Frequently Asked Questions
Wondering about our fees, software, or the process of changing accountants? Here are the answers to the questions we’re asked most often!
What is the difference between an accountant and a chartered accountant?
Literally anyone can call themselves “an accountant”, and there are no minimum standards nor education required.
However, a Chartered Accountant (CA) is a member of the professional body Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ).
The requirements to be a full Chartered Accountant include:
- Appropriate education (bachelor university degree or higher) in key competency areas
- Minimum of 3 years approved employment experience, and a recognised mentor
- Ongoing professional education and learning of at least 40 hours each year
- Maintenance of high moral, professional and ethical standards
- Payment of annual membership fees.
For a Chartered Accountant to offer accounting services to the public they must also hold a public practice certificate (which requires additional experience and expertise), be subject to regular peer reviews, and also hold significant public liability insurance.
The CA standards are high and designed to safeguard the public. CAANZ provide a complaints and disciplinary mechanism and can fine members and/or remove CA membership for not meeting required standards of honesty, skill or care.
Q2 Ltd are proud to be chartered accountants, and take their responsibility to provide competent advice in a professional and ethical manner very seriously.
Why don’t you offer fixed prices for your packages?
All Q2 clients receive customised service and advice – one size doesn’t fit all. This means that Q2 clients are offered the services and advice they require, rather than a bundle of standardised services that may not be appropriate to them.
Many business owners prefer to pay a flat monthly fee that covers an agreed range of services as this helps their cashflow and avoids unpleasant surprises. Q2 provide fixed fee agreements for those clients, as well as a flexible arrangement where services are paid for as and when required.
So, whether you require only annual accounting and tax services, or a bundle of business advisory services designed specifically for your business – Q2 can help.
To better understand your business, goals and requirements the first step is a complimentary, obligation free meeting with Q2. Q2 can then design a customised service plan to meet your needs and budget. Call Q2 today to find out more.
How do accountants charge their fees?
Many accountants charge based on an arbitrary unit of time such as 6-minute intervals. Phone your accountant for a 6-minute conversation then your bill for $xx is on its way! Ouch.
If you have an accountant who charges for every 6 minutes you won’t want to pick up the phone or email for advice for fear of a big unexpected invoice arriving at the end of the month. Often the result is you’ll make a wrong decision that costs you a lot of money! It is often hard or impossible to fix a bad decision, so getting it right at the outset is smart.
At Q2 we like to offer upfront pricing, so there are no surprises when you receive your bill.
We encourage our clients to have a fixed fee agreement that includes our ad hoc advice over the year. This means you get the expert advice and support on tap when you need it, so you can make better decisions. If any new projects arise, we’ll quote the cost of that additional work upfront.
Q2 have flexible billing systems, depending on the services required and how you want to pay. Contact Q2 today to have a chat.
What can I do to keep my accounting costs down?
Q2 have a win/win philosophy. Minimising accounting charges is a win for you, and streamlining the accounting process is a win for Q2.
Messy records will increase your accounting costs, and frustrate your accountant!
Q2’s top ten tips to reduce your accounting fees include:
- Use a cloud-based accounting system, such as Xero
- Have separate bank accounts and credit cards for business and private
- Pay only business expenses from business accounts or by business credit card
- Set up bank feeds for your business accounts
- Attach scanned invoices to your payments/creditors in your accounting system
- Ask your accountant to set up your chart of accounts for you and train you on how to process and code correctly (it’s a one-off investment that will save you mega bucks over time)
- Reconcile your bank accounts daily or weekly (it’ll only take a few minutes)
- File and pay taxes on time
- Respond to your accountant promptly
- Ask for feedback and how you can improve your record keeping.
Q2 offer Xero and book keeping training. Contact Q2 now to discuss further.
What accounting software do you use?
Q2 are Xero experts and most of our business clients use and love Xero accounting software.
(Some Q2 clients use other accounting systems such as MYOB and Reckon for various valid reasons, and we can work with those also.)
Xero is affordable, user friendly, cloud based and intuitive. It has lots of functionality packed into it and being cloud based means that Q2 can access the software to help and advise when required. We’ll also process your end of year accounting work in Xero so there is no duplication, and no annual “alignment journals” required.
Since Xero has an open API there are many specialised software applications that integrate seamlessly with Xero.
Although founded in NZ, Xero are now a leading global company with a huge development fund. Xero constantly improve and enhance their applications to utilise AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and emerging functionalities.
Using Xero provides real time information for business decisions and allows accurate tax planning. You can access your financial information at any time, from any mobile device with internet access.
Q2 are Xero partners and can offer Xero at discounted prices. Talk to Q2 today about Xero, and whether it’s right for your business.
Do you provide an obligation-free consultation?
Yes, absolutely! In fact, we insist on it!
At that first meeting we’ll ask you questions about your business, your family, and your goals. We’ll explain some of our services and prepare a customised service plan proposal for you.
Q2’s obligation free consultation allows us to get to know you and whether we are a good “fit” for each other.
Contact Q2 now for an obligation free consultation.
How can I tell if I've outgrown my current accounting firm?
Here are some of the tell-tale signs that you have outgrown your current accounting firm:
- They often make mistakes, and don’t seem to care
- They only do my tax and don’t offer me any advice
- They don’t really understand my business, or my goals
- They aren’t proactive
- I don’t have a relationship with them
- They don’t offer to explain what the numbers mean
- They are not talking to me about how I can protect myself from risks
- I don’t understand them, or their advice
- They don’t tell me about taxes, or legal changes that affect me
- They don’t talk to me about business improvement
- They don’t encourage me to plan or think strategically
If any of the above apply to you and your current accountant, contact Q2 today for an obligation free first meeting.
If I want to change accountants… what is the process?
The decision to change accountants can be difficult – your existing accountant may have done nothing “wrong”, and you may have a personal relationship. BUT… your decision to move should be based on what is best for your business. Weight up all the considerations, not just costs!
Think about your medium to long term goals and whether your current accountant has the capacity, ability, or desire to help you achieve them.
Once a decision to move is made the process gets much easier! Simply inform your new accountant that you want to move to them. They will handle everything from that point onwards (engagement letters, AML / CFT compliance, transfer of accounting records from the previous accountant, linking to their tax agency, transfer of Xero subscription and so on).
The decision to move is the hard part. But you owe it to your business and your future to have an accountant who can help you achieve your medium to long term goals.