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How Much Should Accounting Cost a Small Business?

When you’re running a small business, you know how important it is to keep an eye on all your costs. You might have been wondering whether your accountant is worth their fee. Couldn’t you log on to the IRD’s website and use an accounting software for your small business to do it all yourself? There are arguments both for and against this. In this blog, we’ll discuss when it makes sense to pay for an accountant, how much you can expect these services to cost, and what could affect the price you pay. If you’re looking for a skilled team of online accountants to help manage your business’ finances, Consol Group can help. Contact us at 0800 001 851 to learn more about our services.

When Could An Accountant Save You Money?

If your tax position is at all complicated, it’s worth turning to a professional for advice instead of simply relying on accounting software for your small business. A qualified accountant could potentially save you large amounts of money that your business could otherwise lose simply because of what you don’t know.

If you have worked overseas, you might have financials spread across multiple countries. These could include foreign superannuations, cash deposits, investments, or mortgage property in New Zealand and elsewhere. Plus, you also risk being hit with unexpected taxes, for example, if changes in foreign exchange rates result in ‘capital gains’ on your holdings.

Drama of Audits

An accountant can help you avoid the drama of audits and severe tax penalties due to regulations you might not even be aware of, which an accounting software for your small business would be unlikely to show you. Professional accountants can also advise you on the best possible way to structure your holdings, to minimise the impact of costs on your tax bills.

An accountant can also act as an intermediary between the IRD and their client. Your accountant can negotiate arrangements with the IRD, which might reduce penalties and interest.

What’s more, tax laws aren’t just complex – they’re constantly changing and evolving, especially as governments come in and out of office. Staying on top of them requires real specialist knowledge and up-to-date information. For instance, did you know that the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants’ CEO employs a separate chartered accountant to handle his personal taxes because taxation isn’t his specialty?

Accounting software for your small business can be more cost-effective if you only need to handle straightforward tax returns. But if there is any complexity in your financials, the best option is to work with a professional accountant. They’ll help you avoid running into undesirable surprises come tax season, and save you more in the long run.

How Much Can I Expect To Pay, And What For?

Accountants should either charged fixed fees for their work or be upfront about an hourly rate and provide you with an estimate of the overall cost. If this estimate is likely to be breached, a professional accountant should immediately approach their client to discuss this.

Professional accounting services can cost between NZD1200 – 2000 a year for a small business. The specific price depends on whether they help set you up with accounting software for your small business, the complexity of your business’ needs, how comprehensive your services are, and the accountant’s skills and experience.

A typical accounting package will usually include services such as:

  • End Of Year Accounts
  • Income Tax Returns
  • Preparing GST Returns
  • Annual Financial Statements and Tax Returns
  • Management Reports and Statements
  • Tax And Provisional Tax Management
  • ACC Reviews
  • Companies Office Records Management

There are also ways you can save some of the costs if you manage a little bookkeeping yourself. Using accounting software for your small business to prepare your accounts can free up your accountant’s time- and reduce your costs. Your accountant can also focus on providing you with business and structuring advice and how you could save your money.

What Factors Can Affect The Cost Of An Accountant?

Accountants charge by time. This means that the better your information is presented, the quicker your accountant will be able to complete their work, resulting in more cost-effective services.

Here are other factors that can affect how much your accountant costs:

A Larger Or More Complicated Workload

If you inadvertently entered your data poorly in Xero, MYOB or similar accounting software for a small business, it could take much longer for your accountant to sort out your accounts.

Complicated situations, like a change in business operations, can also result in your accountant needing more time to complete their work, leading to higher charges.

Missing Information

If your accountant has to request more information from you, this will demand more of their time, resulting in higher costs. It’s worth asking your accountant whether they have checklists you can use, so you can make sure that you’re providing them with all the information that they need.

Changing Costs Of Wages

Costs of living rise year on year, which causes wages to rise, too. Due to this, both accounting firms and accounting software for small business usually increase their prices over time. This is why you might notice that you are paying more for your accounting than you did in previous years.

As you can see, an accountant can help you with much more than just basic tax and compliance work. The right accountant could make life much easier for you and offer you advice that would save you considerably on taxes.

The team at Consol Group are New Zealand’s leading online accountants. If you’re looking for skilled professionals who can help take your business’ financial management off your shoulders and make sure you’re not paying more in tax than you need, get in touch with us at 0800 001 851.

If you couldn't find your answer, or are unsure about the information provided, please don't hesitate to contact one of our dedicated accountants at today!


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Curtis and Katie Hacon Director, FiTiki Limited

"I had put off finding an accountant for a while because of the cost and perceived hassle however after my first consult with Consol, I immediately wished I had connected with them sooner. Consol are responsive, affordable and easy to deal with. Being able to outsource this aspect of my business has allowed me to focus more energy on the parts of my work that I love. "

Dr Rebecca Herald Clinical Psychologist

"I have been most impressed with Consol accounting team since I made the switch last year. The ‘Switching over’ process was really simple, after the initial set up process I can track and log my company’s financial activity with ease and accuracy. By far the most efficient and helpful service I’ve had with accounting companies. Thank you"

Vivien Ye Aesthetic Nurse Specialist, Vivip Limited

"I started out in full-time private practice over a year ago and also registered as a limited company. I love doing my work and seeing my clients, but I soon discovered just how much time doing the financials could take up. In the first year, I worked on my own tax returns and company statements, but was unsure I had done them “right” and really wanted an accountant’s expertise and guidance. From my first phone call to Andrew Joo of Consol Accounting Limited, I could tell that this service would meet my needs. He has been quick to respond, patient with me, great at teaching lots and is a Xero master user. I find the system easy to use now, and feel encouraged to get the most out of my business and confident in knowing that I will meet my tax obligations. Compared to how long it took me to struggle at doing this on my own, there is clear value in getting the professionals to do my accounting."

Dr. T Melanie Lage, MNZCCP Clinical Psychologist, Lakes Psychology Limited

“I had been searching for an option for my accounting for my business I found Consol to be so easy to get started with the team being available at nearly every point in the day! Highly recommended all those that have busy lives and need to free up some time.”

Andre Stewart Tremains Real Estate, Bay of Plenty

"Consol are great to work with responsive when I have questions, quick to prepare any necessary document and always willing to help if there's anything I'm unsure of. Very happy to have found them."

Stefan Dyke Director, SLHE Consulting Limited

"I would genuinely recommend Consol for all your financial and accounting needs. I needed an accountant quickly to help me find my feet starting up a rapid business. I genuinely had hundreds of thoughts and questions and wanted to do things right first time ... it was all a bit daunting, exciting and a steep learning curve. Andrew Joo was so supportive as he instantly responded to all my needs and then coached me through a solution and helped me understand the minefields at first . It’s really easy now the business is booming and all my accounting is taken care of so I can enjoy the fruits of my labour. I still reach out occasionally and have the answer super quick.. thanks to Consol."

Karl Jones Director, Retail Resilience

"I had just started out in business and soon realised that someone was going to have to help me with my accounting and tax compliance functions. I was very conscious of the need to be vigilant about incurring any new costs, consequently I did a fair bit of research. I came up with the conclusion that I could get everything I wanted, under one roof, from Consol Accounting, at the most competitive rate I could find on the market. It was a win-win. After joining their team I discovered there were a lot of loose ends to sow-up before I could start functioning effectively, and focus solely on running the business side. Andrew, the Founder from Consol Accounting, was an absolute God-send. He was very personal and approachable, and made setting everything up from scratch so easy and so quickly. I’ve basically been running on auto-pilot each month ever since. Just as I had planned. Thanks for your service, guys, best decision I made."

Andre Illemann Like No Other Limited, trading as GoodMooty

"I operate 3 businesses. As a busy owner I needed reliable accountant. I have been using Andrew as my accountant almost for a year and this is my second accountant. I commited transition as one of my friends recommended him and now I thankful to him. Andrew and his team provide a prompt sound and reliable service that is always professional. Andrew is always on hand to answer my queries and it is very professional and prompt in replies even on weekends and publicholidays. He has wide range of knowledge and experience in service of accounting and taxation. He has been helping me out with tax deduction and meximisation of profit. I can highly recommend him to others as he is very motivated and trusted. I would like to make longtime relationship with him and his team."

Steve Kong Director, Katsubi Hamilton & Tauranga

"When I need to get help with my finances and taxation since starting my own business, Andrew at Consol Accounting has advised me on the right approach. Professional and a great experience overall, I strongly recommend Consol Accounting to everyone who needs to get support for taxation."

Michael Park Director, Renewcar East
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