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5 Questions you should be asking your accountant
Many people nowadays are relying on free or inexpensive online small-business accounting tools instead of investing the services of a trained professional accountant. A qualified, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant can tip you off to potentially irreversible financial missteps and brand new tax savings opportunities that you might not know to exist.
When you do invest in the services of a reputable accountant, it’s important to know what to ask and when — not only to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth but also to ensure he or she helps you do what’s best for your business and growth of your business.
It is critically important to keep the lines of communication open so you, as a business owner, can contact your accountant without worrying about how much you might get charged for the privilege.
Q1: Can you provide me with a fixed fee for the work you’ll do for us?
Almost always, clients who speak to their accountant several times a week have that arrangement in place in the form of a fixed price agreement. When the barrier of ‘what might this cost?’ is taken away, you are much more likely to call and talk with your accountant before you make an important decision.
From experience, we’ve seen that clients who regularly communicate with their accountants tend to be more successful than business owners who communicate with their accountants sporadically, or only when required.
Q2: Which documents do I need for my tax returns?
Ask this question before your appointment so you don’t show up without the essentials.
Your accountant can tell you which income and expenses receipts you need to get for your tax. Be sure to keep the receipts for all work and business related works to get relevant tax deductions. Ask your accountant which receipts you need to get.
Q3: How is my cash flow?
One of the key financial areas, and pressure points, for many small business owners, is their cash flow. Understanding what is coming in and what is going out, is key to your long-term growth.
An accountant can help look at your books and determine how healthy your cash flow is, and if there are any ways to improve. Your accountant can also help troubleshoot any issues or deal with unpaid invoices.
Q4: How can I prepare now for the next tax season?
Accountants know tax and they can help ensure your business is compliant and aware of any relevant tax laws. Ask them about the rules and regulations you should be aware of, which may include GST and BAS. Discuss potential tax deductions and if you have staff, the legislation surrounding payroll. It can be hard to navigate through all the government requirements – this is where the guidance of an accountant is priceless.
Your accountant is also the person you should ask about lowering your future tax bills. Surely there are more important things you can do with some extra money.
Q5: Are there any new tax credits and deductions that apply to me or my business?
Rules governing individual taxes and business-related taxes change every year, which makes it worth asking your accountant if any new deductions or tax credits apply to you. If your financial situation has changed (getting married, starting a business or buying a house) you may be eligible for certain deductions and tax credits that weren’t previously applicable. There may be a bunch of new deductions and credits that apply to the new you so be sure to look to your accountant on this one.
Check out another recent blog in this category.
Have any questions not on our list?