Why Do Small Businesses Need An Accountant?

It is essential for small businesses to employ the services of a professional accountant who will always be on top of the changing laws and regulations and, more importantly, will know what applies to your company.

Accountants offer an in-house accounting service so you as a business owner can focus on managing and building your business.

Below is a brief list of some services your Accountant is able to provide:

  •  Advice on raising finance, an accountant can advise whether new capital assets should be purchased or leased, whether cash for the business should be raised by taking loan or increasing an overdraft.
  • Give advice on minimising tax by making full and proper use of allowable expenses.
  • Business planning, a way in which to translate ideas into plans with profit forecast, break-even analysis and business performance analysis etc.
  • Bookkeeping
  • Preparation of year-end accounts
  • Correct payment of taxes
  • Guidance and assistance through an Audit if necessary
  • An overall understanding of your financial needs

PATC is the ideal solution for any business that may need an accountant to assist with all the unavoidable administration that goes with running a small business.

Consult a accountant today…your first consultation is FREE!

Trying To Decide Whether You Need An Accountant?

Many small business owners have weighed up the merits of getting an accountant. The main question being will it be worth it?  When your operating budget is rather frugal, deciding whether you need an accountant could lead to sleepless nights.

To help you decide on what is most appropriate you must first appreciate the serious implications to a business when irregularities due to accounting mistakes are identified during an audit or on a tax submission. Suspected tax evasion carries a significant fine and, or jail term. A large corporation or small business could suffer irreparable damage to reputation or worse, the business may not be able to recover after the negative financial setback. These are some of the important reasons why you would need an accountant.

Good accounting practice is essential right from when a business starts trading. At inception some small business owners may feel that the low trading volume simply necessitates them keeping the customer receipts and invoices, until ‘things pick up.’ Once more good practice suggests that a business should keep a simple, but thorough record of all transactions and be able to produce reports as and when needed. Just as an excellent financial management system is foundational, so too is a poor financial management system.

The main reason you need an accountant is to ensure that your accounts will be prepared by a knowledgeable and experienced person who will pay meticulous attention to detail. If costs are a serious challenge you can do some of the set up and preparatory work yourself and consider some options online. Yes, it is possible to find a good account at reasonable rates online. Although the start-up may choose to undertake some fundamental steps in the accounting process it is not recommended for the entrepreneur to handle the entire process. In any event, there are steps which would necessitate a qualified accountant.

A prospective small business owner would need an accountant as a consultant right from the start of the process. This is advantageous since the accountant can familiarise themselves with your business at this early stage and you are able to choose the best person to work with from the start. When selecting you should aim to find someone who understands your position and can advise you on how to best handle your financial administration.

The professional you consider should be experienced in small business accounting, and preferably have worked with businesses that are in the same industry. For instance, you need an accountant who understands the nuances of small business practice. Many small businesses owners miss the opportunity to claim tax savings, rebates or credits due to them. In this example one needs someone who fully understands what expenses can be claimed such as travel, home office costs and even childcare in order to benefit here. A carefully chosen small business accountant will pay for themselves in the medium to long term.

Let us help you decide whether an accountant is necessary or not. Contact us for your FREE first consult.

 

What Qualifications Does a Professional Accountant Have?

The accounting industry consists of a large number of general and specialised professional accountants, who choose to either pursue qualifications that enable them to work as all round account practitioners, or develop their skills and expertise within a specialised accounting niche. Many accountants begin their career with a general tertiary education such as a Bachelor of Accounting Science (BCompt) degree, before choosing specialised fields. Accounting can also be completed as a major subject for those studying a BCom general, or a BCom in finance, economics or even management.

Post-graduate qualifications vary depending on specific fields within accounting, with a wide range of qualifications for each area. Some of the qualifications for professional accountants within various areas of the industry include the following:

  • Chartered Accountant – qualification: CA. These accountants deal with financial management and consultancy, and are governed by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
  • Associate General Accountant – qualification: AGA. Duties include general accounting, with the accounting body being the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
  • Registered Auditor and Accountant – qualification: RAA. These professional accountants deal with all auditing duties, and are governed by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors.
  • Chartered Management – qualification: CM. Duties include Accountant Management and Cost Accounting, and accountants are registered with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
  • Professional Accountant – qualification: Professional Accountant (SA). These accountants perform all services, with specialised sub-categories and are governed by the South African Institute of Professional Accountants.
  • Registered Accounting Officer – qualification: IACAO. Duties are general accounting services, with the Institute of Administration and Commerce governing this area of accounting.
  • Certified Junior/Senior Bookkeeper – qualification: CJBIcb/ CSBIcb. Duties include bookkeeping, payroll, SARS returns plus cost and management accounting functions (juniors do not perform income tax services) and bookkeepers are registered with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.
  • Tax Practitioner – qualification: Registered Tax Practitioner. Core areas include tax planning, returns and advice, and professional accountants specialising in tax services are registered with the South African Revenue Services.

Looking for a professional accountant for your individual or business tax or accounting needs? Contact us for a FREE first consult today.

Characteristics of a Professional Accountant

The role of a professional accountant is a vital one, assisting clients with financial matters that are often highly confidential. Accountants perform a number of tasks within this role, including book keeping, VAT, PAYE, Provisional Tax, financial statements, business plans and many other services. While accounting skills and education are the foundation of any accounting professional, there are a number of additional characteristics that are required of a professional accountant.

These include the following traits:

  •  Skills, knowledge and expertise

The most critical traits of any accounting professional is a solid education that provides a broad range of skills, knowledge and expertise within the various aspects of accounting services. Training ensures that accountants are fully versed across all accounting skills, so that they are able to perform tasks that are required of them. Without adequate education and training, accountants are not able to provide a high level of service excellence to clients, and also run the very serious risk of making mistakes or other lapses of judgment caused by a lack of understanding.

  •  Commitment to strong values

A number of values need to be held by a professional accountant, including integrity, accountability, reliability, ethics, moral reasoning, honesty, trustworthiness and confidentiality. These values play an important role, and help to ensure that accountants follow a strong set of internal rules that govern the way that they do business on a daily basis.

  •  Belongs to a recognised accountancy body

Accountants should also belong to a recognised accountancy body that ensures that they are subject to the disciplinary powers of that body. Some of the bodies within South Africa include Southern African Accounting Association, Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, Chartered Secretaries of South Africa, The South African Institute of Professional Accountants, Institute of Commercial and Financial Accountants of SA and South African Institute of Tax Practitioners.

  • Upholds professional standards

The accountant must also uphold professional standards and approaches within the disciplines of recording, analysing, measuring, reporting, forecasting and offering advice and support in financial, management and strategic decisions, thereby adding value for their clients and stakeholders. Professional conduct plays an essential part of the accountant’s role, and is closely linked to the commitment of values.

  • Commitment to on-going professional development

The final important trait of an accounting professional is the commitment to consistent professional development. Whether this is continuing to broaden their skills, obtain further qualifications within the industry, or any other professional achievements, it is crucial that the professional accountant is committed to improving their skills on a continuous basis.

Contact PATC (Professional Accountants and Tax Consultants) for a reliable accountant.