Stuart Ruddell CA, director at JBM & Associates, had worked for a few large firms before he decided he wanted a lifestyle change. He moved to Pukekohe to become what he calls “a typical smaller town accountant”.
“We’re generalists who work with 250 to 500 clients who are mostly smaller to medium-sized businesses. That’s ‘mum and dad’ property investors all the way up to companies that have three to four locations.”
The rule of thumb for this kind of career shift is that alongside the change in lifestyle comes a reduction in fringe benefits and an increase in manual work.
Take, for example, New Zealand’s tax pooling framework, which can be complex to navigate. It stands to reason that without the resources of a multinational, smaller firms must put in more time and effort to ensure all clients are able to take full advantage of it. At the same time, smaller firms tend to have the clients that benefit from it the most, particularly if they’re new businesses and during this COVID-19 pandemic.
This increase in workload might have become Ruddell’s reality if, in the final weeks of his old job he hadn’t noticed an ad from Tax Traders.
“They did things slightly differently from what I’d used before,” he says. “The old way of accessing tax pooling was accountant-run and transactional. You had to do all the calculations in the background. But Tax Traders put themselves more in the process.”
Tax Traders tools ease the workload
One of the smart tools Ruddell uses most is the residual income tax (RIT) calculator, one of Tax Traders’ first innovations. It removes the need for manual calculations, presents four payment solutions, and can even take into account payments made to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).
“Their calculator works out residual income tax for you and the best way to buy tax back. You’re not forced to tell the technology where you want to buy tax.”
Smart tools offered by Tax Traders have been a game-changer for Ruddell who, as a result of saving time on admin work, is able to offer more advisory services to clients, which ultimately means they save money as well.
“The solutions Tax Traders presented were perfect for a lot of small businesses. Most clients we picked up were behind on tax, so using Tax Traders to cover those missed tax payments was an easy way to save our clients thousands of dollars,” says Ruddell.
“Especially during COVID, it’s been amazing to give clients more flexibility and keep cash in their business for longer. We also used to have so many stressful calls with clients about covering their tax, and that’s just been wiped off the table.”
Picture: Stuart Ruddell CA, director at JBM & Associates.
“Especially during COVID, it’s been amazing to give clients more flexibility and keep cash in their business for longer.”
Less stress on key filing dates
Key tax filing dates are a stressful time for all accountants, but particularly for ones working for smaller firms that can’t easily just throw more people at the problem. The surge of work during tax time typically means working overtime to catch up on calculations and processing tasks.
But Tax Traders’ newest smart tools for accountants, particularly its Taxlab integration with IRD data, are changing that, says Ruddell.
“In the past, I’d have to figure out how much each client has paid prior, how much they owe now, and so on. All that information used to be on lots of separate websites and worksheets. What Tax Traders have done with Taxlab is integrate all of your data. You can see all the IRD and tax pooling information under one roof.”
For CAs worried about implementation times for these new tools, Ruddell says it was painless.
“There was no work for me, just some online forms to fill in. Instant benefits. Instead of using four platforms to manage clients’ provisional tax, now it’s down to just Tax Traders.”
The automation enabled by Tax Traders offers two principle benefits, says Ruddell: a reduction in errors and increased efficiency.
Instead of spending time on data entry, he can focus on offering valuable financial insights and strategic business advice. This means his company can take full advantage of its smaller size – it can be nimble and provide much more personalised experiences, while not suffering from a lack of resources.
“We now have all this new technology that saves us time and allows us to give a better service to our clients. Tax Traders’ smart tools, in particular, have been a game changer, giving us a chance to really compete with the bigger firms.”
“Tax Traders’ smart tools in particular have been a game changer, giving us a chance to really compete with the bigger firms.”