The Top 10 Tips for seeing your Accountant
To be totally honest, there is really only one tip: be prepared! Being prepared is ultimately the key to getting the most value out of seeing your accountant. The problem is that can mean different things to different people. Therefore, below is a list of the top tips to help you through this year’s tax requirements:
1. Get organised! Keep all of your records together in a logical manner, and make sure the final copy of documents are included and not all the drafts. This might take the form of a slip sheet to keep hard copies of receipts, or a folder divided into relevant sections depending upon your circumstances. Being organised during the year takes the pinch out of year end. 2. Get electronic. Using cloud based software or Excel is a great way to keep track of your financial position. Saving any Excel or supporting documents in the cloud have two benefits. Firstly come tax time you just need to share a folder and we will have all of the information right there. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly is that those documents are then backed up. Receipts often fade, computers crash and paper gets lost. Using Dropbox or Google Drive is definitely very popular and easy to use. Also consider a service such as Sync which offers end to end encryption for something a little more secure. 3. Be smart with your email. So much information is emailed now and it is really easy to miss potential deductions because you have forgotten about it. Gmail has labels, and other providers have something similar where you can allocate emails to a tax label. Then at the end of the year you can search for the label and find all of those tax invoices for donations and other miscellaneous items that get emailed through during the year. Alternatively you could use a separate folder to achieve something similar. 4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. An accountant should be a trusted advisor and part of your support team whether you are in business or building personal wealth. Communication is very important as the more that we understand your circumstances the more of an opportunity we have to provide proactive advice. 5. Keep track of any tax related questions. It happens often, I will be sitting down with a client and they are scratching their head thinking about what they meant to ask. When a thought comes to mind, consider emailing it to yourself (with that tax label as noted above) or using an app like Evernote to keep a log of questions. It will also allow you to keep track of a history of the answers as well! 6. Consider using a checklist to help make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Most accountants will have something that they can provide. 7. Think about what questions your accountant has previously asked and be proactive in providing that information. If you are asked every year to provide supporting invoices for legal fees, or donation receipts, then have them ready to go with the rest of your work. 8. If you are seeing a new accountant, make sure you bring along a copy of the last tax return lodged. There might be some prior year losses that can be utilised now or in the future for capital gains or business profits. 9. It is generally better to be informed about your own financial affairs. Some people are just not interested and want to palm it off to a professional, and we can certainly do that. The benefit in taking an interest though is that your knowledge builds over the course of time so when we make a recommendation that is more complicated you have a better base understanding to make an informed decision. 10. Book a time for a visit or call!
If you come to me as a client whether you are in business or as a personal tax return, I want you to succeed in whatever your financial goal is. The above points are the first step for many in taking control of their tax and accounting affairs.
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