The start of a new year often means setting New Year’s Resolutions, with improving finances one of the top goals for many. Should finding a new accountant and achieving greater financial peace of mind be one of your goals for 2022?
When it’s time to change advisors
So often, we hear medical business owners come to us with reasons why they have finally left their previous accountant. For some reason, business owners seem to be more tolerant of a poorly performing accountant than they are of suppliers or other professionals such as bankers and lawyers. The number one complaint from new clients is that the previous accountant has been slow to communicate and doesn’t provide timely advice. Some business owners will say that they know the accountant may not suit their business, but they are at least inexpensive.
Business and taxation advice is a highly complex area. A good advisor who specialises in working with medical professionals can be a highly valuable resource, helping you get more out of your business, freeing up your time and reducing your stress levels to give you greater peace of mind.
There are also some bad advisors. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) regularly conduct audits on tax advisors and their clients. In particular, the TPB recently investigated 2,000 high risk tax practitioners, who they believed were responsible for $1 billion of overclaimed deductions based on data matching analytics. The ATO also prosecuted a man pretending to be a tax agent who lodged tax returns for more than 1,000 people by using their myGov login details to submit their tax returns, then stealing refunds by redirecting them to his personal account.
So you obviously want to work with an ethical and professional advisor, but how can you tell a good advisor from a bad one?
What to look for in an advisor
With so many accountants to choose from, what should you be looking for in an advisor to help grow your business?
- Qualifications: advisors should be members of a professional body such as Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (CAANZ). If you’re looking for an advisor to assist you with your tax obligations, they should also be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: there is a raft of tax legislation and rulings relevant to medical practitioners, such as personal exertion income and allocation of professional profits. If an advisor is recommending a strategy to significantly reduce your tax or is using low tax rates, this is probably not compliant with legislation. Also, you should be on the lookout for advisors providing discounted services much cheaper than quotes provided by other registered advisors.
- The big picture: an experienced advisor will be knowledgeable in all areas of how to help grow your business and will be passionate about the clients they advise. A good advisor will also have relationships with other professional advisors who specialise in the medical industry, such as bankers, lawyers and financial planners.
How Pilot can help
The Pilot Partners Medical Division assists our clients with the following:
- Structuring for asset protection and tax minimisation;
- Budgeting and cash flow planning;
- Assistance with all tax compliance matters including income tax returns and Business Activity Statements (BAS);
- Strategic financial assistance including planning for expansion, succession and sale; and