Natalie Webster and Lucinda Morley have to count all 10,000 books at The River Read bookshop by hand.
Natalie Webster and Lucinda Morley have to count all 10,000 books at The River Read bookshop by hand. Geoff Potter

Good accountant is key to survival

THINK June 30 is all about tax?

Think again.

It’s also the date Einstein’s theory of relativity was first published (1905), the day Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind hit the book stores (1936), exactly when Menzies announced we were at war with Vietnam (1965) and the day Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese (1997).

Natalie Webster probably doesn’t much care for the June 30 trivia, even though some of the books inside her Noosaville book shop The River Read would no doubt contain more.

She is knee deep in paperwork and piles of books in the lead-up to the end of financial year deadline.

“It is a continual process, not something that just happens on June 30,” she said.

“It’s not as big a deal because you are doing your BAS quarterly, so really all you have to do at the end of the year is print a report out.”

Ms Webster lets an accountant handle all end-of-year tax compliance, but she looks after the rest of the year’s financials.

The biggest impact in June for Ms Webster, who runs the business with her sister Lucinda Morley, is stocktake.

“In our case it is not automated, so we have to physically count everything.

And that is time consuming and difficult, especially with books.

“I would say there are at least 10,000 things to count and it would take us about 10 hours.

And we are a seven-day business, so we have to do it after hours, we can’t do it in a work day.

“It rolls around very quickly...I feel like we just did it.”

Ms Webster said she was lucky to have a partner in the business, as tax compliance throughout the year took up a lot of time.

“All it used to be was putting in a tax return; now, since the GST came in, all small businesses are tax collectors and agents for the government.

“I pay an accountant to do my tax at the end of the year, but I cannot afford to pay an accountant to prepare my BAS and wages each quarter.

"So I do it myself but I don’t really get paid for my time doing the bookwork.

"Others employ bookkeepers, but for many small businesses, there’s not a lot of money to do that.

“Maybe there should be some sort of tax break encouraged for the fact that we do the hours we do or some assistance for the extra work small business has to put in.

“When you do your BAS, there is a section (on the form) that asks you how long it took you.

"Well, the form would have taken me two minutes, but the input of information, collating it, filing it and getting it out would have taken me hours.”

But she said the key to surviving June unscathed was simple.

“The trick to tax time is having a good accountant who is real and understands small business and understands that I am not an accountant, I am a business owner.

"The key is your relationship with your accountant.”



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