Don't get caught in a rip this financial year

As a creative, choosing an accountant who understands you and your business is important, especially as we head towards the end of financial year.
Don't get caught in a rip this financial year

Holly Shoebridge/ Oceans Accounting; image supplied.

Attempting to complete a tax return for her photography business is an experience that still haunts Holly Shoebridge, a creative who also runs Oceans Accounting.

‘I had just started studying accounting and was looking at the legislation on the ATO website about claiming depreciation on my camera and just found a lot of that to be really complex and confusing,’ Shoebridge said.

‘When I did go to see an accountant, the approach and environment felt like they were tailored to the white collar worker or business owner, and they really didn’t understand a creative or creative business.'

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As a creative, Shoebridge understands how important it is to find the right accountant – one who can simplify and explain the financial aspect of running your business as well as working with you to achieve the best result.

‘I started Oceans Accounting specifically to work with creatives because I know what it was like trying to manage my own creative business,’ she said. ‘Our point of difference is the attentive and collaborative approach we take with all of our clients.’

The Oceans’ business model uses the latest technology to break down geographical barriers, enabling real time document sharing and web meetings. 

'We found there’s a 98% uptake on the virtual meetings and phone meetings as opposed to the traditional style of sitting down face to face in an accounting office,’ Shoebridge said.

Number crunching tips for creatives

Approaching the end of financial year can be a stressful time for many businesses if they haven’t managed their recordkeeping throughout the year.

‘Underpinning all successful businesses and a relatively stress free end of financial year is good record keeping,’ Shoebridge admits. ‘If a client presents a centralised, neat & tidy set of records to their accountant, it can help to keep accountant costs down and also be very useful if the ATO ever asks for further details.’

'When you get to tax time make sure you’re not dealing with a proverbial shitstorm by trying to collate a year’s worth of business records.'

Oceans are responsive to clients’ different budgets with, four packages including Compliance, Intermediate, Comprehensive and Virtual CFO and can also tailor packages specifically. 

‘Our clients can choose to outsource the often time-consuming legwork or the not-so-exciting part of the business to us,’ Shoebridge said. 

For creatives on a tighter budget, her advice is to invest in some cloud accounting software that helps you keep receipts and records together to allow for document management. 

'This [software] helps you to keep a close eye on income, expenditure and bank records,' she said. 'There’s an old saying: “What gets managed, gets measured.” Cloud accounting software can help you to keep track of spending, areas generating most income and allow for meaningful planning for the year ahead.'

And her top tip leading into the end of financial year? Plan ahead!

‘When you get to tax time make sure you’re not dealing with a proverbial shitstorm by trying to collate a year’s worth of business records. If people are creative, the last thing they want to deal with is several weeks of compiling and reconciling 12 months worth of records or wearing the cost of paying the accountant to do it for you.’

For more information on Oceans Accounting visit: oceansaccounting.com.au

About the author

Sabine Brix is a writer, editor, podcaster and electronic musician with a specific interest in personal storytelling that captures the essence of why people create. She was the former Online Content Producer at Archer Magazine and editor of the LGBTI website: Gay News Network.

She has produced sound art for BBC's Radio4  and composed music for the web series Starting From Now, which screened on SBS.

Follow Sabine on Twitter @sabinebrix