Accountants are financial professionals, who help both individuals and businesses maintain their finances. It is important that you select an accountant that will work best for you.
Below is some vital information about accountants and tips on how to find the right accountant for you.
Services Offered by Accountants
Before you even start looking for an accountant to work with, it is good to know what an account does, and how he/she can help you with your finances. Below is a look at the top three types of services that accountants provide to their clients.
The most popular service that accountant offer is to help their clients file their yearly tax returns. If you have a simple tax return that only includes earnings from your employer and just a few special benefits, you may be able to complete your own tax returns. You can go to the Australian Taxation Office website and use the online E-tax service.
However, if your taxes are more complex, it is probably best to have a professional accountant complete your tax returns for you. This will ensure that your taxes are done correctly and on time, which will reduce the risk of paying an unnecessary penalty. A tax accountant can also make sure that you receive all of the tax benefits you deserve to lower your overall payment.
A professional account can also help you reach your long-term and short-term financial goals. He/she will work directly with you to help develop the best investment portfolio to meet your financial needs.
- Business Accounting Services
Accountants also help both large and small businesses handle all their bookkeeping requirements. Accountants can maintain business accounts, track income and expenses, complete the payroll process and file taxes. They also help to make sure that all business paperwork is completed correctly and meets governmental requirements. If you are a business owner, the Australian Taxation Office provides a wealth of information about proper record-keeping for businesses.
Tips for Finding the Right Accountant
There are several things that you need to take into consideration when finding the right accountant to work for you. Below is a look at five features of accountants that should be considered when finding the right one for you and your finances.
- Experience. You want to find an account that has several years of experience providing financial services in your local area. The accountant should also have experience in dealing with the type of accounting services you need, such as tax preparation, investment advice, or business services.
- Licensed. You also want to make sure that the accountant you select is properly licensed and registered in Australia to provide the type of accounting services you require. For example, if you need an accountant to help you file your annual tax returns, he/she must be a registered tax agent. You can find this information out by searching for the accountant on the tax and BAS agent register. On the other hand, if you need an accountant to help plan your investments, he/she must have an Australian Financial Services License. You can check your accounts qualifications by checking the ASIC Connects’ Professional Register.
- Credentials. The accountant’s credentials are also very important. You want to make sure that he/she has a good reputation for providing financial service. It is also a good idea to choose an account who is a member of a professional finance association, such as the Institution of Public Accountant, The Institute of Chartered Accountant Australia, or the Certified Practicing Accountants Australia.
- Costs. Before making a final decision about which accountant to pick, you should ask them about their service fees. The accountant should be able to provide you with a fee schedule that is charged for different services and how much they charge per hour. You also want to see what type of payment arrangements they offer and if they require payment upfront or after the services are provided.
- Communication. Finally, you want to make sure that the accountant provides quick responses to your questions. You should not have keep calling him/her to get answers to your financial questions.
Choosing the right accountant can directly affect the success or failure of your financial future. With this much at stake, you want to make sure that you take some time and evaluate several different accountants before making your final decision. Take into consideration all five of the categories listed above when making your final decision.
To help you get started, there are some online databases that list all of the qualified accountants in Australia. Some of these lists will only include members that are part of their professional association. However, this assures you that the accountant meets the strict requirement set forth by the association. Here is a look at the top three account databases online.
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