The Good, the bad, and the ugly.
Tax accountants come in all forms.
There are those who claim of knowing everything under the sun. There are also those who use technical jargon in everyday conversation – just to let everyone in attendance know that they are in the company of an expert. There is a third category, too, which relies on quick wit to woo their clients.
So which of them deserve to handle your taxes? None, to be precise.
Instead, if you want to choose a good tax accountant, make sure she meets the following criteria. While our checklist isn’t exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination, it has enough information using which you can differentiate a good tax accountant from a wannabe.
Keep the following tips in mind to select the best accountant for your needs:
They should be Recognised by a Respectable Body
According to a report, there are more than 30,000 registered tax accountants in Australia. So chances are that once you go into the market looking for one, you’d end up with all sorts of people. Deciding which one is suitable to manage your tax would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Which is why we recommend that regardless of which your preferred accountant should be recognized by any one of the following three bodies:
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
- Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia
- Institute of Public Accountants
They should have Relevant Experience
In an ideal scenario, you’d need a tax accountant whose previous experience of preparing financial documents and tax returns involved them working with companies in your industry. For instance, if your business relies on cloud-based software, your accountant must be cloud computing savvy.
Even better, if the potential accountant has worked with a business whose size and revenue are similar to yours, as that would make sure that they’d have little trouble in understanding the particular needs of your business.
And how would you know about their previous clients? By being direct.
Ask your potential accountant for a list of their previous clients along with the company’s number of employees and gross revenue. You’d then be able to easily gauge whether or not the person sitting in front of you would be able to handle the requirements of your business.
Ask referrals of business associations and government
According to an estimate, there are over 2million small business in Australia which provides employment to more than 45% of people who work in the private sector. Little wonder, then, that the government takes serious interest in the growth of SMBs.
One way the government helps small business is via its networks of business advisors – whose help you could rely on to choose the right tax accountant for your business. You can also turn to your local commerce of chamber as well as other voluntary organizations for free advice.
Even in cases where they might not be able to help you, this network of business advisors could refer you to other business owners. Repeat this practice a few times, and who knows whether one of the recommendations by your fellow business owners ends up to become your tax accountant.
Check out their online profile
As you might already know, Facebook isn’t the best place to gauge the expertise of any professional. Instead, if you really want to dig a little deeper, check out the LinkedIn profile of the candidate and make sure they fit the following criteria:
- They must have a valuable network of professional accountants.
- Their comments/posts should betray that they are interested in their work.
- They must have received recommendations from previous clients (optional).
Questions To Ask Your Accountant
The abovementioned tips should be enough to help you create a shortlist of potential candidates. Contact each of them, and ask the following questions to select the best accountant for your business.
The area they specialise in?
What are the services that they offer? Do they have any prior experience of dealing with businesses similar to yours? Are they able to help you with the specific needs of your business?
How responsive are they?
In your normal conversation, do they use financial jargon? How responsive are they to your emails and phone calls?
Fees they charge?
Some accountants charge their fees by the hour. Others tell you upfront how much money they’ll charge you for a given project. Choose the latter if you’re a small business owner as the former can get very expensive.
Are they registered?
Since you’re hiring a tax accountant, their name must be in the TPB Register – which contains details of registered BAS agents who are allowed by law to file tax returns on your behalf.
Provided you’ve been able to hire a good tax accountant, the benefits will go beyond filing a return. Since they are well-immersed in their field, a professional accountant will make sure that you avoid missing out on valuable credits and deductions.
Which is the reason why we recommend that you hire the services of Ashok Parekh. Awarded as one of the most popular tax services for 2018, we contain a team of professionals who have a combined experience of over 4 decades in the industry.
Also, in addition to filing your tax returns, we offer other services including bookkeeping, management & financial accounting, asset protection, and cash flows & budgeting. The list of our clients includes esteemed names like the Institute of Public Accountants, National Tax & Accountants Association and the Tax Practitioners Board of Australia.