In 2010 Charlotte and her husband went to their accountant. Her husband Ben, is an expert polisher, one of the best in Geelong, and she is raising four young children. The accountant told Ben, that he should “get MYOB software and do his own books to save money.” Although he is an expert polisher he is not an expert with computers or software or bookkeeping for that matter.
This became evident when in 2012 the family brought their books back to the accountant. The accountant got upset and said “I told you that you should get some bookkeeping software and do the books yourself.” After a difficult and disagreeable meeting it was suggested that Charlotte do the books for the family business. The accountant told Charlotte “…..this is exactly how you do it. Don’t worry about how Ben used to do it I want you to do it this way from now on. Ideally I want you to go back through what Ben has done and also do it exactly this way.”
Charlotte tried and tried over the following year to do the past two years and the current year using the software, and at the same time trying to learn how to become a bookkeeper and raise four young children while Ben was at work.
In 2013 when Charlotte and Ben returned to the accountant, the accountant said that Charlotte and Ben were “hopeless.” Shortly after that the accountant informed them that he was no longer willing to “help.”
After much disagreement with Ben, Charlotte agreed to try again and started compiling her books and the all the mail from the tax office. At the school crossing one day Charlotte saw one of the Diligence Bookkeeping cars with the contact details on it, and gave the number a call. Immediately Charlotte was shown the Xero software package and how it was able to capture large amounts of information. All of the past financial years were compiled into the database.
Because Charlotte had all of the information she was able to compile the data for:
- her tax account,
- Ben’s tax account,
- the business BAS account,
- her personal PAYG account, and
- Ben’s personal PAYG account.
In total the family had five accounts at the tax office. It was a complex structure and very difficult to comprehend.
Last week, after four months of working through the last few years worth of transactions together, Charlotte was able to say that she was totally up to date and she had lodged all of her outstanding tax and BAS lodgements to the ATO. With the help of the Diligence Bookkeeping BAS agents, Charlotte was able to negotiate payment plans on those accounts that she was able to afford and that the ATO would accept.
In summary, somehow it became Charlotte’s fault that:
- Ben didn’t do the books properly for two years,
- the accountant didn’t help him do the books properly,
- that she couldn’t figure out the past two years while raising four kids and doing the current year’s bookkeeping, and then finally,
- that she couldn’t do all that work to the methodology and acceptance of the accountant.
If you ask us that’s just not fair.
Now she’s up to date and Diligence have put systems in place to keep her up to date and she is a very happy mum again. She has learned a great deal about the systems and software, and will do some work herself and whatever she does not get done, she knows who to ask.
As a final note, when our BAS agent told this story to the ATO they showed clemency. They remitted all of Charlotte’s fines (over $17,000) and her interest too.
It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t her fault and now she’s moving on thanks to the ATO, Xero, her persistence and the help of her bookkeepers.