Isn't there a risk of being ripped off?

People are rightly concerned about risks - especially associated with the Internet. So how do you know we are who we say we are, and not, for example, a Nigerian (for example) scam operation?

Well, you can first check the white or yellow pages online to make sure we're at least consistent with that. And you can check with the CPA Australia website to make sure our professional credentials are valid.

So is it the same as a "real" accountant or business consultant?

That still doesn't guarantee that we actually meet your needs. And in fact, we might not. There are some things we do (and we believe we do them better than many) - and other things we don't do. For example, we don't handle boxes of papers - or client monies. Audits are outside our scope. And we don't form trusts (see your lawyer for that) - although we do account for them for our clients. Nor do we sell insurance. And so on.

The question is, how should you choose a professional accountant or business consultant? Is location relevant? And there are situations where it might be. For example, if you need someone local to do your invoicing, or your payroll, for example, then you might need someone local - or at least who provides those services. We don't. We see our connecting to your system over the Internet so we can look together at issues as one of our big advantages. We can resolve issues with your system without either of us leaving our offices - and best of all, once you learn the right way to deal with an issue, we won't have to keep on fixing problems in the future. People like to talk about "win-win" situations - but this really is a case of both of us winning.

And what about our risks?

And the other side of the equation is our risk. Even before the Internet became so popular we have served businesses outside our geographic area. And then, as now, there is always a risk we will be exploited for whatever reason - but particularly in an attempt to get advantageous accounts and tax treatment. But that risk is the same with "real" clients - it hasn't been introduced with the Internet. And the fact that we operate only with more easily controlled systems means that in our experience clients are more likely to need our help and less likely to be looking to pull a swiftly.

There is one other aspect to this. We actually reduce your risk on most assignments. Normal accounting work is paid by monthly A/P during the year concerned. We guarantee to do your work and be your accountant for that time. There's no adding up the time and coming up with a bill which may or may not be what you expected. Of course, if we are asked to do something which we feel is outside the scope of our agreement, we will quote for that separately. Business development work is usually quoted for each piece of the work.