Tag Archives: bookkeepers

Not All Accountants Are Created Equal – What to Look For When Choosing an Accountant

Not all accountants are the same. There are many different reasons why you should choose an accountant that is right for your needs and will suit your specific requirements. These could include whether you’re a sole trader, a company or partnership or just an individual wanting to maximise your tax return for the year.

You could also find that some accountants specialise in certain areas. A good example of this might be specific investment types or foreign income as part of your regular turnover.

Here are some things to look for before you choose an accountant:

Qualifications and Accreditations

Always check the qualifications of the accountant you’re considering. A tax agent isn’t always going to be the same as a fully qualified CPA. In fact, there are several official accounting bodies within Australia. Be sure the accountant you’re considering is a member of either CPA Australia or ICAA.

This can be an important step, as accountants who are members of these professional bodies are required to meet minimum standards of education. They are also required to keep their knowledge up to date and must also hold professional indemnity insurance.

However, only agents registered with the Tax Agent’s Board are allowed to charge a fee for preparing a tax return for you. Be sure you understand what accreditations with which officially recognised bodies the agent holds.

Reputation

Where possible, try to ask other people in similar financial situations to your own to recommend an accountant they use. Asking for referrals is a good way to locate accountants who may have experience dealing with your specific needs. A sole trader working on sub-contract for one or more companies is going to have very different accountancy needs to that of a larger exporting company.

Specialisation

Some accountants specialise in certain areas. If your own income is a little different to a normal income from an employer, you might want to consider finding a specialist accountant who understands your particular needs.

Additional Services

Will you need additional services on top of just tax preparation? Some accountants are able to offer extra services for such things like incorporating your business, financial planning advice, expanding your current business operations, retirement advice, estate planning, risk management, wealth creation or investing advice.

Finding the right accountant can help you add considerable value to your business and can also help you manage your own financial future much better. It’s worth taking the time to be sure you find the right one to suit your particular needs

For more information see Reid Maddison Brisbane Accountants, Your partner in Financial Management

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Julie_Sultmann

A Case for Co-operation, Between Bookkeeper and Accountant.

The accounting profession is diverse. For most people a bookkeeper and accountant is considered to be the same. Some clients even refer to their highly trained accountants as their “ bookkeepers”.

 

This article has no intention to heap scorn on the professional bookkeeper. If anything, their work enables the accountant to prepare and finalize their assignments.

Bookkeepers are found everywhere, from small to large corporations, and in government departments.

 

I will not touch on the old debate of the differences of the bookkeeper and accountant, suffice to say that there are many synergies between the two professions. Depending on the size of the organizations, a bookkeeper could essentially perform an accountant’s job.

 

It is on the divergence on the two professions where most of the confusion sets in. A bookkeeper could have performed a vital function for a small business for years, but when professional reports, are required, the help of an accountant will have to be enlisted. Sometimes to the detriment of the loyal bookkeeper.

 

The training and education of bookkeepers is different from that of an accountant. Some people become bookkeepers without any studying. Others attend short courses at training colleges varying from six months to two years. In certain cases bookkeepers can opt for professional membership. Accountants training is prescribed by many statutory accounting bodies, and their training is substantially more involved, and different from a bookkeepers training.

 

For bookkeepers to assume that they can run and report on an organizations complete accounting system, is sheer arrogance. Bookkeepers expertise in balancing the checkbooks, reconciling the accounts and other functions is not sufficient. Keeping current with GAAP, GRAP and IFRS, is not known to be strength of bookkeepers.

 

The training that bookkeepers receive, do not equip them to deal with complex tax transactions and the disclosure of certain accounting items such as “Intangibles”.

Bookkeepers should preferably outsource these functions to experienced qualified accountants. It happens very reluctantly.

 

The accounting industry is a very “selfish” industry. Unlike the medical or legal fraternity, we reluctantly share work or assignments. A medical doctor, when consulted, will not hesitate to refer patient to a specialist or another doctor. The same goes for attorneys. Bookkeepers in private practice will “hold on”, to a client, despite not being equipped to deal with the assignment.

 

Business clients should verify the credentials of their bookkeepers before engaging them for complex assignments. Accountants and bookkeepers can work hand in hand. For some accountants to get involved in bookkeeping is a tedious task, they need the assistance of bookkeepers.

Many tasks cannot be performed without an accountant. But accountants can also outsource work to bookkeepers. The two professions must augment each other. But persistent greed will kill the industry.

 

Author: Sean Goss  sgafc@mweb.co.za