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Author Topic: Fees from accountant (ASIC annual fee)  (Read 5941 times)
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benny
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« on: 04/03/2011, 11:14:20 AM »

I have a company setup for trading shares.

Recently, I received an ASIC Annual fee (218.00) from my accountant. That's not a problem but I wanted to see if it is normal for the accountants to charge 275.00 to send me the invoice from ASIC. I'm sure their work would be very minimal - receive the ASIC invoice, check it over then forward it to me.

Am I being charged properly? Hoping to hear back from seasoned traders with similar setup.

Thanks
Ben
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Ronny Meeuw
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« Reply #1 on: 04/03/2011, 12:04:14 PM »

Hello Benny,

Having worked in accounting firms, it is most likely that they have charged for time spent on handling the annual review notice from ASIC.  They can do that.  You may want to talk to your accountant to clarify the difference between their invoice and the ASIC fees - you may be able to have the amount credited.

To avoid this in future, I suggest that you change the registered office address and/or correspondence address with ASIC to your preferred address.  It is not difficult to do and any notices will be sent to where you would like them sent.

I hope that this helps.
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Bruce Meers
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« Reply #2 on: 04/03/2011, 12:50:04 PM »

I have a some what different issue with Accounting Fees - I have a self managed super fund that has been running for approx 3 years - I had not been doing a lot of trading however for the past tax year 2009-10 there were approx 50 trades I use CBS as a broker and what I had done was group each individual buy and sell of a stock together in  a spreadsheet so that it was easy for the accountant to track the movement of the shares and feed this info into their system 
The other week my accountant called me in to go over the results for the year trading and present his A/c which was a 150% increase on the previois years costs - I challanged his A/c and all he could say was that there was a lot of complience work that need to be done - he also made the point that the more I trade the bigger the tax bill will be - I find it very difficult to accept his rational of how his costs for the preperation of the tax return are calculated
I always had the feeling that my accountant was ripping me off and this new A/c for services renderd has confirmed this to  me
I have seen other threads on the forum about accountancy fees and would be interested in other peoples feed back
I live in Sydney and am obviously looking for a new accountant - if anyone can make any recomendations of an accountant who understands share trading

Cheers
Bruce Meers   
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Shirley
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« Reply #3 on: 04/03/2011, 12:57:01 PM »

My Accountant also ripped me off and then made numerous errors.  It seemed I did more work than him and the errors were the final straw.

I now used Cavendish superannuation for the accounting work required for my SMSF.   They charge a flat fee regardless of the number of trades.  Here is the link:   http://www.cavendishsuper.com.au/index.php

All the information is provided electronically (ie email copies of contract notes, monthly statements etc) so I would assume it would not matter whether they were based near you.
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Ronny Meeuw
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« Reply #4 on: 04/03/2011, 02:02:22 PM »

I'm sure that I'll be fighting a losing battle with defending accountants, however, in answer to looking for a new accountant, you may wish to contact the professional accounting bodies; i.e. Institute of Chartered Accountants or the CPA's.  Explain to them what you are after and they will be able to provide you with some suitable firms to use.

When using the professional services of an accountant, solicitor, etc, it is always best to clarify what you expect to have them do and what they expect you to do for them.  I know it sounds basic, however this is a critical step in setting the ground rules.  If you want to work through everything from scratch, they will charge you.  If you provide detailed workings of trades, etc this will reduce the time spent and the costs. 

I always ask if there is anything that you can do to reduce the fees after the establishment of the "ground rules".  It could save some dollars.

I hope that this helps.
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Fiona
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« Reply #5 on: 04/03/2011, 02:55:32 PM »

Have to agree with Ronny.  I basically do the basic book keeping for our S/F and our trading company myself, to the extent possible.  All the balancing etc.  This usually alerts me to any missing info or problems, which I can get to the bottom of before the accountant gets confused and wastes time/money on it.  This does reduce costs.  It includes my trading to the extent that I can.  This depends on the kind of files that I receive from my broker.  Unfortunately, CBS does not give me excel files.  However, my accountant seemed happy with what I gave them, even though to me, the CBS stuff was hard to reconcile. 

Also, the other year I paid considerably larger fees when I used some products my accountant knew little about, including a managed fund with a warrant structure and other more conventional instalment warrants for market trading.  Had to get legal advice to confirm it was all OK (it was, but my accountant AND auditor didn't know this).  Going backwards and forwards with people who were so unfamiliar with this kind of product that they had to educate themselves at my expense was time consuming for all of us, and expensive for me.  I did switch accountants after that.  It's important  and cheaper to have an accountant who is familiar with the kind of investing you do. 
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benny
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« Reply #6 on: 04/03/2011, 03:01:56 PM »

Thanks Shirley. I'll have a look at the website tonight.

The accountant I use was recommended here by others who use them, the firm is in Melbourne and I'm in Sydney (no distance issues at all). I have no problems with their work, I received a big fat return over the last 2 years that I used them. But who's to say another firm wouldn't have achieved the same/similar result for me.

I just don't like the feeling of being 'had' and when I get a $275 invoice for forwarding the ASIC annual invoice I feel 'had'. Especially when I've had a conversation with them already about recurring costs of having a company. The $275 was a surprise!
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David Sayer
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« Reply #7 on: 04/03/2011, 04:48:26 PM »

Benny,
My Ex Accountants also charged me $300 per year as a flat admin fee, which included forwarding my ASICs annual bill. Essentially I was paying to use their mail box and for some low level accounting/secretarial costs. Money for Jam for them!

I have since changed accountants and my registered business address. The NEW accountant is purely a fee for service provider who is currently more than happy to offer small additional advice/service as part of my major bills. I call that customer service/retention. A balance of responsibility that I respect.

But to keep the presentation fair, most major service companies charge an hourly rate or in some cases per 10 minutes. This may seem absurd to many of us that get a fixed wage for 40 odd hours of work but that's the situation. So when you start a relationship with a new accountant, lawyer or any company get them to state exactly what the base charges are and what that includes, in writing. ie: Where is your money going!

Regards,
David
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