“We don’t do tax.” – Us, up until three weeks ago.
We’re ‘fessing up.
We get it. We’ve built our reputation on being a not-your-typical-accounting-firm that doesn’t do tax returns. Our focus has always been (and still is) working alongside start-ups and ecommerce business owners to improve their financial visibility and develop future growth – not on calculating your historical financial position.
But it goes without saying that tax problems don’t have to be problems if the issues are identified early enough. Having regular and accurate financial data goes a long way to mitigate any issues – and that’s something we do day in and day out at SBO. That’s why we’ve ventured to the dark side.
We are now your one-stop shop accountants, in that we can also do your taxes. And it’s something that all of our clients will benefit from.
We’re not anti-taxers. We just approach it differently.
Most business owners have a fairly transactional relationship with their tax accountants, where they only really engage with them once or twice a year. If your accountant is proactive, you might get a tax planning session in April or May.
Then it’s time to do your tax return, an exercise that can often be seen as a chore by both clients and tax agents alike. They’ll churn through it well after the financial year has ended, and by that time it’s too late to go back and fix any tax problems (in most cases, anyway).
When tax problems are difficult, they get put in the “later” pile. Until it’s too late and everything you’ve swept under the carpet becomes a nightmare.
There’ll be spreadsheets, big bundles of documents to sign, and a PDF showing how much you have to pay – and that’s it for another six months. Sound familiar?
At SBO, we’ve always prided ourselves on being financial managers. At our core, we help our clients understand their numbers and their financials. Now we’re extending that relationship and providing an end-to-end service suite for your business with SBO Tax.
What this means for our clients
Having our tax team embedded into our existing team means a more naturally proactive conversation because we’re engaging with you regularly throughout the year – weekly, fortnightly and monthly touchpoints – rather than on a transactional basis.
We actually care about whether or not you’re making money, and talk to you about numbers, margins and cash flow to help you better understand your business from a financial perspective.
Now, our tax team can be brought into these conversations as they happen, extending the advice we’re giving to you.
Our client managers, who have all worked in tax before, will remain the direct point of contact for our clients. While their focus is on financial management, their tax backgrounds mean we’re able to identify issues or opportunities where we can bring our tax specialists into the conversation to talk about certain business issues.
From an advisory front, we’ve already noticed a common theme of tax questions coming from our clients:
- I’ve done this thing, how much tax do I need to pay?
- How do I offer shares / options in my business to employees?
- Is my structure correct for the growth of my business moving forward? Can I restructure without too much (tax) pain?
- I’m looking to expand overseas – what does this change tax-wise?
While there is no cookie cutter answer to these questions, you want a team who knows what they’re doing. With your financial data at our fingertips, we can spot any opportunities, potential issues or tax consequences, resulting in a well rounded discussion on what the financial impacts of these decisions are.
While tax returns aren’t always fun (for the most part, anyway), someone still has to do it.
And we’ve found that someone.
Andrew Law is our Head of Tax. Andrew loves tax. He has over 13 years experience on both sides of the tax world, including at The Australian Taxation Office itself as part of their Offshore Compliance Team.
“I love working with ecommerce businesses and start-ups. While the goods and services they sell vary wildly, from a tax compliance perspective there is a lot of common ground,” says Andrew.
“The benefit of aligning your tax compliance obligations with SBO means you know things are being done correctly and on time. I have an ex-ATO background and have worked closely with a number of high-growth startups from day one.”
With Andrew on board, we’re excited to provide a more holistic outcome for our clients with SBO Tax, rather than it being siloed between different service providers.
Nothing has changed. We’re still focusing on your finances – helping you make more money and more profits. But we can also do your taxes.
Yeah, we do tax – and we’re doing it right.