The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it's the same problem you had last year. (John Foster Dulles)
It's our job to do the worrying (at least about tax). Your job is to run the best business you can - and we love to be part of your team doing just that. Businesses have enough to occupy the owner, so let us keep on top of your tax responsibilities so you don't have to. Sure paying is still your responsibility - but we take the pressure off you, leaving you confident that the tax man won't suddenly come knocking unexpectedly.
It's not just today's tax laws that are part of our responsibility - it's the future as well. Tax law is constantly changing. We keep up to date with developments, and where they might affect you, we let you know. Few businesses can afford a full-time accountant on their team. Having us as an on-call team member, we're always available to support your business - and not just on tax matters.
As Plato did with his academy, we share our experience and lessons with fellow business people, thereby enhancing the success of us all.
One positive difference from most NZ accountants is that we're virtual. We have closed our offices in town and no longer provide traditional office services. Read more about what that means under Virtual services.
You don't have to use particular software - it certainly doesn't have to be "in the cloud". We "meet" with you to review and assist with accounts over the internet. You get help at your time and place with your accounts - both when doing the year-end accounts and tax, and when unsure of the best way to record items during the year. It costs you no extra - and means we have less to do at year end.
If you're unsure how that might work, we'll show you - with a free, no commitment session.
Accounting is about producing accounts that will provide managers with information they need, as well as keeping IRD and other bodies happy. For companies this includes the Companies Office and anyone else specified in the constitution or other documents (e.g. lenders). For trusts it includes the trustees, sui juri beneficiaries and anyone else specified in the trust deed. For partnerships it includes the partners - and anyone else specified in the partnership agreement. And if you're a sole trader aren't you glad? Well we suggest you shouldn't be too cocky - you might not be accountable to anyone, but you can still go badly astray - and have less personal protection.
If you want your accounts done regularly and correctly, with no unexpected surprises at year end, why not give us a call? We can either do your accounts and GST returns via a system with a bank feed, or else you can do them using one of the packages that meets major NZ standards. As a CPA practice we practice according to professional standards (including independence, insurance, practice review and more).
Accounting provides the information needed to return and assess taxable income. We fully support taxpayers who feel they should pay as little tax as legally possible, but we do not encourage "cheating" - even when we agree that tax law is not equitable. In technical terms while we encourage "tax avoidance" by legitimate means, we do not support "tax evasion". We have found that IRD have improved their attitude to business in the last decade or more (although the economic situation means they are stricter than they were ). We do all we can to make everyone's life relatively simple - but we can't influence those who make the laws - although our professional body does lobby on issues where they think improvement is needed.
What's wrong with the old shoe-box full of bits and bobs? There are two key problems. The first is that as with any NZ accountant, resources are limited, and that's only getting worse. We aren't prepared to waste our time and become just another firm fighting to meet its workload. We want to deal with each client as appropriate - and to build a relationship with them - and preferably watch their business grow. That's why we are quite willing to accept we are not the right accountant for everyone.
The second is that most businesses are actually not making any real money. By the time you've allowed for a return on the money invested (including an allowance for risk), and a return for time worked (at market rates), and a return for managing the business, you've exceeded most firms' "profit". We particularly enjoy working with firms that aim higher than that. It goes without saying that these aims are ethical - we're not interested in lowering our standards. In fact we love clients whose focus is broader than the mighty $. Some people describe this as the three "P"'s: people, planet and profit. But if you have a business. It must still return a profit.
"Here come more bills". Unless you're new to business, that will doubtless on your mind every time you talk with an accountant. By and large we work differently - but of course we still charge - just not in the same way as many of our colleagues. We know your work will require more time initially - but generally it settles down to a regular pattern. You have occasional queries - and the thought of extra bills can be off-putting. But we don't charge for them. Instead we agree a fee up front - based on your agreed services. You pay that by monthly A/P. And that's it - from then on we're on your team and in fact prefer you to ask questions as you go. At the end of the year you've paid your fee (which makes it deductible in that year instead of the following one) and we've dealt with questions as they arise, so producing the accounts is relatively straightforward.
Of course sometimes you'll ask for additional work that we do need to bill - but we'll always get your agreement before doing the work and issuing the extra bill. This might include upgrading software, setting up a new entity, resolving international tax issues, etc. So there might be the odd extra bill - but they're a very rare exception. Year after year most clients don't see a bill.
Actually most business people don't - although they should. Many only do accounts so they can pay their taxes because otherwise they get hit with interest and penalties - and still have the tax to pay. This is sad, because monitoring key figures as they occur can be of real value to business owners. It's OK to fly be the seat of your pants - but it's amazing how much valuable data can come from even quick analysis of the accounts.
But some simply choose the cheapest option. And they usually get results according to the cheapest price. I've had new clients whose previous accounts contained a balance sheet that didn't even balance.
John Cleese produced a film ("The Balance Sheet Barrier") in which he learned about accounts from Ronnie Corbett. In starting to explain accounts, Ronnie said "The balance sheet is the window through which we view the firm." John insisted the balance sheet was "the blind drawn by accountants to keep managers in the dark". It shouldn't be that way.
Business owners are ultimately the ones responsible for their businesses - and the accounts are a legal requirement (for companies and trusts, and for all taxpayers) but also a way to view the firm. So we try to ensure you understand the accounts, and love you to ask questions about them. You pay for them - they are yours. Make sure you understand them.
Of course you can continue to have the accounts done just so you can pay your taxes - but they can do so much more. Naturally they have to be prepared properly - otherwise figures will not mean what they should - and therefore could produce meaningless results. But if you use the accounts as a tool, then they will become meaningful.
Another thing that affects someone reading the accounts is timeliness. Many people produce a set of accounts to pay their taxes - once a year - and often late. There's not a lot of useful information to be gained from such an exercise. It can be useful comparing trends from several years - but really useful info requires regular effort more often.
The figures themselves won't tell you much. The real value comes from movements in figures - both changes over time, and relationships between figures, A classic is the gross profit percentage. It could be anything, but under normal circumstances should be consistent. Changes may be for several reasons - good or bad. Understanding that will give you more insight than simply looking at the bottom line alone. Apart from gross profit, a range of other figures may be significant to you. We chose GP as a common example in many businesses.
We also believe accounting should primarily help one key person or team - the owner(s) / manager(s). Yes businesses have to provide various reports to various bodies - starting with IRD. But sadly owners all too often feel that it's all for others - there's nothing in it for them. In fact, nothing else really matters. The primary aim of accounting should be to ensure managers have the information they require when they require it so they can look after the business. That's why many of our clients run their own accounting system, with our training and support.
Digging into figures (e.g. debtors:sales) over time can help you raise your business performance. A classic saying is: "What you can measure you can manage". Conversely how can you know if things are improving if you don't measure before and after figures?
So what don't we do (apart from office jobs such as payroll, debtors, etc)? We provide maximum service to business owners, with minimum time on routine things so we're available for the important things. We'd rather focus our energy on helping you make more profit (assuming you want that). This means we don't work with ad-hoc systems (especially spreadsheets). For businesses today, specialist programs are available and generally minimise time required. And we don't work with non-Kiwi programs - or at least programs that don't cater for NZ needs. Thus MoneyWorks, Reckon Accounts, MYOB and Xero, among others are all in. If in doubt talk with us.
There is another option - a bank feed through us. If you want GST and accounts done for you, using information provided by banks, this option allows us to do it effectively and efficiently (with data provided by you). We still use Banklink bank feeds - but BankLink is now part of the MYOB world. Everyone offers bank feeds - and the differences (perhaps .1%) seem small - but when you're dealing with large numbers of transactions in total, MYOB feeds are more reliable.
So if you are looking for a business partner to provide accounting expertise, give us a ring, or e-mail or Skype us. We'll sit down together (virtually) and see how we an best help you.