to ask when choosing a Tax Practitioner or Accounting Officer / Accountant
from Microsoft's 10 Questions to ask when choosing an Accountant)
Is the practitioner
registered and qualified?
Look for credentials
like ‘SAIBR’ or ‘CA’ or 'MTP' and for qualifications like ‘Hons B.Com’ or ‘H Dip Tax’. From the end of June 2005, all Tax
Practitioners who complete tax returns for payment must be registered with SARS.
Is your accountant's board recognized by other countries?
Answer : Registered Business Accountant with the Southern African
Institute for Business Accountants (SAIBR) - Registration Number SAIBR87, The
Institute also enjoys recognition by the Namibian Government; Hons B.Com Accounting;
Master Tax Practitioner member of The South African Institute of Tax
Practitioners (SAIT), Registered Tax
Practitioner in terms of Section 67A of the Income Tax Act - Registration
How many partners are
As a rule, choose a
practice comparable in size to your business. If you’re a small business,
choose a small practice. They’ll be more empathetic, cheaper and be familiar
with your problems,’ says Clive Lewis, head of SME issues at the Institute
of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. But think ahead: if you plan
rapid growth a bigger practice might be better.
Answer : We’ve got one partner. We are small enough to care, but also big enough to
handle the medium size enterprise.
Who are the
practice’s other clients?
It can be helpful if
your accountant has experience of businesses of your size, in your sector or
operating in your market.
Answer : We have clients in various industries, e.g. Packaging, Labour Hire,
Engineering, Property Development, Fast Food, Attorneys, Florists, Telecommunications,
Retail, Property Management, IT, Construction, Entertainment, Jewellers,
Who will look after
your business on a daily basis?
A good rapport with
your accountant is vital. ‘You might only meet a partner once a year – so
you need to find out who you will deal with most of the time and see how you
get on with them,’ says Nick Winters, partner responsible for growing
businesses at accountants and business advisers PKF.
Answer : We prefer to deal with our clients directly and not leave it to a
clerk. Every client is unique and as a partner, we can make adjustments as necessary
while the client does not need to wait for a clerk to get approval before a decision
can be taken or an adjustment made.
Does the practitioner
Your practitioner is
likely to become a long-term business associate. For the relationship to work,
they need to show an interest in where your business is now and where it is
Answer : It is our motto to know on a regular basis what is going on in our
client’s business and advise our client rather too early than too late about
necessary corrective measures .
How effectively does
the practice work?
Ask for estimated
response times. How long does it take to speak with a partner? Will the
practice contact you with, for example, news about tax changes?
Answer : Unless we are in consultation with a client or at a client’s
premises, we can help you within a few minutes otherwise we phone you back the
same day. We do contact all our clients and update them with applicable
changes to legislation which have an immediate and drastic effect on their
businesses, but do not contact them with legislative changes like a change in
the official interest rate.
services does the practice offer?
You might be able to
take advantage of services such as information-systems advice or
Answer : We have extensive experience in 1) the IT industry with the
implementation of various packages like Pastel Accounting and Solomon
Software, a Microsoft ERP product, 2) Business Consulting and Business Process
Re-engineering, 3) Accounting, and are registered as Business Accountant with
the Southern African Institute of Business Accountants.
Does it have any
If your business is a
start-up, deals internationally, is planning a stock-market listing or has
other special needs, ensure the practice has the necessary expertise.
Answer : We specialise in South African Tax including Income Tax, VAT, PAYE,
How does the practice
Hourly fees are most
common but a fixed fee for the first 12 months can often be arranged.
Answer : Most of our fees are hourly based, but we do offer for the monthly
client a fixed monthly fee for a fixed monthly set of work. We do not
charge fees that are a percentage of performance e.g. turnover based, etc.
Can you speak to other
A practitioner should
be happy to put you in touch with other customers.
Answer : We are quite happy to give you the contact details of other clients,
provided that the other client/(s) approves.
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