Checklist for selecting an accountant

1.  Comprehensive service

Determine whether the service covers what you need, and how easy it is to deal with the service provider.

  • Do you need an annual service, or an ongoing service where you can get up-to-date information?
  • Do the provider have the breadth and depth in their service offering?
  • How can they help you reduce the paperwork and administration of your SMSF?
  • What is the time-frame that the annual return would be completed?

2.  Ease of transition

Consider the support that the service provider will provide to ease the transition.

  • How much will they do, and how much do you need to do?
  • Check if there are any fees charged to transition?

3.  Cost of service

Understanding all the costs associated with the service, including independent auditor’s fee. Are you paying more than you should be?

  • Is the service fee an all inclusive fee, and find out the independent auditor's fee?
  • Is the service fee a fixed fee, or an estimate?
  • Is support or advice included in their standard fee?
  • Are there any additional costs for their services?

4.  Technical competence

You want to have access to SMSF specialist. What is the service provider’s technical competency?

  • Do you have access to specialist that can provide timely solutions to your queries?
  • Is the firm a Chartered Accountant Australia/ CPA Australia practice?
  • Is a Registered Tax Agent?

5.  Access to information

Having timely information enables you to make better decisions.

  • Can you get access to up-to-date information online? or do you have you wait until after end of the financial year to find out after the financial report and tax return is prepared?
  • Would up-to-date information be useful to you, for example, tracking contributions and pension throughout the year as those events occur, have information on investment income, unrealised gains?

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