzling; a local business owner recently received an invoice that stated “charge for sending you this invoice $165”.
There are three key areas the business owner can focus on to minimise the cost of their accounting fees; the selection process, the engagement, and the ongoing relationship.
Selecting your accountant
1. Find an accountant who specialises in small businesses. They are going to be in a better position to understand your requirements.
2. Accountants with decades of experience are a great resource, but selecting one too close to retirement may mean you need to go through the process of bringing someone else up to speed with your records and knowledge.
3. Look for an accountant who uses a limited number of accounting software packages. An accountant who specialises in MYOB Accounting software and the integrated package MYOB Accounting Office reduces their processing time significantly and the savings can be passed on to you.
4. Ask the accountant about any complimentary services they offer; newsletters, seminars, initial consultation free or client business.
5. Some accountants have relationships with overseas outsourcing agency and all your records can be sent overseas for processing at reduced costs. Of course you need to be comfortable with this but the savings can make this worth your while.
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Engaging your accountant
6. At the engagement, be very clear on what services you are getting and what you are obligated to pay for. This should be in the engagement letter or information pack that they provide you with. Many small business owners are unaware that the accountant is reliant on you providing them with complete, true and accurate records, and not all accountants review GST processing.
7. Ask the accountant how the accounting fees can be minimised; what responsibilities can you take on yourself? For instance, as a company you can apply for online access to your ASIC information, arrange to get the ASIC invoices sent to your premises and review the company statement on an annual basis.
The ongoing relationship
8. Use the accounting software package your accountant recommends, which would typically be Quicken or MYOB.
9. Ask for a cap on accounting fees.
10. Smile – be pleasant to your accountant and the other staff at the firm. Be an easy client whom they want to work with.
What has been your experience? Have you discovered other strategies that resulted in great advice and low accounting fees that you can share with us?