Blog 6

The Insights on Financial Distress, Bankruptcy, and Risk Mitigation Steps

“Many small businesses are doomed from day one, not from competition or the economy, but from the ignorance of their owners . . . their destiny is already decided because they have no idea how a business should be operated.”

― William Manchee, Go Broke, Die Rich: Turning around the Troubled Small Business

On an individual level, almost all have been up to the point when we with have withdrawn and used even the last remaining dollar in our bank accounts. The same can possibly happen to the business, without a sound strategy, effective planning, and, a robust business model a business surely can be led to losses one after another. A sound contingency plan acts as a shield against financial vulnerabilities on individual as well as organizational levels. According to Meritous, the successful execution of fruitful ideas is equally important because planning without effective execution is simply a theory. Whereas, an idea with successful execution comes with several potential benefits, for example, the existence of a business itself, monetization being made through it, the experience it brings along, and much more. As the new financial year started in Australia, it is great for businesses to look back on the previous year’s mistakes and learn from them. According to White Killer Chartered Accountants and Advisors, it is crucial to stay updated on relevant financial facts i.e. revised accounting standards available on Australia’s Accounting Standard Boards website. Other than that, this is particularly critical for financial service-providing firms to look into variations that happened in minimum super guarantee, minimum salary threshold edge, super stapling, STP finalizations, and vice versa. If you lack sound financial knowledge, you must seek professional advice. A successful entrepreneur plays in business with his strengths and hires others against his weaknesses. It’s not necessarily the financial advisor at all times that help, it could also be the insurance broker or legal advisor that can help to support your business in legalities. The professional advisors will not only guide your business on technicalities but will also facilitate you to create a winning budget based on the precedents that occurred in the past financial year and future financial year forecast. Liquidity of the business, debt management, financial asset protection, dealing with creditors are all the crucial aspects that a business look into throughout the whole financial year. The risk management planning process and risk planning and mitigation are no exception. It’s evident that your business will look up to the returns after making an investment to hire financial advisors, and they will jump into planning your budgets immediately. And it’s not as complicated as it might seem. They will quickly look into your income and expenses, and this could be done through the close monitoring of your bank statements, credit card statements, or any other expenditures which occurred through cash and being recorded.

Financial transparency in the financial statements of your business plays a huge role in the preparation of financially sound budgeting for next year. Therefore, many businesses seek the assistance of financial advisors, BABC being one of them. They help them to record all the nitty gritty financial aspects which occurred throughout the financial year without even a single being overlooked. The more financial transparency, the better the budgeting and the least of conflicts of interest and agency problems. Quickbook software, Xero accounting, and Myob are widely used accounting software by many financial service consultancy firms for better recording and financial reporting. Having to have monthly, quarterly financial reporting in your business strategy has multiple benefits. Businesses be it to be small or expanded one gets a chance to have a close look and revise the income statement, balance sheet, and other relevant ratios that truly keep reflecting the financial position of the business. Certainly, the major aim of every business remains to be financially sound enough to be able to cover any contingencies that may arise and still be operational on breakeven if not profitable in case of unfavorable circumstances. Or else, the business might proceed toward bankruptcy. According to the Federal Court of Australia, bankruptcy is defined as a state where people are unable to pay their debts and thus lose control over their assets and finances either by agreement or through court order over creditors’ legal actions. If you realize your financial position is deteriorating enough to reach closer to bankruptcy, you should reach out to the financial advisor as quicker as possible. Filing an Australian bankruptcy is a procedure that takes place formally. Generally, bankruptcy lasts for three years and one day. In the meantime, you might not be able to travel overseas, obtain certain employment, or obtain credit. However, after the bankruptcy time period, you will be discharged. Conditioning that you must have made repayments on secure debts i.e. your house, car, or any other asset that is collateral in a loan.

We at BABC as an accounting advisory firm understand that unmanageable debt can be a stress factor for you. And bankruptcy declaration is a way to deal with insolvency that must take place after a sound financial consultation. The Federal Court of Australia has listed all the introductory bankruptcy guides for your reference. In some cases, bankruptcy is an unavoidable factor. For instance, there might be a reduction in demand for a product or service that you are selling in the market. Or, there might be an economic downturn in general that has triggered the bankruptcy. Otherwise, in many cases, bankruptcy can be looked into if the weakening financial position is identified on time and relevant measures have been taken accordingly. Hiring a business turnaround specialist, or letting a voluntary administration take charge are a couple of outside solutions that might work. It is vital to have this realization by the start of the financial year that the company might be led to bankruptcy due to certain factors, prominent of which are poor bookkeeping, overspending, increased appetite for risk, and vice versa. All of these can be tackled by having the priorities straight regarding debt repayments. The first thing should always come first, if you owe, make it clean as quicker as possible before making any other expense. As a business, you should always strive for boosting current cash flows and generating new ones as much as possible. Other than that, several risk mitigation strategies can be incorporated to avoid financial vulnerabilities. They are like placing certain limits on bank account transactions, keeping an eye on financial accounts to monitor any unknown purchasing activity, and making sure that clean financial audit happens from time to time. In the end, all that matters is to get it ready, get it done, and stay ahead. The creation of a risk mitigation plan, and its successful execution leads to success eventually!

blog 5

Accounting in Australia: Navigating Financial Success with Expert Guidance


When it comes to managing finances and maintaining financial stability, businesses and individuals in Australia rely on the expertise of professional accountants. Accounting plays a pivotal role in the economic landscape, ensuring compliance, optimizing financial performance, and providing strategic advice. In this blog, we will delve into the realm of accounting in Australia, exploring its significance, key practices, and the role of professional accounting services provided by BABC.

The Significance of Accounting in Australia:

Accounting serves as the backbone of financial decision-making for businesses, organizations, and individuals across Australia. It involves the systematic recording, analyzing, and reporting of financial transactions, providing valuable insights that guide critical business decisions. From startups to established enterprises, accurate accounting practices enable entities to track their financial health, allocate resources efficiently, and stay compliant with relevant tax laws and regulations.

Key Accounting Practices in Australia:

Tax Planning and Compliance: Australian tax laws can be complex and ever-changing. Professional accountants at BABC assist clients in understanding and adhering to tax regulations while identifying opportunities for tax planning and minimizing tax liabilities.

Financial Statement Preparation: Transparent and accurate financial statements are essential for businesses seeking funding, investors, or loans. Expert accountants ensure that financial statements are prepared in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards.

Budgeting and Forecasting: Accountants help businesses create comprehensive budgets and forecasts, empowering them to make informed decisions about future financial endeavors and seize growth opportunities.

Auditing and Assurance: External audits are necessary for many companies in Australia. Accounting firms like BABC conduct audits to provide independent assurance on the accuracy and fairness of financial statements.

The Role of Professional Accounting Services:

Partnering with a reputable accounting firm such as BABC can make a significant difference in achieving financial success. Their team of qualified accountants offers personalized solutions tailored to each client’s unique needs:

Expert Guidance: With in-depth knowledge of Australian financial regulations, accountants at BABC provide expert guidance that helps clients navigate complex financial challenges with ease.

Cost Optimization: By analyzing financial data and identifying areas of improvement, accountants help clients optimize costs, reduce inefficiencies, and enhance profitability.

Risk Management: Accounting firms play a vital role in assessing financial risks and developing risk management strategies to protect businesses from potential threats.


Accounting in Australia is an indispensable component of financial management, fostering economic growth and stability for businesses and individuals alike. From tax planning to financial statement preparation and risk management, professional accountants from BABC offer invaluable expertise to drive financial success.

If you’re looking for reliable accounting services to empower your financial journey, visit BABC. Their team of dedicated professionals is committed to guiding you towards a prosperous and secure financial future.

Blog 1

Aiming for Wealth Maximization? Have the Best Financial Planners! At Your Disposal.

Financial Idea and its Viability! Need Help?

All businesses do financial planning to develop an understanding to check whether a financial idea is doable or not. Or, what is the probability to execute an idea successfully? Is it sustainable enough to run the business operations smoothly in both the short as well as long run? If you intend to start a business in Australia, or, if you’re already operating a business, you might need financial advice. Well, in that case, BABC is one of the best financial planners in the town. There are a lot of decisions that you need to make as a business owner. For example, the initial business structure can be either a foreign branch or an Australian subsidiary. The structure decision significantly influences decisions related to forecasting, taxation, expected or operational cash flow, and vice versa. BABC will assist you from the business breakeven point to profit-making, aiming to maximize wealth. We aim to simplify the process for those starting or operating a business in Australia.

Wealth Creation and its Management for a Small Scale Business

Financial planning and wealth maximization for small-scale businesses are directly proportional to each other. Better financial plans result in sound wealth management of a business. The business structure you establish influences the financial planning you do.  Apparently, wealth creation is all that a business needs. However, the end goal is not only money making, but, is satisfied client, stakeholder, partner, and employee, both implicitly and explicitly. Implicit aspects focus on soft skill development, while explicit aspects are more likely to involve monetary benefits, particularly in small-scale operating businesses. In the end, the satisfied human resource of any business is the strongest of assets. Legend Reports quotes Henry Ford, stating that despite the destruction of his factories and buildings, he will rebuild his business with his people. Despite the collapse of his first and second car companies, he maintained high spirits, self-esteem, and constant faith in his manpower. He achieved global success through the right network and achieved the incredible success that anyone can dream of.

Profit Maximization v/s Wealth Maximization

Long story short, we at BABC are one of the holistic financial planners all across Australia. Wealth maximization has been the top agenda for most businesses over the years, according to our financial knowledge. However, laymen often misunderstood the above-mentioned terms of profit maximization and wealth maximization interchangeably. By contrast, there is a huge difference in the meaning of both terms. Profit maximization involves a business’s increased earning potential, while wealth maximization involves a company’s resources enhancing stock value for shareholders and stakeholders. The intent to maximize profits is for sure beneficial for the business, yet, wealth maximization is a long-term agenda. Profit maximization refers to thick cash flows obtained over a specific accounting cycle, while wealth maximization involves a business’s ability to guarantee stable financial position and long-term financial strength. Wealth-maximized businesses can maintain financial stability during challenging times and efficiently pay off any accumulated debts. The Lehman Brothers case serves as a significant financial lesson for businesses, highlighting the importance of preparing for and overcoming financial crises. Investopedia provides a comprehensive explanation of financial collapse, but the study of how it occurs is left for another day. So, it is safe to say that advisor succession planning can be of great help to mitigate associated financial risks.

Firms and Financial Planning

Business demands sound financial strategy to avoid disastrous consequences. This does not only involve an effective financial forecast but takes strong consideration of contingencies as well. Effective monitoring and comparison of goals is no exception for an ideal goal setting of a firm. According to Oracle Institute, you can improve your financial planning with the use of financial management software. I.e. try building an accounting and tax calculator for your business. Other financial instruments may also involve income tax calculators, GST calculators, Tax withheld for individual calculators, fuel tax credit calculators, and several more. The creation of realistic financial goals and an absolute financial plan is all that a business needs. “Forbes”.

Taxation as a Component of Financial Planning

Financial planning involves taxation for business wealth management. Business structure impacts taxes, reporting requirements, and international obligations. The sound financial strength of a business after incorporating the tax and other major liabilities would lead to a sound wealth-maximized business. Taxation is the strongest aspect of a business’s financial planning, alongside strategic planning, projections, contingencies, and goal monitoring. Financial planning involves annual reporting, transparent statements, and timely advice. Financial audits prioritize maintaining cleanliness to mitigate risks, and reduce bankruptcy probability. BABC provides tailored funding options, government loans, and support programs for small-scale businesses. Accounts Automated has emphasized enough to stay agile and adaptive in this constantly evolving small business industry. They have declared that the successful running and management of a business in Australia requires a proactive strategic approach. Thus, it concludes that Professional financial managers enhance company presence and growth.

Blog 4

Cyber Resilience : A Must For Regulators, Executives And Boards


Despite many cyber resilient Australian Securities and Investments Commission being hit by a cyber-attack just over a year ago, along with several other high-profile ransomware attacks in the last few years, many local organizations – both public and private – remain vulnerable to cyber resilience as increasingly sophisticated and ever-proliferating cyberattacks.

The immense challenge posed by cyberattacks and ransomware will only get harder in 2024, forcing governments, industry bodies, organizations of all kinds and sizes, regulators, and policymakers to either act decisively or face severe ramifications, such as loss of revenue or the removal of those found to be complacent.

Cyber threats and ransomware are becoming a digital plague because COVID-19 continues to disrupt the entire economy and more organizations are being forced to allow information to be shared remotely and across the value chain.

At the same time, the pandemic has accelerated organizations’ reliance on technology and the adoption of data-driven applications, which generate more data to manage and protect, therefore increasing the risk and fallout of being hit by ransomware.

Digital people consultants: Cyber resilience

This is a perfect storm for attackers, who are continuing to take advantage of this disruption and data proliferation, with attacks on the finance sector – for example – increasing 238 per cent globally at the onset of the pandemic (according to VMware Carbon Black).

According to IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the cost of a data breach now tops $US1.59 million, or 38 per cent of the total cost of a breach, with ITIC research finding IT downtime now costs more than US$300,000 per hour for 91 percent of organisations, which demonstrate why no organisation can afford to be ‘down’ or offline due to a cyber-attack. And that’s before the hit to their brand reputation comes into play.

So how can organisations sure-up their business continuity when they are consistently generating more data, whether by choice or by necessity, in this ransomware era?

The answer lies in adopting a ‘cyber resilience first’ mindset, which starts with organisations understanding that data management, as a core component of data compliance and risk management, must shift from an IT concern to a boardroom and executive priority. Just as cybersecurity has become a boardroom and executive priority over the last five to ten years.

This shift in approach and thinking is crucial because business continuity both now, and in the future, will be reliant on how cyber resilient an organization is able to become.

What is cyber resilience and why is it important?

it’s the concept whereby an organisation can continuously deliver its intended outcomes despite adverse cyber events.

If cyber resilience becomes the objective, the focus shifts to conducting business securely, this helps change the way data governance and protection problems are addressed; and that a security posture needs to solve.This approach will not only help to maintain business continuity and avoid disruption to their customer offering, but it also allows organisations to minimise risk and meet regulatory expectations.

As with many other governments around the world, various Australian governments and their agencies have responded to increasing cyber threats and the necessity for data governance by rightly refining regulatory frameworks and increasing the data protection, privacy, and security requirements of all organisations.

The Australian Prudential and Regulation Authority (APRA) is taking strong strides in encouraging a greater focus on data governance and cyber resilience, which includes their recent announcement requiring “…a number of general insurers to review the soundness of their risk management frameworks in light of recent issues with business interruption (BI) insurance.”

Similarly, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) are now some of the leading bodies of their kind in the Asia-Pacific region.With the OAIC having put into place the Notifiable Data Breach Act and scheme in 2017, and the ACSC continuing to update their ‘Essential Eight Maturity Model’, which acts as a baseline for cyber threat mitigation strategies. These initiatives, while a great in their own right, must serve as springboard to encourage an economic-wide adoption and focus on establishing cyber resilience.

However, the adoption of a ‘cyber resilience first’ approach by private and public organisations is not the sole responsibility of the government, organisations must priorities it within their own leadership and boards, regardless of whether they are government departments or private company.

Especially considering cybercrime evolves and mutates at a much faster rate than mandated government initiatives, legislation, and regulation. However, if APRA’s latest Insight Report, titled Improving cyber resilience: the role boards have to play, highlights more action must be taken by organisations’ at a function, executive and board level:

“APRA’s observations from the CPS 234 assessment and its supervisory activities have found little evidence of boards actively reviewing and challenging the information that senior management has provided on cyber topics.

“In many cases, APRA observed that management reporting on information security to the board is not fit-for-purpose and unlikely to facilitate meaningful discussion. For example, APRA identified that some boards are not receiving information about the effectiveness of testing of information security controls.”

Situation and Actions

This is alarming given the various legislative and regulatory requirements of organisations when it comes to governing, storing, and protecting data, not to mention the fact Gartner’s 2021 Board of Directors Survey found regulatory compliance risk was rated as the highest source of enterprise risk internationally.

It also demonstrates the clear need for organisations and their leadership, both at a board and executive level, to unite under a collective approach or philosophy to uphold their data protection obligations.

Gartner also predicts that within the next three to four years over 40 per cent of boards of directors will have a dedicated cybersecurity committee overseen by a qualified board member, up from less than 10 per cent today.

However, organisations simply cannot wait three or four years to prioritise cyber security and data protection beyond their IT or security teams, if they are to meet regulatory expectations, respond effectively to cyber threats, and ensure business continuity.

The winners and losers of tomorrow to be decided by those that can better leverage their data to capitalise on the insights it provides, while adequately governing and protecting it.

Adopting a cyber resilience-first approach is fundamental to business continuity and economic competitiveness in this digital age, where data is every organisation’s most valuable and vulnerable asset.

The challenge for Australia is getting our organisations, their leadership and boards, governments, and regulators, to collectively strive to make cyber resilience a core organisational attribute.

What Accountants Do For Small Businesses [Review 2021] Accountants and Small Businesses

It doesn’t happen very often, but it can be devastating to a small business when it does. Tax examinations, penalties, ruined credit, and bankruptcy are the possible results when a business owner hires an incompetent accountant.

Accountants are consistently rated as the most trusted financial professional, with only 7% of respondents in a 2018 Gallup poll having a low or very low opinion of their honesty and ethics. Accountants do best for small businesses.

However, we occasionally receive a phone call from a distressed business owner who says their accountant caused significant problems. The business owner is usually being audited or sued, or they had no idea they were broke. We have learned from these calls that business owners need to be aware of warning signs that their accountants might not be who they appear to be.

If it’s too good to be true accountants for small businesses. A young married couple hired some sharp-dressed men who spoke at their church and claimed to be certified public accountants. The speakers asserted “secret IRS information” that would allow church members to write off their Sunday best clothing, meals with the family, and other personal expenses as business deductions.

Even after showing the couple the IRS code and several articles contradicting the accountants, they still believed the “secret information” line. The IRS actively pursues “tax scams” like these. If they identify an accountant who is not following the rules, the IRS can examine the returns of all of their clients.

Don’t worry about it. A terrified foreign doctor and his wife said their so-called “licensed accountant” told them they did not need to record the rental income and expenses for 14 rental properties on their taxes because they had “losses anyway.”

The accountant threatened that if they went to someone else, he would report them to the government, and the government would take away everything they own. The client was audited by the state of Queensland when tenants claimed the renter’s credit. Making things overly complicated. A potential client who leased equipment had eight different limited liability companies formed by his accountant. I assumed it was done as some misguided attempt at asset protection.

Instead, I learned the accountant didn’t know how to prepare a balance sheet, and every time a Proprietary Limited Company or Private Proprietary Company would reach a dollar amount of assets that required a balance sheet, he had the client open a new Proprietary Limited Company or Private Proprietary Company. The accountant was also able to charge for eight different Proprietary Limited Company or Private Proprietary Company tax returns.

Complete control

A business owner did not know his Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) had lost his license years ago for stealing from clients. He convinced the owner to hire him full-time “at a discounted rate.” According to the owner, the accountant with the revoked license never took a vacation, but he also never reconciled the bank accounts and was not able to finish tax returns or financial statements.

The CPA would become belligerent if the owner attempted to consult with other professionals. The owner also thought it was “funny” the accountant would “run” to be the first to open the bank statements. We discovered the accountant had been embezzling for years. By the time the client found out, he was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Besides the fact that these business owners hired bad accountants, what all of them had in common was that their CPA was not actually licensed by the state. The clients expressed shock when a simple search at the Australian competition and consumer commission (ACCC) website search. did not list their accountant or report their accountant had lost their license.

Many bookkeepers refer to themselves as accountants. There are advertisements that anyone can become a QuickBooks ProAdvisor in as little as two weeks. Bookkeepers process and record the day-to-day financial activities of a business. Only CPAs are allowed to provide attestation services, which are independent reviews of financial reports with conclusions (the CPA’s opinion) about the reliability of the data. There is no report a bookkeeper can legally produce that can provide those assurances.

This is not to say that all non-CPAs are unqualified. I have worked with very skilled bookkeepers and thoughtful tax preparers over the years who were excellent at their jobs. If a client needs an individual tax return prepared or help with small business bookkeeping, I will often refer to them.

Whether or not your accountant is a CPA, there are some measures you can take to protect yourself. Ask your accountant to put in writing any tax positions and to cite the IRS code or tax court cases supporting their position. Seek a second opinion if you are unsure. Learn about internal controls you can implement at your company (including mandated vacations) to prevent theft. Make a checklist of documents (like unopened bank statements) and reports that you will regularly require to review yourself, and do not be intimidated to ask questions.

Remember, you are the client, and it is your business and your net worth that are on the line. You would not allow an unlicensed doctor to perform surgery, and you would not hire an attorney who was disbarred to represent you in court. The first step is to know if your accountant is certified.

Why is certification necessary for Accountants for small businesses
The accounting profession has at the heart of its ethical standards the notion of serving the public interest. However, little or no effort is put into holding it to account by politicians who fail to ask the professional bodies and the largest firms in the land how they satisfy that requirement.

No periodic inquiry or hearing is conducted by the Commonwealth Parliament, for example, to quiz the professional accounting bodies or the major accounting firms about how they enforce the public interest in their day-to-day work.

It is left largely to self-regulation, but whether self-regulation is sufficient in the context of the accounting world merits further consideration following evidence given before a New South Wales Parliament committee hearing by a former KPMG partner, Brendan Lyon, about his resignation from the firm when he was pressured to modify to suit a client’s wishes the contents of a consulting report.

The need for accountants to be certified is becoming more and more important in Australia. The number of accountants with an Australian Certified Practicing Accountant (ACPA) designation has increased by 23% in the last 5 years. The Australian Financial Review’s annual Financial Services Survey found that the majority of the accountants surveyed were members of a professional accounting body. The Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) has taken a number of steps to raise the standards of accountants in Australia. The AASB is an independent body established by the Australian Government to set accounting standards for financial reporting and performance measurement in Australia. They publish standards and guidance on accounting and financial reporting and administer a voluntary national standard on the recognition of intangible assets. The AASB aims to provide assurance that the application of these standards and guidance will produce uniformity and consistency in financial reporting and performance measurement. The need for accountants to be certified is becoming more and more important in Australia because the AASB is making sure that there is consistency in financial reporting and performance measurement. The number of accountants with an ACPA designation has increased by 23% in the last 5 years, which means that there are more accountants who are certified and following the guidelines set by the AASB.

An accounting firm based in Melbourne, Australia, is taking steps to identify the most necessary qualities a tax advisor must have on behalf of their community. The firm believes that having the right tax advisor can legally reduce and eliminate taxes.

To any working individual, taxes are an inevitable part of life. It is worth noting there are plenty of strategies that advisors can implement to legally reduce and eliminate taxes. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and investors may have an upper hand when it comes to taxes as well, as tax law provides many incentives for these specific categories. There are some qualities that anyone should expect in a tax advisor, however. The first is having an advisor who uses a specific system to reduce taxes.

A knowledgeable tax advisor will know that at least 90% of pages of tax laws are dedicated to helping citizens reduce their taxes. This means that rather than claiming the standard deductions, they will have the knowledge and tools to help create and implement strategies that permanently reduce or eliminate taxes — and help their clients maintain their long-term wealth. An advisor who is skilled in this approach will analyze a client’s business or portfolio to create a custom tax strategy, as opposed to simply handling the client’s return files.

Another great trait in an advisor is if they are not overly wary of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Audits are never ideal, but they do happen, and the advisors at EW Partners are always ready to take them on for their clients. During an audit, a client should feel confident in leaving all ATO communication to their advisor. One can even ask for examples of how they have handled audits in the past to have a better understanding of how the advisor works. A good advisor will also make it a point to educate clients about the tax laws in Victoria. Rather than only guiding a client to make the best decisions, good advisors will take it upon themselves to teach their clients the law so that they understand everything to do with the process. A great advisor will know that there are business and investment decisions that can and will impact a client’s tax burden. A client having more knowledge to make smart decisions means a decrease in their taxes, a more successful business and, in the end, benefits an advisor as well as they have more work to do.

Finally, a good advisor will want to know everything about their client. In order to be able to create the most effective strategy, an advisor must know the ins and outs of a client’s business. For those who wonder why their personal life may play a role in the taxes from their business, it is worth noting that the two actually go hand in hand. Factors such as a client’s relationship with their family, their investments and more can all play a part in their ultimate tax strategy. When going to an advisor for accounting and tax advice, they must make sure that advisor knows all the important and seemingly mundane details of their life too.

Many bookkeepers refer to themselves as accountants. There are advertisements that anyone can become a QuickBooks ProAdvisor in as little as two weeks. Bookkeepers process and record the day-to-day financial activities of a business. Only Certified Professional Accountants are allowed to provide attestation services, which are independent reviews of financial reports with conclusions (the CPA’s opinion) about the reliability of the data. There is no report a bookkeeper can legally produce that can provide those assurances.

A review of the published reports from the CA State Board of Accountancy suggests that very few CPAs require disciplinary action. It makes sense that if an individual went through all of those years of study, a rigorous exam, and working long hours for someone else for little pay, they would be unlikely to risk their license by doing something inappropriate or careless.

This is not to say that all non-CPAs are unqualified. I have worked with very skilled bookkeepers and thoughtful tax Accountants over the years who were excellent at their jobs. If a client needs an individual tax return prepared or help with small business bookkeeping, I will often refer to them.

Whether or not your accountant is a CPA, there are some measures you can take to protect yourself. Ask your accountant to put in writing any tax positions and to cite the IRS code or tax court cases supporting their position. Seek a second opinion if you are unsure. Learn about internal controls you can implement at your company (including mandated vacations) to prevent theft. Make a checklist of documents (like unopened bank statements) and reports that you will regularly require to review yourself, and do not be intimidated to ask questions.

Remember, you are the client, and it is your business and your net worth that is on the line. You would not allow an unlicensed doctor to perform surgery, and you would not hire an attorney who was disbarred to represent you in court. The first step is to know if your accountant is certified.