It was reported by IRAS recently that a roasted meat wholesaler was convicted in Court for failing to declare sales income amounting to $3.5 million in its income tax returns and also understating GST output tax totalling more than $220,000 in its GST returns. Accordingly, the company director was fined $42,000 and sentenced to 6 weeks jail. In addition, he have to pay a total of $355,000 in penalty and taxes.

One interesting fact in this case was that the company employed a part-time bookkeeper to prepare their accounts and tax filing for submission to IRAS. This is rather not uncommon as we frequently hear many businesses prefer to use them as the fees quoted are much lower as compared to those charged by accounting firms. However, we need to step back and think whether is it worth the trouble by saving a little on fees when you will not know that one day you will end up like the roasted meat wholesaler?

Therefore, we hope business owners will start to realise that low fees quoted by freelance accountants are not sustainable and do more harm than good. You need to do your homework and ask questions before deciding to appoint the right one. This is because it is important to get the right accountancy and tax advice, from the right accounting firm at the right price, for your business.

You may also think the amount of any fees is important, but what really matters the most is that you get good value for money. You need to be able to get the help and advice you want, without being made to have more help than you want, and you should only have to pay a fair rate for the right services; so you need to be as wary of those charging too little as those you think might charge too much!

Thus, before you decide, always get a quote first; any reputable firm will be happy to give you an idea of fees, up front, and let them stand up to comparison. In this way you will be able to find someone you are happy to deal with, who has the right set-up and resources and has fees you feel are right for you. This is because more often than not, getting the right advice can lead to tax savings that can make the fees more than worthwhile. In the end it will save you more than it will cost you to hire the right accountant.

The Pitfalls of Outsourcing Preparation of Accounts and Tax Filings to Freelance Accountants

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