How to get more value for money from your accountant at tax time

Did you know that much of the tax accountant’s time is spent sorting garbage?

Many business owners think “I’ve done it all there’s nothing for them to do” but in reality, the accountant gets stuck sorting the garbage that comes from the false promise of Do It Yourself Accounting.

It’s no wonder they seem grumpy and unapproachable much of the time.

I know your accountant would prefer to be helping you improve your business rather than fixing up your bookkeeping.

So how can you get more bang for your buck?

Reconcile and check

One way to ensure your accountant is not wasting valuable time and effort is to make sure you (or your bookkeeper) reconcile and check all balance sheet items. 

For example, your bank reconciliations should rarely show outstanding receipts or payments in this day and age. The cheques aren’t in the mail! Investigate now and delete any stray transactions.

If there are bank feed items that don’t need to be added – delete them.  

Don’t mix business and pleasure

We know you’ve heard it before, but it’s a common error so is worth repeating – don’t mix business and personal in your bank accounts. 

When it comes to working out the numbers, mixing the money muddies the waters and quite simply, it’s a dreadful waste of time. Every time someone is required to look at the numbers and decipher between business and personal their time is misused, and you don’t want the ATO looking at your disorganisation!

Tidy the loose ends

Another way to streamline tax time is to tidy up loose ends.

Look at items like your customer and supplier aged trial balances / ledgers and read your profit and loss statements. These  should be telling you the story of your business as it stands as well as its income and expenditure over the period you choose to review.

Then question them. You know your business – do the numbers shown make sense?

If they don’t, get curious and “drill down”. Look behind the numbers to see the transactions that make it up – should they be there?

Maybe your software made decisions for you that were incorrect.

What if it’s a mess?

If you find your numbers are a mess, seek help. Talk to your accountant before they start work on it.  Let them help you to understand the anomalies. They are in the best position to fix or refer you to a specialist bookkeeper.

Want help to make Better Business Decisions

With over 30 years experience spent deep in the trenches of tax accounting and small business, Liz Jarvis is far from your average chartered accountant.

As the founder of Better Business Decisions, she is a passionate advocate for small and medium business, who educates and empowers operators to understand the story their business numbers tell.

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