Date posted: 30/06/2021

Five questions every Australian adviser will be asked

Here are five tips to help you navigate the questions that come at the end of the financial year.

In Brief

  • Pre-empt the types of questions clients are likely to ask by preparing answers that can be personalised
  • Being ready can help engender trust
  • Building relationships is vital

Article by Andrew Van De Beek, Xero Advisor and Founder & Head of Purpose of illumin8

This end of financial year (EOFY), accountants and bookkeepers may be inundated with ‘quick questions’ from clients. 

Naturally, they range in complexity and so, too, will the amount of time it takes to respond ‘quickly’. But being able to respond promptly to questions reinforces the trust and value in client relationships.

Pre-empting the types of questions your clients are likely to ask and preparing answers with the right information that can then be personalised, reduces the workload while also saving your inboxes (and mental capacity) from becoming overloaded. 

With the help of my peers, I’ve compiled five questions that many accountants and bookkeepers are likely to be asked this EOFY. While this list offers answers and advice, only you know what’s best for your clients.

How we as advisers communicate with our clients comes down to one thing – establishing trust.
Andrew Van De Beek Xero Advisor and Founder & Head of Purpose of illumin8

How is this EOFY different from the last? 

In contrast to last year, we have a clearer understanding of COVID-19’s financial impact. This means we can assess how the pandemic has affected a business overall. 

When communicating this to clients, I like to explain that our job is to strip back the ‘COVID-numbers’ – taxable government benefits such as JobKeeper – to establish how their businesses are faring without inflated support. 

How will JobKeeper impact me this EOFY? 

As we all know, JobKeeper subsidised wages, meaning we need to narrow down how much headcount will cost the business without government support in the new financial year. 

Many small business owners are unaware that JobKeeper is taxable income, so EOFY is a chance to get on the front foot and have this conversation. Instead of answering hundreds of the same questions, you could send out a newsletter or put together a blog post to refresh the JobKeeper-specifics your clients need to know about. 

How can I pay less tax? 

This question often translates to, “What can I spend money on?” To offer some perspective, I suggest outlining a simple equation: If you have to spend $4 to save $1 of tax, you’re still $3 out of pocket. 

I then put the question back to clients, “Will that tax deduction support the performance of your business?” If the answer is “No”, I advise against spending to ‘save’ on tax.

Pair of hands over balance sheet and calculator with Tax Time typed on screen

How can I make my business more efficient in FY22? 

This question always comes back to how my clients can improve their processes with technology. EOFY is the perfect time to introduce your clients to digital tools – especially if they’re transitioning to new accounting software – and help them learn the skills they need to operate more efficiently.  

Consider setting your clients ‘homework’ for FY22. There are plenty of easy-to-navigate courses available on Xero Central that cater for a range of skill levels and expertise. 

How can I prepare my business for the financial year ahead?

This EOFY isn’t just about tying up FY21 – it’s also a chance to prepare your clients for the year ahead. Before they come to you for advice, prompt them by asking what their business plans are for the next 12 months. This allows you to come prepared with suggestions to help them get to where they want to be.

Whether it is answering a ‘quick question’ or dissecting a complex business plan, how we as advisers communicate with our clients comes down to one thing – establishing trust. 

Behind every question is a small business owner who cares, and if we can reciprocate that with considered responses, we are on our way to building lasting relationships.