Accountants have a lot of work on their plate; they analyse and generate reports, do in-depth account research for their clients and answer questions. Lots of them. Some are particular to a certain business, others are more general.
What are your fees?
If you’re looking around for an accountant, this is a crucial question. Asking about fees and services will help potential clients understand what the accountant does and why they charge the way they do.
Certain accounting firms have specialised services, like auditing and reconciliation. Other services include tax returns and consulting for business improvement.
Am I breaking even?
Breaking even in accountant-speak means you’re making more than you’re spending. Making a profit is one of the chief aims of any business. Accountants do in-depth studies of expenses, receivables and statements to paint a true picture of the state their clients are in.
Business improvement services include monitoring “risk” and KPI management. If you’re concerned about the “health” of your business, it’s advisable to have a meeting with the accountant or your bookkeeper. Taking a risk is fine from time to time, but if you don’t manage them properly you’ll break the cheque book instead of breaking even.
How can I best prepare for tax time?
Tax time makes anyone cringe but going to the accountant early will help make the proceedings easier. This is one of the occasions when listening and taking advice will do plenty of good. Tax time shouldn’t be a mad rush of trying to organise finances and receipts. Professionals prefer archiving over the year so when the time comes, the proceedings of getting PAYG and return statements is streamlined.
What are some deductions I can claim?
If it’s work related, you can generally deduct it. If you don’t ask this question, your accountant will. Items like internet, petrol, dry cleaning and stationery can get claimed as deductions every year. Other (larger) items include expenses generated from shares, overseas income and rental property deductions.
Do I need to cut anything?
Accountants don’t mince words. It’s their job to keep their clients informed on how to keep their business afloat and the tax man away. If you ask yours what needs to get cut, they’ll advise what’s best.
Quarterly checks are ideal if you want to find out what needs to go. Don’t see it as a loss; cuts help you get a better return on investment. Why? Because you’re not wasting money on something that’s not getting used.