When it comes to our businesses – or our own, personal finances – having an accountant can take a lot of weight off your shoulders. But not all accountants are made the same. Today we are going to give you tips to find a good tax accountant near you!
Referrals to a Good Tax Accountant
Referrals are one of the best ways to know you are choosing a good accountant. Whether it is recommendations from friends, family, or a banker or colleague, a referral gives you peace of mind that those around you trust this accountant.
Word of mouth isn’t the only way to find referrals for a good tax accountant. Many people now prefer to leave their experiences online, either through the accountant’s website, social media, or Google My Business profile. Explore reviews and accounts from other customers to see if you are comfortable working with your chosen accountant. Siragusa has reviews on Google My Business for all our clients to review before visiting us, so you feel confident in our skills and services!
Don’t Underestimate a Good CPA
While accountants generally work for large companies, a certified public accountant, or CPA, work for a variety of large and small businesses. A CPA only gets this qualification in Australia when they pass rigorous requirements, including:
- A completed degree or postgraduate award recognised by CPA Australia
- They have completed the CPA program
- Three years of professional experience in finance, accounting or business
- Undertake CPD activities each year
- Always comply to a strict code of conduct set by CPA Australia
How Much Work Do Your Require of Your Accountant?
Once you have some candidates lined up, it is important to work out how much of the accounting and bookkeeping your company (or you, yourself) will do and how much you need done by the accountant.
Remember, accounting services can be divided into three broad categories:
- Recording transactions
- Assembling transactions
- Generating returns and financial statements
While recording and assembling transactions requires a lower skill level, and can often be done by the business or yourself, some accounting firms will charge the same hourly rate for all three. This is why you need to work out, from the start, what work you want your accountant to handle.
When choosing a good tax accountant, you need to agree on, in your meeting, the following three options:
In most cases, an accounting firm will offer both tax and auditing services. But you should also ask about their other services. Do they offer bookkeeping? Estate planning? Management counselling and advice? Can your accountant help you design and implement financial information systems? A good accountant, like Siragusa, can offer a range of services including:
- Analysing transactions for loans and financing
- Preparing, auditing, compiling, and reviewing financial statements
- Investment management
- Representation before tax authorities
Although smaller accounting firms are generally better for entrepreneurs, they might not be able to offer all these services. So you need to make sure the accounting firm or freelancer you have chosen can handle what you need. It is also important to remember that a good tax accountant may have a relationship with other firms they can refer you to for more specialised services. It is also important to ensure the accountant you choose has experience in small businesses or in your specific industry.
It is incredibly important that the accountant’s style is compatible with yours. This starts with ensuring the people you meet with are the ones handling your business. This way, you can get a feel for the relationship you will have with them. Having a good relationship with your accountant means you feel comfortable with them handling these important financial matters.
It is also important to realise that having an accountant who takes a different approach to you can be a good thing. They can suggest strategies and ideas that you might not have considered previously. Having new, fresh eyes on your business can be a blessing!
It is important to ask about fees upfront. A good accountant, like those at Sirgusa, can give you this information at request. Remember to ask if the fees are hourly or part of a monthly retainer. It is also important to get an estimate of the total annual charges based on the services you have discussed with them.
It is important to consider that an accountant who charges a higher hourly rate is likely more experienced and able to work faster than someone with lower fees. As a result, it is important not to base your choice solely on the accountant’s fees.
Make the Most of Your Relationship with Your Accountant
When you’ve made your choice of accountant, it is important that you both spell out the terms of the agreement in an engagement letter. This should document the returns and statements to be prepared and the agreed-upon fees. This way, everyone involved has the same expectations.
This also helps ensure you hold up your end of the agreement. Don’t just hand your accountant a box full of receipts and expect them to get the job done. Organise your receipts, write down the details of all the cheques in your register, no matter what they’re for, and identify sources of income on your bank deposits. The better you maintain your records, the less time your accountant has to spend and the lower your fees will be.
It is also important to meet with or speak to your accountant at least once a month. Review your financial statements and go over any problems you might have, so you know where your money is going.
If you are looking for a good accountant, contact the team at Siragusa today. We can help you with a wide range of accounting and financial services. Contact us today for the best in local accountancy help, services, and advice.