Ka Mak is the principal owner and operator of St George Taxcare in Sydney’s CBD.
Since Ka Mak opened his practice six years ago, dissatisfaction with the personal interactions of previous accountants has been a common theme among his walk-in clients.
“It’s interesting, because I’ve found that when people change accountants they are really looking for guidance, for someone to hold their hand,” Ka says. “Frequently a new client will say to me that they felt it was time to change accountants because of a lack of interaction with their previous one.”
Ka is very keen on relationship building. He finds that at times it can be difficult to find the right material on the ATO website.
“What I’ve found is that simply providing clients with the right and relevant information goes a long way to help in these efforts. I find that Tax & Super Australia are very useful for material that is across my clients’ language. So this is an aspect that I’ve found to be very helpful for me,” Ka says.
Educating clients is a challenging element of Ka’s line of work.
Ka says, “This can be very time consuming, so any help in this area is welcome. With individuals but also with my SME clients, there is always room for improvement.”
St George Taxcare’s client base comprises over 500 overall, 50 being small businesses. Ka says that the average tax practitioner is expected to provide a more comprehensive service for clients these days.
“Clients seem to want a lot more from their accountant, usually centring on any money-related aspects they come across,” says Ka. “This can be financial planning advice, sourcing finance and so on, but of course you need a licence to do any of that.” For his part, Ka can provide planning advice as a representative for an AFSL, and can arrange mortgages.
The changes to investment property claims has been a source of concern for quite a few of Ka’s clients, in particular the announcement made in the Federal Budget last year about residential income-producing property depreciation. Investors had in the past been eligible to claim qualifying plant and equipment depreciation on assets found in an investment property they purchase, even if these had been installed by a previous owner.
“The change takes this away for properties purchased after the budget announcement in May 2017, even though the legislation didn’t come into affect until July 2017.
“This has been an unfortunate change for a few of my clients,” says Ka.