Minimizing Professional Fees

Woman writingThe secret to a strong relationship between Client and Accountant is building trust and respect.  The team at Joseph Truscott Chartered Accountant works hard to earn the trust and respect of their clients and the result often is a seamless and rewarding long-term relationship enjoyed by both client and accountant.




Here are some questions we are often asked as well as some tips to help you minimize what you spend in professional fees:

How do Accountants charge?

All Accountants charge by the time spent on your files or engagements.  The longer it takes to prepare and enter your bookkeeping, complete the year end financial statement or prepare income tax returns, the more it will cost.  To minimize the fee charged to you, we recommend you have all your records, files and statements complete and accurate.  The more organized you are, the less time will need to be charged against your account.

Can you give me a quote for the job?

Just like it is impossible to give you a value for your jewellery without seeing the pieces, it is not possible to know how long any work might take without reviewing your records.  Time required for any job is dependent on how the records are entered, balanced, reconciled and presented.  We can provide you a quote once we’ve had an opportunity to review your records.  If we have not prepared financial statements for you previously there may be a one time set up fee.

Why is my invoice so much more this year than last year?

There are many reasons why this may happen, however, the answer usually falls into one of these categories.

  • There is simply a lot more work this year.  For example, there may have been a purchase or disposal of investment assets, the GST accounts do not reconcile, wages do not reconcile, the bank was not balanced, the general ledger was not balanced, etc.
  • Information is missing.  If critical information is missing, we may have to stop work on the engagement until we contact you and obtain the correct information.  The more time spent resolving issues, the more time is charged to your engagement.
  • Our charge out rates may have changed in the last year as a result of increased costs of operating a business such as labour costs.

The Quickbooks, Simply And/Or M.Y.O.B. salesman said that the software should reduce my accounting costs but it’s actually increased. Why?

Quickbooks, Simply and/or M.Y.O.B. are all good choices to help you manage your books.  However, if the input operator does not enter the information accurately then your Accountant will be spending hours and hours sorting out the mess.  If the input operator is skilled and accurately inputs the information then the time required by the Accountant’s team is maximized.

What are your current charge out rates?

Our rates (exclusive of GST) depend upon the type of engagement, the urgency of the matter, the staff member selected to work on the file and a number of other variables. Our standard hourly rates are based on a number of matters, not limited to the market rate, the cost of our employees, our overhead and a number of other variables. We select the most appropriate person to work on your engagement, not the most expensive. Please call us to discuss the type of engagement that you require and we can discuss the rates that are applicable to complete that type of engagement.

When will the Chartered Accountant look at my financial statements and/or tax return?

We have designed our process to minimize time charged to the client, but maximize value added.  A member of the team will be selected to process all records and produce a draft set of financial statements and /or income tax return.  The Chartered Accountant then reviews them with the team member and discusses any tax planning options that will assist the client to reduce tax.  It is this tax planning session that could save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.  The team member then finalizes the engagement work according to the Chartered Accountant’s instructions.  In most cases, the client will meet with the team member and the Chartered Accountant to discuss the draft financial statements.

I asked you to run your eye over this document and you sent an invoice. Why?

Our most valuable commodity is our business and income tax expertise.  To monetize that we sell our time, just like a lawyer would.  If the task takes just a few minutes (like a phone call) then there maybe no charge.  If a greater amount of time, or a higher degree of sophistication is required, then we charge for our time.  Rest assured that we honour our value guarantee to our clients – ‘if you feel you did not receive value equal to or greater than the fee charged, simply show us why and we will adjust the invoice’.  And don’t forget about the free consultation to discuss how the Firm can become a valuable resource to the success of your business.

Why has it taken so long?

Just like most businesses, accounting firms have peak times. Ours are between January and the end of April.  The majority of clients want work done during this period and the turn around time may stretch longer than at other times of the year.  Rest assured that the same care and expertise is applied no matter what time of year your work is completed.

How are your fees compared to other Accountants?

Our professional fees are determined at the conclusion of the engagement. We total our time and determine the amount to be invoiced based upon our standard rates applicable to that engagement. It is not our standard practice to always invoice for every hour spent on the engagement. A number of variables and our professional judgment are used to determine the number of hours to be invoiced.

Being a small firm you will find our rates much lower than those of a medium or large size Chartered Accounting firm. We’d be happy to provide more detailed comparison, so please give us a call.

Can I find less expensive Accountants?

Yes, you can find less expensive Accountants. They will be one-person operators working from their homes. But, as with all things in life, you get what you pay for. Independent Accountants and Bookkeepers will not have the expertise of Joseph Truscott Chartered Accountant nor the exposure to resources and strategies that could save you thousands of dollars every year. You may save a few dollars in bookkeeping fees, but overlook thousands more in lost tax benefits. We invite you to review our Client Testimonials to hear how our clients benefited from our partnering approach.

You’re my Accountant so why is the Senior Accountant preparing my financial statements or tax return?

It’s far more economical for you to have our Senior Accountant do the legwork to prepare the draft financial statements and then review it with Joe Truscott. They do similar work each day and have become very skilled, quick and efficient. The Senior Accountant is your ‘go-to’ person for all questions regarding your engagement. Joe Truscott will always answer any questions the Senior Accountant cannot, review the draft(s) for your engagement and recommend tax strategies to ensure your tax exposure is minimized.

How do I minimize my accounting costs?

The following are some of the ways in which you can reduce and/or minimize the annual professional fees:

  1. Ensure your records are complete – providing all the information before work begins cuts down on unnecessary additional time.
  2. Summarize and reconcile as much as possible.
  3. Efficient computerization – make sure that you understand and properly use the computer packages you buy.
  4. Explain any unusual events during the initial meeting when your records are discussed with the Bookkeeper and or the Senior Accountant.
  5. Eliminate unnecessary hourly charges by being organized in your office – keep your files organized so you won’t ask us to fax over documents that you already have.
  6. Ask the Senior Accountant for constructive suggestions on how you can better prepare your records.
  7. Since the more senior members of the accounting team charge higher hourly rates, select the most appropriate person to contact with questions you may have. For example, if you have a bookkeeping question, contact the Bookkeeper not the Senior Accountant or the Partner.
  8. Provide missing information as quickly as possible.
  9. Do most of the leg work yourself eg. calling banks/solicitors, collecting statements, etc.
  10. Use email and/or the telephone to ask for answers to questions.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept the following forms of payment:

  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Bank Debit Card
  • Major Credit Cards
  • EFT – Electronic Funds Transfer

Our payment terms are payment upon completion of the engagement, unless otherwise structured and agreed upon by the Joe Truscott.