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How much to pay for Accountant/ Tax Agent services?One in Sydney?

Discussion in 'Accounting & Tax' started by Nish, 8th Jun, 2016.

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  1. Nish

    Nish Well-Known Member

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    Hi Friends,

    Can someone please suggest what is the average fees that you guys pay to your tax agent / accountant assuming both are done by same person. Also, can someone suggest one in Sydney. I am not sure on the fees charged as I have seen people charging as low as 50$ and as high as 500$ plus extra each property.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    Depends how long your piece of string is.
     
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  3. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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    Are you doing summary of you income and expenses or are you going to send the accountant all receipts and let them work it out? ;)
     
  4. Nish

    Nish Well-Known Member

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    Well, till now it was just a normal job, so there was no major expense or receipts to claim. On my way to buy 1st IP so need to change my accountant who is not well versed in handling property related expenses. Though I have maintained a spreadsheet of all the expenses I have paid on the property till date.

    Thanks!!
     
  5. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Service seeking? Air tasker? - Just go for the lowest cost service provider and see what you get - then go to a professional. [​IMG]
     
  6. Steven Ryan

    Steven Ryan Mortgage Broker Business Plus Member

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    I don't remember :)

    Instead of focusing on "cost" I focused on "value", sought recommendations from those I trust with similar needs and engaged the best accountant.
     
  7. Paul@PFI

    Paul@PFI Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Member

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    Professional services are often best provided by experienced and qualified people who are very knowledgable so that minimal time is spent on understanding your issues and concerns and then explaining solutions and giving advice in a clear manner.

    There are some generalisations that you may find evident with using some cheap accountants:
    - Poor skills and experience - Possible even NONE at a franchised tax shop if you get one out of their "tax school"..A practice I really disagree with.
    - Who is actually doing your work ?
    - What is the review process if another person does your tax work ?
    - Poor language skills
    - Is your work being performed offshore (A massive concern in my opinion)
    - They may be 100% generalists and lack any specialisations as they are not a "go to person"

    As a tax adviser that used to give accountants, lawyers and financial planners tax guidance and host education seminars etc I have seen a huge array of skills and capability. Some of the best take the approach that they always have something to learn. I agree with that.

    IMO I would be asking property investors, developers etc on PC who they may use. PC tends to weed out issues and leave a concentrated result over time much like a great sauce in cooking. Then talk to them and find someone you feel reflects good value v's skills.
     
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  8. willair

    willair Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  9. MikeLivingTheDream

    MikeLivingTheDream BCOM MCOM MTAX CPA CTA Registered Tax Agent

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    been going on for a long time willair including most of the big four accounting firms.

    cost isnt the main reason actually.

    1. regional firms are struggling to fill accounting roles. many accounting graduates are no longer interested in public practice in a small firm. they simply cant find staff. paul used to work at macquarie group services and he will tell you about how difficult regional firms are finding it to get staff.

    2. young accountants arent interested in compliance work. bookkeeping, data entry, and analysing simple data isnt something they want to do. clients dont want to pay 150 aud for basic data entry. so the solution is to use lower offshore staff for basic tasks and then have the local australian team do higher level analysis work such as reviewing loans, structuring, cgt calculations etc. so they concentrate on the value added work not the hack work. clients win as they get a better and more comprehensive service at same cost. many large firms who do advisory work actually do the compliance work for free. i know as i have setup and trained teams for them who do the compliance work and is reviewed and finalised by a local australian manager. they focus on advisory work and compliance work is done free of charge.

    3. some firms ive helped use it as a model for helping their own clients setup teams for their small businesses.

    i personally know an adelaide firm who has 45 people in manila doing compliance work. the firm is one of the most respected in adelaide and they dont hide that they outsource compliance work. in fact they have helped over 100 of their clients setup their own operations in the philippines.

    for example asic corporate compliance. previously we had some issues with three late lodgements for which clients had penalties which we paid for them. so we moved to nowinfinity corporate messenger and hired a filipina to do all the asic corporate work. we dont charge any fee at all for asic corporate compliance work. for us it is actually a loss. not one client has had issues now with asic compliance.

    many of the larger firms understand you need to have a local qualified australian with tax experience as part of their team. i act as a consultant and trainer to many of these firms. they have someone with a masters of tax on the ground training, managing and supervising their own outsourced team. i am aware of around 300 philippine people trained in australian tax and doing australian tax work. some of them are better than local australian staff. they simply work in another office. accountants keep telling clients in this day and age they dont need a face to face meeting and can deal via technology. why cant the same accountant have a team in another location training them and managing them remotely ? if it took away aussies job this would be a legitimate concern but small practitioners cant find suitable staff to fill the roles so jobs arent being sent elsewhere. there isnt staff who want to do the jobs. they want high level work.

    i know paul hates it but you would be surprised what firms accountants use that have offshore backends. trust deed providers, super audits, statements of advice, software providers all have offshore teams that those same accountants are happy to use.
     
    Last edited: 9th Jun, 2016
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  10. Frosty123

    Frosty123 Well-Known Member

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    How much would you expect to pay for a common first time investors scenario:

    Husband and Wife: Employees with common work related expenses
    Investment Properties: 1
    Summary of all expenses and depreciation schedule provided
    No trusts, companies or anything that would complicate things.
     
  11. Paul@PFI

    Paul@PFI Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Member

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    The key issue for offshoring is disclosure. I have zero issue with any firm that advises the full extent and nature of any offshore services so that the client understands and agrees to that engagement. Some I have seen provide little honest disclosure and mask descriptions. eg Security of information. Many boast about having strict policies around removing documents and copying etc but this is an admission of the inherent risks of paying a person a trivial sum and charging the accounting firm $10 a hour and then charging the client $90 a hour.

    Personally I would be appalled to offer a service that is based on third world wages. If we cant manage inhouse why would I expect a remote person do it any better? This is like a race to the bottom in terms of price IMO.

    Certainly for some large firms they can better use their global operations and achieve cost advantages
     
  12. MikeLivingTheDream

    MikeLivingTheDream BCOM MCOM MTAX CPA CTA Registered Tax Agent

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    paul

    for many firms it not about the lack of ability to manage in-house. it is managing the good resources they do have in-house so they are out seeing clients, developing cashflow forecasts, structuring reviews, business advice, etc.

    i have just been engaged by a firm who has 30 local staff to hire and train 4 philippine employees. the aussie headcount wont reduce at all. in fact it will increase. why. because the local staff will now be doing more challenging and interesting work. calling clients. identifying needs. working on their businesses with them.

    the compliance work they dont even consider a fee. the value to the client is in other things not taking a spreadsheet and entering it into myob accountants enterprise.

    you dont understand outsourcing based on your comments. its not about lowering the cost base it is about sending the hack work to people who dont mind doing it. then the local staff do more work and more value added work. its not a rush to the bottom with fees its increasing and improving your other service offering to clients. compliance data entry has no value. the value is the analysis and interpretation and discussion with clients. this shouldnt be outsourced and never is. but entering data from a client spreadsheet and putting into the accountant software has zero value. so why not have someone offshore do it. you as the accountant then take that data and analyse it and review it and find opportunities for the client.

    you seem to think the offshore person will do ALL the work. this rarely happens. they generally do data entry, etc and the other work eg ensuring borrowing costs are accounted for properly, loans are in the correct names, unit certificates are issued, etc are done by the local australian team. this is normal practice for offshoring.


    do you discuss with your business clients opportunities for outsourcing work to help them focus more on their marketing and value added work. an adviser should be advising their business clients on all opportunities. if you think it is only about cost savings you havent seen how it frees up business owners time for other things. sad really.
     
    Last edited: 9th Jun, 2016
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