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Advertorial: How to hire a full-time accountant for 3 hours a month

There is a new generation of accountant empowered by new technology, aiming to revolutionise the way you run your business. A lot of businesses are held back because they don‘t receive professional advice from accountants on their financial performance. As important as your BAS or tax return seems the day before it’s due, it’s still simply a form lodged with the tax office. “We believe that an accountant’s role is to support you in building your business and increasing your profits,” says Adrian Pinkewich of Tax Express.

Imagine you just started a business and have two staff working for you. Things are going very well and you’re making good money. You’ve been flat out with client work for three months, so it’s a big surprise when you realise you don’t have enough cash in the bank to pay your wages. On further investigation it turns out that your clients owe you $200,000 and no one in your office has been following up these unpaid debts. This would be a very awkward and embarrassing situation for you, wouldn’t it? But it’s extremely common, especially in the start up phase of a business.

A proactive, forward looking approach

Many business owners are so busy providing services to their clients that they don’t take the time to look at the full financial position of their business. A good accountant should aim to detect cash flow problems early and help clients take the necessary steps to avoid this happening.

Pinkewich believes, “the new generation of accountants are responsible for the financial performance of a client’s business and proactively meet regularly with them. Every business is different. A start-up company or a business having financial difficulty may require fortnightly meetings, while an established business or sole trader may only require a quarterly meeting.  Because we meet with our clients regularly we can advise them on what they need to change in their business based on the fact that we have up to date accounts.”

The accountant now acts as though they have been hired as a firm’s internal accountant.  At a typical monthly meeting the following would be reviewed:

*The profit or loss recorded last month compared to how the company is going for the year

*How much money the company is owed and by who.

*What bills haven’t been paid.

*How the company is performing compared to their business plan and budget.

*Opportunities to reduce tax with forward tax planning.

*The company’s cash flow position for the next three months.

*Monitor employee performance.

 New technology that replaces bookkeeping

Historically accounting systems have been so labour intensive that few businesses could afford to pay a qualified accountant to handle everything. They were forced to use a bookkeeper or code the transactions themselves, only engaging an accountant at the end of the year for an annual tax return. Many businesses would even lodge their own BAS. The accountant’s role was confined to that of a taxation consultant and by the time they were given the information it was out of date.

Using revolutionary new technology, the bookkeeping process can now be automated. Accountants are able to receive electronic bank statements for a client’s business, and many transactions automatically code to the correct account. After all, most businesses keep engaging in the same transactions over and over again, and most bank statements contain all the information required. For example, if your bank statement shows a $200 payment to Optus, the transaction will automatically code as telephone expense.

Save hours on your invoicing and payroll

New opportunities exist for business owners to automate the invoicing process. Invoices can be generated with unique codes specific to a client, and when they are paid by a range of options including BPay, they are automatically marked off as paid in the client’s records. This enables business owners to keep on top of who owes them money, without spending hours each month updating their debtors’ ledger.

Payroll functions can now be handled using a website, enabling the accountant, business owner and staff to access their required payroll records. Staff can apply for annual leave online, and access copies of their pay slips as required. Significant time savings can be realised by using a web interface, and the payroll records are available to the accountant whenever they are needed.

Affordable fees that free you to run your business

Pinkewich concludes: “Few businesses can afford to hire a fully qualified accountant on a six figure salary. At Tax Express we now make this advice affordable and handle all your accounting requirements using the latest technology. Our fixed monthly fees for this service are often less than people currently pay for a bookkeeper and accountant combined.” If you’d like to find out more call Tax Express today on 02 9683 4133 and make an appointment.

Adrian Pinkewich is practice manager at Tax Express – accountants, tax agents and business advisers. For more information, visit www.taxexpress.com.au

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