tips for finding expat accountants

5 tips for finding expat accountants

A good accountant can be a huge economic (and emotional) benefit when you’re on home turf. When you’re overseas, finding that perfect accounting firm can be even more important. Unfortunately, being an expat means that the task of finding an accountant that you can trust could be just that little bit harder.

It’s the last thing that most adventurous expats want to be thinking about, but when it comes time to lodge your Australian tax return, you will need to consider finding a good accounting firm, wherever you are.

Here are our top 5 tips for finding expat accountants & expat tax specialists when you’re an Australian expat:

1. Find an accountant that specialises in Australian tax in an international context

Yes, whilst most accountants are purely domestic focused, accountants that specialise in expat tax services are out there and they are worth the search. A good accountant is invaluable, but an accountant that is willing to take on foreign tax and accounting that they’re not specialised in, might cost you money and time. And if you’re not careful, ultimately they may even be a liability!

2. Check their reputation & experience

Reviews are only a click of a mouse away. Don’t just head into a tax agent’s office because they are on your way home from the supermarket, take a moment to check their reputation and their experience. Questions to ask include, how long have they been around, how many years have they specialised in Australian tax in an international context as it applies to expats etc.

3. Who is handling your taxes?

While you may initially have contact with a CPA or CA, that doesn’t mean they’ll be the ones handling your tax. Make sure that you are being tended to by a qualified accountant and that your taxes aren’t being passed off to unqualified employees and/or work experience book-keepers.

4. Do they speak your language?

Both literally and figuratively, you need to make sure that your accountant speaks your language. To clarify, in order to have a complete grasp of where you are at and where you want to get to, your accountant needs to truly understand you and your needs. Don’t let them do your taxes and shut the door on your relationship. Make sure this is someone who you trust, someone who embraces your situation and works with you, and ultimately someone that you feel comfortable with and confident about.

5. Open communication is key

You don’t want your taxes to be the end of your accountant’s care. Your finances deserve to be looked after, and you deserve regular news, information and communication from your expat accountant. Make sure they are clear, honest, and communicative. Ensuring they have transparent costs and don’t charge you for every conversation that you have with them is a good first step!

Shane Macfarlane
Follow me

Shane Macfarlane

CEO & Founder at Expat Tax Services
Shane's an Australian Chartered Accountant and Australian expat tax specialist who's also an expat himself (based in Asia).Shane's passionate about tax and legitimate tax minimisation, particularly as it relates to Australian expats who are often subject to high rates of tax back home in Australia.Beyond tax and accounting, Shane's an entrepreneur, having devised, created and founded a successful accounting startup, Fifo Workpapers (acquired by accounting software giant, Intuit inc. in 2013)

In short Shane's a tax and software techno-geek, who recognised that Australian expats were unable to obtain the specialist advice and quality service, that they needed from their accountants. Accordingly, Shane founded Expat Tax Services to provide Australian expats with access to specialist, quality advice at fair and reasonable prices (no hourly rates, fees quoted upfront with unlimited support included) . . . receive the support and advice you need without having to take second-mortgage to pay your accountant's bill! Speak to Shane & the team today.
Shane Macfarlane
Follow me

Comments 2

  1. It is key when hiring anyone to make sure they “speak your language.” It is next to impossible to work with anyone who doesn’t. However, I would add a little to this, make sure you speak their language as well. Especially when it comes to finances and hiring an accountant. Some jargon is essential to their job and you should understand these terms so that you can both communicate freely.

  2. I agree with James. You really need to speak their language and understand some jargon otherwise miscommunication might happen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.