Help! My tax returns are overdue! What is your turnaround?
First of all: don’t panic. We can help!
While every business is different, generally speaking, we find that it takes approximately 6 weeks to complete your tax return from the time of your initial consultation. Here's an outline of the process:
- Week 1: Initial consultation and review of past tax returns, issuing of ethical documents* to previous accountant
- Week 2: Data collection from you and inputting of data
- Week 3: Receipt of ethical clearance from previous accountant and processing of tax return
- Week 4: Initial Queries to you
- Week 5: Finalisation of Queries and preparation of tax return
- Week 6: Final meetings to discuss tax return, refund or payment options, signing of returns, discussion of future business taxation issues and tax planning.
* As we operate according to the ethical guidelines of Professional Accounting Bodies, we require ethical clearance from your previous accountant if you lodge any type of tax return (other than Individual).
In 99% of cases, your previous Accountant will issue an ethical clearance. The main reason that your previous Accountant may not give ethical clearance is due to any outstanding dispute. We recommend that you deal with any outstanding accounting fees prior to engaging us to be of service, as this will ensure the most rapid and effective response.
How can I keep my accounting fees down?
Successfully running your small business takes more than your hard work and determination – it also takes knowing how to keep your accounting fees down, so that you can keep investing and re-investing in your healthy, successful growth.
In our experience working with numerous clients from a variety of industries/sectors, here are our top 3 tips for keeping your accounting fees down:
Keep your records updated and organized.
Quite simply, it is much less expensive to get administrative or bookkeeping help beforehand, than it is to pay an accountant afterwards to “fix up” your records.
Get professional bookkeeping help.
Many small businesses opt to do their own bookkeeping, simply because they don’t want the added expense of hiring bookkeeping staff. Frankly, we don’t recommend this. Even though it may seem like you’re saving money by doing it yourself, it’s our experience that you’ll likely spend more time and make more errors – which can cost you money down the road. Plus, it just feels better when you don't have to worry about your bookkeeping! If you need a bookkeeper we can recommend local professionals in most states.
Watch out for GST errors.
In our experience, most GST errors occur with the recording of financial liabilities and repayments. Therefore, speak to your accountant prior to organising any type of Business Finance, Lease, Hire Purchase or Loan. It’s both faster and cheaper for you to take care of these beforehand, than it is to amend your Business Activity Statements and accounting records at the end of the year.
How much do you charge for a tax return?
At Accounting for Small Business, our rates are designed to be very affordable for small businesses.
Our rate for preparing a tax return depends on both the size of your business, and the type of tax return service that you require. For hourly services, our standard rates are $200.00 per hour + GST for a Partner, $150.00 per hour + GST for a Senior Accountant, and $100.00 per hour + GST for other Accounting Staff. (Note: all of these prices are consistent with the average rates in our industry.) After the first year of service, to maximize your cost savings, we switch from hourly to a fixed cost basis, billed on a quarterly or monthly basis. We also offer you packages upfront so that you can control your costs.
Please also note that in order to review your Business Progress, Taxation Planning, and Preparation and Lodgment of your Business Activity Statement, we suggest meeting with you briefly on a quarterly basis, or more frequently if required in some cases.
I'm new to small business. How can you help me?
At Accounting for Small Business, we don't just work with existing small businesses. We also work with new businesses like yours, and provide you with the excellent quality set-up advice you need to start your business story on the right path!
As a new small business client, we'll start by providing you with a free initial consultation, during which we'll go through the tax basics you'll need to know. And if you need additional information, we'll provide you with helpful resources from the Australian Taxation Office, or give you information about appropriate seminars that will empower you with the knowledge and clarity you need.
From there, we'll help you create, implement and easily use an accounting and bookkeeping system that works for you, or referrer you to one of our trusted bookkeepers. This will save you money and time, and give you the freedom you need to focus on more important and profitable aspects of your business.
We can also organise an on-site consultation at your office to help you set up your systems. Our entire management team are experts in Small Business. Please click here to learn more about our exceptionally talented and friendly management team.
I'm not based in Perth. Can you still help me with my tax return and other financial needs?
Certainly! Accounting for Small Business currently has clients in Perth, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Switzerland, China, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Depending on your tax needs, we are generally able to provide services to individuals and organisations based in any state.
However, be assured that even if you're located at some distance from Perth, our commitment to staying in communication with you will not diminish. If, for logistical or geographic reasons you cannot come to our offices in Perth, we will maintain clear, constant communication by telephone and email.
What accounting package is best for me?
The answer depends on several key factors, including:
- The size and structure of your business
- Whether you are a service or trading business
- The kind of solutions you need from your accounting package (for example, do you want to use it to create invoices? do you have payroll needs? And so on.)
- The IT infrastructure in your business (what computer technology you use),
- Your skill level in using IT software (or willingness/tolerance for learning a new package)
- Your budget
Each of the answers above help “shape” the kind of accounting package that is best for you. And by “best,” we mean the package that solves your needs in a cost-effective, efficient, rapid and organised manner, and gives you the peace of mind you want.
At Accounting for Small Business, we’ve helped numerous small businesses choose the accounting package that is ideal for them – and we can gladly help you, too! Give us a call, or invite your accountant to organise a free consultation with one of our Business Information Technology Specialists.
What accounting packages do you work with and recommend?
Accounting for Small Business is a professional partner with MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks. We also use Cashflow Manager and FilePro (for law firms).
It’s our experience that Cashflow Manager is typically suitable for Individual Contractors. However, given a choice, we find that MYOB and Xero meet the needs of 95% of our clients, and easily supports their business growth and change. Furthermore, we provide exceptional MYOB training and support. Click here for details.
Ultimately we can work with any accounting package that enables us to access the data we need, including: Trial Balance, Balance Sheet, GST Ledgers, General Ledger and Profit and Loss Statements. Since most accounting packages cover these important financial reports, it’s almost certain that we can work with your package, even if it was customised
What is Accounting for Small Businesses' background?
Accounting for Small Business has been providing Business and Taxation Services since 2003. We specialise in dealing with small businesses (generally defined as those with annual turnovers under $5 million).
In addition to being registered tax agents, we're a registered Public Practice under the National Institute of Accountants. Each member of our managing are members of a professional association, which assures our clients that they are dealing with a trained professional, who has met the academic, ethical and practical requirements of a professional association, and who confirms to an ongoing commitment to Continuing Professional Education (CPE). The NIA in particular has a long-standing history of involvement in the accounting industry as one of Australia's oldest professional bodies.
What is the best way to keep my records?
While accountants and taxation experts like to provide clear “bottom-line” answers, the honest truth is that there is no single best way to keep your records. This is because your small business is unique, and there are certain factors to consider, including the size and structure of your business, and the personalities of you and your staff.
This second criteria is particularly important, because there are a number of systems available, and the “best one” is the one that will fit your preferences. For example, if you want to stay as far away from computers as possible, then it makes no sense for you to use a computer-based-system. On the other hand, if you loathe paperwork, a computer-based-system is just what you need!
Ultimately, the best advice – if not the best system – is for you to talk to Accounting for Small Business, and get the personalised advice you need. Unlike the big accounting firms who “forget” that you’re a small business and that you have unique tolerances and needs, we understand the world you work in, and can help you find and implement a record-keeping system that fits your business, and the personality of you and your staff.
What records do you require to prepare my tax return?
Your small business is unique, and the answer to this depends on the type of tax returns that you require. We can help you determine what these are – simply call us and we’ll be glad to help.
However, generally speaking, we typically require the following:
- Bank Statements (reconciled to the end of the year)
- All Hire Purchase, Lease and Loan Documents relating to your business or investments
- Details of all your income from Investments, Capital Gains, Interest or Business
- Details of all Expenses relating to your income earning
- Copies of All Business Activity Statements lodged and any working pages
- Tax returns from previous years
- Details of your previous accountant if you operate a business
Keeping these documents organised and accessible when required can be a challenging step for many small business owners – especially because so much of their time is devoted to running their business, and not on financial matters and organisation.
At Accounting for Small Business, we understand your situation – because we’ve all been (or still are) small business owners. We know the challenges you face of staying organised. Give us a call and we can help you cost-effectively implement easy systems to stay organised and on top of all of your financial information. You’ll be surprised at how affordable and easy it is!
What's the best business structure for me?
This is one of the most important questions that small business owners will ever ask.
Basically, the best business structure for you is one that will take into consideration the following variables:
- Your risk management strategy, including exposure to litigation risks and need for asset protection
- The expected size, growth and income of your business
- Whether you want to operate under one name in more than one state (which will oblige you to get a nationally registered business name)
- Who will be involved in owning the business, and whether or not you plan to introduce equity partners or shareholders in future
- Your career and work plans for the future, such as: when you plan to retire, how long you plan to work for and if you are expecting to have time off
- The structure of your family, and whether you have beneficiaries to whom you wish to distribute income
- The availability of reduced tax rates and other tax concessions, such as Capital Gains Tax concessions for Individuals
- How you plan to spend the money you earn
As you can see, there are many key things to consider when choosing the right business structure!
Our best advice to you is to talk with Accounting for Small Business to get the clear, non-technical answers that you need. We'll personally invest time to understand your unique business, and help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing the best business structure for you.