Our hearts go out to business owners at this time of year.
Not only is there a lot of prep to be done around the financial year-end this year and every year, but it can be an anxious time for some if they’re only getting part of the story.
We were reminded of this only two weeks out from 30 June when a desperate small business owner in the building industry called us out of the blue asking all sorts of questions.
The problem seemed to be that, with changes in the way the business was set up during the financial year, the tax treatment had altered but there was no reasoning provided to help the client understand why.
She asked, “Why am I only finding out about SuperStream now,” and “What should I be doing at this time of year with respect to the FYE?”
Also, “Why is it so hard to get answers from my accountant” and “My accountant doesn’t explain things to us in plain English”.
She also asked if it’s hard to change accountants and conveyed that they needed an accountant who could help with their personal finances, not just their business accounting.
The frustrating thing was that the business owner liked to be organised and she was concerned that, so close to 30 June, she wasn’t.
It was keeping her awake at night.
Our suggestions were as follows:
- Book an urgent meeting with her existing accountant to get answers. Given their history, it made sense to try and fix the gaps, minimise the tax and galvanise the cash flow forecast this side of 30 June.
- If things don’t improve in the new financial year, the business owner may like to shop around for a new accountant. We recommended doing this so that she could talk to a few different accountants to gauge their style and approach and see if there’s a fit.
- We mentioned cloud accounting, what it offers and suggested dropping this into her enquiries.
- As for pricing upfront, we said it’s rare that accountants don’t do it (but never say never).
- We explained how the ethical letter process works and, if things go pear-shaped compelling them to switch, they wouldn’t need to deal with their old accountant to change.
- We sent her links from the ATO on BAS and SuperStream to prepare for her meeting with her existing accountant.
- We invited her to receive our free newsletter to get an idea of upcoming regulatory deadlines and business issues.
Later that day we received a text, “We have an appointment to meet our accountant tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll get some clear answers. We’re not keen about having to down tools for it but we think it’s a pretty big deal. Thanks for all your help”.