The top 7 things you can do to save on accounting fees – there’s actually only 5 but the first one is just so important I felt it should be numbered 1,2 & 3!
Regardless of how big or small your business is, there are a few things that every business owner can do to keep their accounting costs to a minimum.
1. Use a computer package supported by your accountant.
If your accountant uses the same software as you then they will be familiar with it and therefore they will be more efficient with it. If your accountant has to learn how to navigate around your software to get the information they need – it’s wasting time and costing money.
2. See point # 1
3. See point # 2
4. Respond to your accountants queries promptly – this tip might seem obscure at first but it boils down to human nature – “use it or lose it”.
Once you’ve been asked for further information about your records all activity on your work stops. The accountant moves their focus onto their next job. The more time that elapses between asking the questions and getting the answers, the longer it takes to pick up where they left off.
5. Never, EVER go back into a prior month and adjust entries.
After poor bookkeeping this is the next biggest cause of wasted accounting fees. I understand it can be very tempting to just “fix” an old transaction rather than enter a correction in the current month. The problem that arises is that this ‘fix’ will almost always have a GST consequence and often will affect tax payable as well. It is unfortunate enough if the change means you miss out on a GST or tax refund you’re entitled to… but it’s worse if the change means you’ve underpaid the ATO and you are subjected to an audit.
6. Employ a competent bookkeeper/internal accountant.
If the person doing your bookkeeping has not had any proper training they will make errors – probably lots of them! It is relatively simple to learn how to use the commonly available accounting software packages… but this does not make them a bookkeeper. You may think that it is your accountant’s JOB to find these errors and fix them. And they will… but doesn’t it make much more sense to pay a bookkeepers hourly rate than an accountant’s rate to get this basic data entry correct? As with most things, you get what you pay for and the price per hour charged by a bookkeeper is no exception. Using a ‘cheap’ bookkeeper is a false economy.
7. Fill in the details – details help your accountant correct errors – if the transaction details are missing or patchy then they’ll have to ask you for it.
This is annoying for all concerned because it is a waste of the accountant’s time and often requires you to go back in to archives to retrieve specific details.
About David Officen
David is the Founder and Managing Director of proCFO. David combines an accounting and consulting background with commercial experience both as a manager for large commercial businesses and as the owner of private and family businesses.