- How easy is it to switch to CapitalQ?
- How much does it cost?
- What guarantees do you provide?
- Am I locked in to a contract?
- If I’m behind in my books, including lost receipts and/or invoices, can you help me?
- What information do you require from me?
- Do we get charged for quick queries, calls and emails?
- Do you charge by the hour, if so, what is the rate?
- Who is my primary Contact?
- Can Tax Refunds be used to pay my fees?
- When are our Tax Returns due?
- When is our Tax Due?
- What happens if I lodge an Income Tax Return late?
- What happens if I pay the tax late?
- What if I can’t afford to pay the tax?
- Do you travel to us?
- What is the best way to contact you?
- How are you different to other Accountants and Advisers who never seem to return calls and emails?
- Do you offer Financial Planning?
- Can you help with Insurance?
- Can you help with Wills and Estate Planning?
- What about Centrelink and Family Assistance Office issues?
- Can you help with Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (otherwise referred to as SMSFs)?
- Can you help with obtaining Finance?
- I’m buying (or starting) a business, can you help assess whether it is a good idea?
- Do you help with Business Plans?
- Do you run seminars, workshops or other information sessions?
- How long does the work take?
- Do you provide bookkeeping services?
- How often do we meet with our Accountant?
- You mention you use Xero Online Accounting, I have not heard of it before, what is it? How is it different to other accounting systems?
- How easy is Xero to use?
- With Xero, how much time will I need to spend on my books?
- I’m nervous about cyber security, is cloud-based accounting safe?
- With Xero can I access my books from my mobile?
- I currently use another accounting system, do I have to change to Xero?
1How easy is it to switch to CapitalQ?
Very easy and painless, we do most of it for you. All you need to do is –
- Sign your Engagement Letter including your service and fee agreement,
- If you have one or more Companies, sign an ASIC Form 362 and Form 484, one each per Company, and
- Provide us with access to your current accounting system and/or records.
We will then contact your old Accountant on your behalf, to arrange the transfer of any Permanent Records they may hold. It’s that easy, you’ll be up and running straight away.
(Of course if you would like to advise your former Accountant of your decision to change personally, you will have the chance to do so before we make any contact.)
2How much does it cost?
It depends on what your requirements are of course, and how much you are committed to taking your business to the next level. Simple Individual Tax Returns start from $300 plus GST. Business tax returns generally start from $1,500 plus GST, though of course it all depends on the size and complexity of the business and very importantly its accounting procedures and systems. Further, we generally only work with Clients who we have regular on going contact with as we assist them with much more than just lodging a tax return at the end of the year. That being the case, we generally agree a monthly fee to cover agreed ongoing services that way ensuring there are no surprises and the cost of our services can be spread out over the year for better cashflow management.
We will be upfront… the truth is we are not the cheapest and we don’t try to be. If you are seeking the cheapest you are not a good fit for us (we would also encourage you to reconsider your business and wealth building strategy as in our experience few people truly get ahead by cost cutting alone and avoiding seeking advice and assistance from true specialists in order to save a few dollars).
What we would argue and what we back up with our outrageous, industry first guarantees is our fee is more than justified by the service we deliver and the results we achieve for our Clients, so in fact we are not a cost, partnering with us is instead a wise investment.
3What guarantees do you provide?
You are covered in 2 powerful ways, by the CapitalQ 7-point Customer Service Guarantee AND our “Industry First” Formerly 6, NOW 7-point Taxation and Advice Peace of Mind 100% Satisfaction Guarantee – follow the links for the details. It’s that easy, you’ll be up and running straight away.
4Am I locked in to a contract?
We are not like phone companies, you are not locked into anything. Equally, you get to choose the level of support you need. We can design a service arrangement to suit you including upfront agreed fixed prices.
Our clients are happy and tend to hang around! But if for some reason you did have to leave, you simply pay for the work done to date, nothing more.
5If I’m behind in my books, including lost receipts and/or invoices, can you help me?
Yes, of course. We’ve seen EVERYTHING in people’s businesses and nothing surprises us. So no matter how “bad” you think your books are (or how “good”) we can help you get back on track so you move ahead with the confidence that only comes from knowing your finances are in order.
6What information do you require from me?
For most tasks, including the preparation and lodgement of your annual Income Tax Return, we will provide you with a Questionnaire and Checklist covering all the key pieces of information and documentation we will require from you.
We do this so all relevant matters are considered and addressed, ensuring you comply with all your legal obligations but also ensuring every opportunity to minimise your tax is considered. And it helps us perform our work in the quickest and most efficient manner possible.
If things are missed, if we have to go back and forth requesting more and more information, the process will slow and the cost will increase. Therefore, using the Questionnaires and Checklists and ensuring everything is provided promptly and upfront will help keep things moving smoothly and keep the costs under control.
7Do we get charged for quick queries, calls and emails?
If we have agreed an ongoing set of services with a fixed monthly fee we generally include quick queries, calls and emails FREE of charge (subject to our Fair Use Polices).
In this case, if a particular query can’t be easily answered, and instead requires time, research and/or formal advice, we will advise you as such upfront, provide an estimate of the cost to undertake the work if requested and where possible, and then seek your approval to proceed.
For substantial pieces of advice, an upfront payment of 50% of the Estimated Fee will be required before we commence. The balance will be payable within 14 days of provision of our advice.
8Do you charge by the hour, if so, what is the rate?
Where ever possible we will agree a fee structure with you so charging by the hour is generally not required. Where this is not possible or in the case of one off tasks, like all professional businesses, our time is recorded and charged in reference to time incurred and the value of the advice or service provided.
Hourly Rates vary by Team Member, based on their qualifications, experience and role. They are reviewed each year on 1 July, and are available on request at any time.
As at the time of updating this FAO (being January 2020), our applicable Hourly Rates range from $75 to $95 per hour for a Junior Accountant, between $100 and $150 per hour for Administrators to Intermediate Accountants and between $255 and $325 per hour for Client Managers (being Qualified Chartered Accountants or Certified Practising Accountants).
Our Director only undertakes high level advice and specific project work so he generally does not charge by the hour but where required will agree an appropriate fee structure upfront on a case by case basis.
9Who is my primary Contact?
Each Client is allocated to a Client Manager who is the individual primarily responsible for the servicing of your needs.
We do however always ensure you have at least two known points of contact and we aim where possible to have multiple Team Members who work on and are up to speed with your affairs. That way if a particular Team Member is unavailable, there is someone else who knows your affairs and can help.
This is important because we encourage our Team to take holidays (not build them up), to travel, to enjoy the lifestyle their hard work should provide, so you need to be aware we can’t guarantee a particular individual will always be available.
10Can Tax Refunds be used to pay my fees?
Yes, we operate a Client Trust Account which is audited each year and into which ALL Client Tax Refunds are paid by the ATO (this is a compulsory business rule, it allows us to manage refunds more efficiently and to address any issues that arise promptly and in the most efficient manner). Funds received into our Client Trust Account therefore can be used to pay fees as required.
11When are our Tax Returns due?
When you engage CapitalQ to prepare and lodge your Income Tax Returns, and you have a good lodgement history, you automatically qualify for lodgement extensions above and beyond those provided to everyone else.
Most Income Tax Returns become due on 15 May of the year after the end of the financial year (ie. For the year ended 30 June 2018, the Income Tax Return will often not be due until 15 May 2019). In some cases, we may even be able to secure extensions beyond that date too. For larger tax payers, earlier due dates could apply, so we will need to review your tax history and current position to be able to determine your actual due date.
If you don’t have a good lodgement history, your Income Tax Returns will remain due on 31 October after the year end. However, as soon as we help get your affairs in order, you will once again become eligible for the extensions in future years.
Having said all that, we always encourage you to have Tax Returns prepared as soon as possible, rather than leaving it until close to the due date. This ensures the job is not rushed, it ensures adequate opportunity is provided for planning opportunities and fine tuning if required. It helps with finance applications when the need arises. It is also the best way to stay on top of your affairs and to budget and plan for tax payments.
We have a number of videos about the due date for tax returns, check them out –
12When is our Tax Due?
As with lodgement extensions, when you engage CapitalQ, and you have a good lodgement history, you also qualify for payment extensions.
Due dates will vary for different size Tax Payers and depending on when you actually lodge.
But generally, the earliest your tax will be due is 28 February of the year after the end of the financial year (ie. For the year ended 30 June 2018, the Tax Payment is generally not due before 21 February 2019).
In fact for the majority of our Clients the due dates are even much later than that. Depending on your circumstances, you may also be required to make regular tax payments, usually quarterly, throughout the year, but if this is the case we will ensure you are informed in advance and fully aware of your obligations.
Again our videos above.
13What happens if I lodge an Income Tax Return late?
Generally a “Failure to Lodge Penalty” will be applied by the ATO (though there are exceptions).
The Penalty may be applied once your Return is late, prior to actual lodgement.
Once the Return is lodged, under certain circumstances an application can be made requesting the ATO waive any such penalty applied. We traditionally have a lot of success with such applications, but only once we demonstrate we have helped a Client get their affairs in order (not before).
Remember, failing to lodge is a prosecutable offence with much more potentially serious consequences than just a fine. So don’t let things get out of control.
We have some videos about the “real” consequences of having tax obligations outstanding and overdue, so check them out –
14What happens if I pay the tax late?
Interest will be charged by the ATO on any late payments.
The rate of interest is revised by the ATO each quarter, though it is generally around 4% to 5% higher than standard home loan interest rates.
Once the tax is paid, we can often apply on your behalf to the ATO to have the interest waived. Again we have a good success rate with such applications.
15What if I can’t afford to pay the tax?
You must still lodge by the due date (or if already late, as soon as possible). Only then can we commence negotiations with the ATO to potentially secure a payment plan or other method of managing your debt.
Interest will continue to be applied to any outstanding amounts, however again, once the debt is paid in full, often we can apply on your behalf to the ATO to have the interest refunded.
The key is that we communicate with the ATO about your situation and that you continue to comply with your lodgement obligations.
Sticking your head in the sand and trying to ignore your obligations is most definitely NOT the answer as the issue will NOT just go away!
16Do you travel to us?
Generally the most cost-effective way for us to provide our services is for meetings to be held at our Office in East Perth. This reduces the time we incur (including travel time) and generally means we have access to all the information and tools we may require.
Of course there are times it is more appropriate to attend your premises and this most certainly will be arranged as required, though we will charge our travel time as well as any costs incurred in travelling to you (including parking, taxis, flights, etc).
17What is the best way to contact you?
Generally the best way to reach all of our Team Members is either at our Office, on 08 9228 7100 or via email. Of course each Team Member has a mobile and this is provided on their business cards and at a Client’s request.
Please note, while all our Team Members will go above and beyond to assist you, our personal time, like yours, is important and valuable, therefore we request you respect our Team Members’ personal time and abstain from calling mobiles outside of Office Hours, on Weekends, Public Holidays and when Team Members are on Leave.
18How are you different to other Accountants and Advisers who never seem to return calls and emails?
Easy! We are aware this is a common complaint in relation to many professionals and in particular Accountants. As a member of the CapitalQ Community you are covered by our industry leading 7-point Customer Service Guarantee (follow the link – you’ll love it)! We always return calls and we do so promptly. If you want proof, just ask, we will gladly give you the names of several Clients who you can ask to verify our claim.
19Do you offer Financial Planning?
Depends on what you mean by “financial planning”.
Often what many people believe they require in this regard is not actually what a Financial Planner does or in our opinion is not best provided by a Financial Planner.
As Qualified Accountants we provide wealth building assistance, strategies and advice. CapitalQ Business Advisers & Chartered Accountants however are not Financial Planners nor Financial Advisers as defined under the Corporations Act 2001(and frankly we don’t want to be). CapitalQ SMSF Specialists do hold an Australian Financial Services License, but it is limited only to matters relating to superannuation and specifically self-managed super, we can not recommend specific financial products, not sell you insurance and the like.
We feel we provide our Clients with all the most important elements of what they need in order to build the financial future they seek including planning, strategy, budgeting, forecasting, etc but we do so without being incentivised to sell you products and charge you a fee for funds under management.
We believe the majority of our Clients are capable of making their own specific investment decisions, certainly we believe in most cases they can do it as well, and at less cost, than many Financial Planners, so we are here to help them achieve their financial goals while they maintain their independence and control.
20Can you help with Insurance?
We are big believers in insurance (particularly personal insurances including Life, Total and Permanent Disability, and Income Protection) and we can explain to you why. However we are not authorised to sell you insurance and if we have recommended you consider such insurance, we would refer you to an Insurance Advisor who can help you assess and implement appropriate cover.
21Can you help with Wills and Estate Planning?
Yes! We have extensive experience regarding Estate Planning (substantially more than most other Accountants).
While a Solicitor is always required to assist in this regard because only they may prepare Wills and the other formal legal documents required to address Estate Planning matters, we play a vital role regarding the strategies and commercial realities of effective Estate Planning above and beyond what any Solicitor alone can do.
Where we help you with Estate Planning we will engage a Solicitor on your behalf, at a cost effective price, once all strategizing has been undertaken and a formal plan determined.
22What about Centrelink and Family Assistance Office issues?
No, we can’t assist directly with Centrelink and Family Assistance Office issues. Where information is requested by either of course we can help you collate and provide it as required. However, it is generally our aim to help you create sufficient income and wealth so you are NEVER reliant on social security and accordingly we do not specialise in this area.
23Can you help with Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (otherwise referred to as SMSFs)?
Absolutely. We encourage you to take control of your own destiny and that includes using a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (“SMSF”).
We have extensive experience with SMSFs and when the rules changed (effective 1 July 2016) regarding who can give advice about SMSFs, we obtained the appropriate license to enable us to continue to do so.
Many Accountants were unable to obtain such a license, or they signed on with a Financial Planning Dealer Group (usually owned by the big banks) to allow them to try to give SMSF advice.
Our qualifications and experience allowed us to obtain our own license and therefore to remain independent, free from a big corporate entity’s business rules, requirements to sell products and meet internal referral obligations.
24Can you help with obtaining Finance?
Yes we can and very importantly we assist in two key, complementary ways…
Firstly, CapitalQ Loans and Finance are licensed Finance Brokers, so we can assess your requirements and your position, advise on the best types of finance for you, recommend which loan products to consider from the different lenders (including all the big banks plus many more) and then attend to the application process and assist all the way to settlement.
Secondly, because we are the ones preparing your taxes, financial reports and other financial information lenders will require AND we know what they want to see, we are in a unique position to be able to help you present your affairs in the best possible light, avoid the traps of obtaining finance and ensure you get the loan you want, at the best possible rate and structured the way you need it.
25I’m buying (or starting) a business, can you help assess whether it is a good idea?
Of course! Any time you are considering starting or acquiring a business it is important to have someone experienced in owning and operating businesses to assist you in assessing the opportunity.
Any offer to purchase a business must include a Due Diligence clause, which means you and your Accountants are provided an opportunity to investigate the business and its affairs in detail and satisfy yourself that the business can achieve what they have advertised and what you expect. Performing Due Diligences are a vital step when purchasing a business. Business is a potentially high return investment, but a Due Diligence could save you from purchasing a dud.
If you’re starting a business, this is a very subjective process and ultimately the final decision whether to proceed remains yours.
But as experienced business owners and advisors we have a good understanding of what can and can’t work, how to analyse an idea and how to mitigate the risks of failure as much as is humanly possible. We will tell it like it is, and if what you are proposing doesn’t sound like it will work from a business perspective, we will help you modify your plans, or tell you straight out it is time to find another idea.
26Do you help with Business Plans?
Have you ever heard the saying, “No Business Plan has survived the first interaction with a Customer”?
The honest truth is, what many consider a traditional Business Plan has, in our opinion, limited value. This is especially considering the time and cost it takes to produce them.
Of course you must investigate your market, your competition, your point of difference, your capital requirements, your expected margins, your expected cash flow, etc, etc all of which we can help with, but when it comes to preparing the formal, traditional Business Plan, our advice is generally your time and money can be better spent in other ways.
From time to time financiers and banks will ask to see your Business Plan as a condition of their support. In those circumstances, the document that is required is substantially simpler than a traditional Business Plan and we certainly can assist in its preparation to help get you across the line.
27Do you run seminars, workshops or other information sessions?
We run regular seminars, workshops, webinars and information sessions throughout the year on a variety of important topics including tax, superannuation, accounting issues and the like. We also run events on business improvement, marketing and of course, property investing. We invite industry experts and guest speakers where appropriate.
Most of our Service Packages include invitations to exclusive events, others include free entry where a particular event attracts a fee.
Also, we do 1-on-1 and group training sessions on accounting, tax, Xero, business, wealth building, just ask.
28How long does the work take?
We generally aim to complete Year End Compliance Work (being formal Financial Statements and Income Tax Return preparation) within 2 weeks of commencement.
Where a Client’s Service Package includes ongoing accounting services throughout the year, this can often be even shorter due to the efficiencies achieved.
29Do you provide bookkeeping services?
We provide ongoing accounting and data processing services which you may consider akin to bookkeeping. That said, the standard of work we offer is far superior to that of a bookkeeper and the quality of information and regular Management Reports you will receive will far exceed the standard a bookkeeper can provide.
So in short, we can provide services that cover those a bookkeeper may provide and relieve you of the need for a bookkeeper, however we do not refer to what we do as “bookkeeping”!
30How often do we meet with our Accountant?
Our preference is to meet with you in person at least twice a year. Some of our Service Packages provide for even more frequent meeting opportunities. And of course whenever required and/or advantageous ad hoc meetings will be scheduled.
Naturally we are also in constant contact with you throughout the year. As a valued member of the CapitalQ Community, rest assured we will be an integral part of your day to day business activities!
31You mention you use Xero Online Accounting, I have not heard of it before, what is it? How is it different to other accounting systems?
Xero is a cloud based accounting system. Cloud based means you don’t install any software on any computers, and the data is not stored directly on any particular device either.
Instead you access the system online, via a web browser such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, etc and all of the data is stored on Xero’s servers which are located in various places around the world (and continually automatically backed up as well).
Cloud computing was new a couple years ago, the truth is it is rather common place these days. Though somewhat surprisingly accounting systems have been slow to catch up, and hence Xero has become, in our view, the market leader in this area.
The other great thing about Xero is it is very nice to use. There is no comparison to the traditional market leaders in MYOB and Quickbooks.
Having said all that, the best way to understand Xero, and really the only way to fully appreciate it is to see it in action, and we would be very glad to give you a demonstration, just ask.
32How easy is Xero to use?
Xero is a piece of cake and is popular for this reason. Honestly we can’t stress this enough, we have worked with them all, and Xero is BY FAR the easiest and most enjoyable accounting system to use. And if you ever need a hand, we are always here. You can raise a query with us directly from within the Xero system, or we’re just a phone call away. You’ll love it because you’ll know exactly where you’re at with your numbers.
33With Xero, how much time will I need to spend on my books?
That depends on the size and complexity of your affairs but one thing is certain: with CapitalQ on your team, you’ll spend way less time than you do now!
34I’m nervous about cyber security, is cloud-based accounting safe?
Yes, very. Xero is at the cutting edge of cyber safety and is used by more than 1 MILLION businesses. Your and our data is safe!
35With Xero can I access my books from my mobile?
Yes, Xero is real-time. Access from phone, mobile device or computer anytime, anywhere as often as you like.
36I currently use another accounting system, do I have to change to Xero?
No of course you don’t have to change.
Make no mistake, we are very big fans of Xero. We believe it has revolutionised the way many small businesses operate. And we believe it brings a huge number of benefits to small business owners, as well as allowing us to perform our work and to be of greater assistance faster, more responsively, more proactively, based on more accurate, more up to date information compared to most alternative accounting systems.
But no one system is going to be right for every business, and even if it could work for you, you may just simply decide you prefer to stay with what you have. That is fine, we are experienced with a range of accounting systems and we are sure we will be able to work with yours if required.