What Does a Chartered Accountant Actually Do?

Published: 30th October 2008
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What a chartered accountant does exactly is something of a mystery, which is of course if you're not an accountant yourself. We know they can assist us with our yearly tax returns, but what else? If you are only using your account for your tax return you are not using them wisely and missing out on a valuable and informative resource. Chartered and tax accountants can deal with a multitude of services, from financial to personal and are a source of advice and assistance.

You should really tell your accountant anything that goes in your family. Up to a point of course! If there is a baby born or your daughter is intending to get married it can help your accountant to know. Fortified with this information they can then consider the appropriate strategies regarding your tax issues and investment plans.

One of the main tasks of an accountant is to reduce the amount of tax you pay each year. If they have all the facts at their fingertips they can put this information to good use and plan how you can save money in the long-term. A good accountant will come up with a great strategy to enable you to save for future events that could cost you a lot of money, such as college funds and marriages.

There are chartered accountants in all sectors of business and finance, including government, public practice work and the private sector. In Australia they belong to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and use the elected letters CA, higher-ranking members of the Institute are nominated as Fellows and use the letters FCA.

Here are a few of the tasks you can expect a chartered accountant to perform.

Personal or business income tax returns can be prepared by accountants. Business tax returns can be arranged for partnerships or trusts, companies, superannuation funds, rental properties and capital gains tax. They also provide services to assist in legally decreasing tax payments and other related issues. Business tax, sale of shares or property, business acquisitions or disposals and appropriate tax structure are all areas accountants are proficient in and can advice on.

Australian chartered accountants based in Sydney or other areas will have experience of the Australian Tax Office (ATO), and can offer information on Business Activity Statements and Goods & Services Tax.

Whether it is for personal use or for a business, financial planning is crucial to secure for the future and any planned or unforeseen events. Financial planning is simply putting together a strategy and plan that will enable you to save towards costs of weddings, buying a house or retirement. Chartered accountants will look at your finances and outgoings and make a plan to suit you. A financial planning service should involve superannuation products for maximising retirement benefits, investments for building wealth together with shares, property, managed funds and fixed interest. Insurance should also be covered as protection from economic loss in the event of death, disablement, accident or illness.

Superannuation is a way to save and invest money whilst you are working for future use, the largest asset of most Australians after their home. Chartered accountants can advice you on Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF) and available choices.

If you have already set up a business or are registering a new one and need help then see a chartered accountant who can help with this and the accounting. They can offer advice on increasing profits by the application of useful financial plans and systems. Strategic planning, business planning, business valuations, accounting services, payroll services and salary packaging, financial statement preparation and computer accounting software are other areas an accountant deals with.

Accountants today are computer friendly, meaning there is no need to make appointments to go into the accountancy office. Most things can be done online, communication and files the most common. Income tax returns can even be arranged from computerised accounting files, such as MYOB and Quickbooks. The agency you choose should be informative and expert in their subject and able to answer any questions concerning your business or personal account.

Chartered accounting firms can be found online. If you are seeking a proficient financial planning service or want help setting up a small business then they can help you realise your goals.

Michiel Van Kets provides article services for Nicole Flannery who writes articles for ARW. Adrian Raftery Wawrzyniak (Chartered Accountants Sydney) offering a suite of professional financial services including financial planning, tax returns and proactive solutions to help clients reach their financial goals.

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ICAEW on September 6, 2011 said:
According to the ICAEW website they "provide our members with knowledge and guidance based on the highest ethical and technical standards. We shape opinion, understanding and delivery to ensure the highest standards in business and in the public interest".
Adrian Lawrence on September 6, 2011 said:
Accountancy is the best business training there is, and a Chartered Accountant is the best respected of the accountancy qualifications.
ACA on September 6, 2011 said:
Newly qualified Chartered Accountants have the letters ACA after their names, whilst the more experienced ones with more than 10 years post qualification experience get to us the letters FCA which means they are Fellows. There are of course US accountants and Australian and other types. CPA is the America version of the UK's ICAEW qualifications.

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