Tax Planning with a Tax Advisor can be SO Boring!
The perspective from a non-accountant guy…
Having spent the last 5 years working alongside an Accountancy firm (aka Catalyst Accountants), I’d like to express my thoughts on the term “Tax Planning” delivered by your tax advisor.
For some it may be a term they’ve never herd of, for others it may conjure up images a boring meeting, with a super conservative professional, speaking lots of big words, phrases and concepts that you really don’t understand. In the end you simply put your hands up and say,
“I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying, but as long as you reckon it’s the best thing for me, then I’m in”
And so, each year you have such a meeting with your accountant, in trust that it is worth your while.
Now let me break this down a bit to what your most likely thinking.
Tax Planning Meeting
Tax = Such a horrible word to most of us.
Planning = Something you know you should do more of but really, you’re just too busy!
Meeting = Boring!
The thing is, making sure you have a Tax Planning Meeting each year is critical to the ongoing success and viability of your business. So, let’s look at it from a different angle, the angle of the Tax Advisor, and what they hope to achieve by you having an annual Tax Planning Meeting.
A New Approach
Tax = We may not like it, but we all must pay it. However, your accountant spends his life being the expert in this area and takes absolute pride in finding the best way for you to minimise your tax, stay compliant and keep cash in your business. So, the accountant really is thinking about creating cashflow for you.
Planning = We’ve heard it before, without a plan, we plan to fail. But this is what these guys are good at. The key here is that you are thinking ahead of time, before the end of financial year has already come and gone. So again, from your accountant’s point of view, it’s creating a strategy that’s prepared ahead of time. There are much better tax savings to be made if you look at your situation prior to 30 June as opposed to after your financials are completed.
Meeting = This is just the mechanism used to agree on the strategy, but it is so much more than just agreeing to a strategy. It is a dynamic environment where you talk about all things business and personally related. It’s your opportunity to provide greater context of the bigger picture, your longer-term goals, and bring your accountant up to speed on how the business is developing. All this context, helps you decide together what is the best combination of strategies to use now. If it was as easy as a mathematical equation, you wouldn’t need the meeting at all. But it’s not, there is so much more to consider than just the numbers. So, this is more about real discussions with real people with context to the bigger picture.
So, let me see how I can better phrase a “Tax Planning Meeting” so it is not considered boring and is more representative of what it really means to your business.
- Creating a strategy that’s prepared ahead of time.
- Real discussions with real people with context to the bigger picture.
- Creating cash flow for you and your business
So…Thinking Ahead, with Business Context, to improve Cashflow.
Proactive | Goal Orientated | Cashflow Management,
Let’s just call it a SUCCESS SESSION
A Helpful Tool
I’m not sure how successful I’ve been at re-positioning the boring Tax Planning Meeting, but at least you may be able to see more so, what should happen through the process and how it can be used as a useful tool in your business arsenal to drive your company forward.
To help you a little further, in conjunction with Catalyst Accountants we’ve developed this handy Tax Planning (Success Session) Checklist to help you put your business on the front foot and give your Tax Advisor every advantage in doing his or her best job for you this Tax Planning season.
Some final words of advice to get the most from your “Proactive, Goal Orientated, Cashflow Management Session”
It’s a Two-Way Street
Don’t leave it solely up to your Accountant to weave their magic. Ask yourself what you can do to make the outcomes better? Is there additional information you can provide? Can you get it to them sooner, can you more accurately forecast your end of year income and expenses? This is where our handy Tax Planning checklist comes into play.
Not Just About Tax
Tax Planning, is more than what the name suggests. It’s an opportunity to talk about all things impacting your business. So, come prepared with a list of opportunities you see available to you currently as well as issues you are facing. The more often you can be in front of your accountant the better. You’ll often discuss many other issues facing your business which leads me to the final point.
It’s Not Expensive to have a Meeting with your Accountant
A myth I’d like to dispel is that ‘having meetings with professionals is expensive’. In fact, I disagree completely. You see, your annual billing from your accountant is typically made up of a whole bunch of hours conducted by your accountant and his team, behind closed doors, in their office working on all the numbers and technical stuff.
The amount of direct face to face time you have with your accountant is often minimal, but it can be the most valuable.
The stuff behind closed doors is typically just compliance and execution type of work. While the conversations you have your Accountant allow for a dynamic conversation flow where you have a highly educated and up to date brain at your disposal in a live environment. I encourage you to ask many questions, utilise your professional as a sounding board who has a breadth of experience that you can rely upon, rather that just testing your ideas out with your mates down at the local.
Every minute you can spend in front of your guy, is worth 10x of that spent behind their desk. (in my opinion)
Authored by Michael Harper from Bizscaping – The Business Accelerator
If you haven’t booked your Boring Tax Planning Meeting yet, best you get on to it! Just remember to ask for a Success Session instead.Download the Checklist
Catalyst Accountants conduct an intensive Tax Planning season each year through out May & June. Be sure to get yourself organised and have your session early to allow plenty of time to implement the strategies that will no doubt come from it.
Note: Typically the tax savings you’ll make by engaging in ‘Tax Planning’ will be far greater than the actual cost of the service itself.