Do you really need a chartered accountant?

05 February 2020

Eveything you ever needed to know about chartered accountants and the difference with ATAINZ accountants.

What are the similarities and differences between Chartered Accountants (CA) and Accountants and Tax Agents Institute of New Zealand (ATAINZ) Accountants?

If you are a business owner in New Zealand, then you have certain responsibilities to report on and pay tax for your business’s income. Correctly working out your tax obligations and ensuring you are compliant with New Zealand tax law can be a tricky job and that’s why so many business owners outsource this responsibility to an accountant.  But how do you know what kind of accountant you actually need?

In New Zealand, anyone can actually call themselves an accountant without having any formal qualifications or experience, so it pays to choose an accountant that has some professional body affiliation or qualifications and experience.

While many people may have heard of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), there’s another professional body called Accountants and Tax Agents Institute of New Zealand (ATAINZ) that is also recognised by the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) as approved tax agents.

Both CAANZ members and ATAINZ members must meet certain criteria to be eligible to become members. These criteria can include formal qualifications or relevant sector work experience. This ensures that the bar is set appropriately high to only include people who have the appropriate skills and experience to represent their affiliation.

Both organisations also require members to maintain current technical knowledge through ongoing education or continuing professional development (CPD). This ongoing education comes in the form of informal reading and meetings, to formal qualifications, conferences and workshops. This education is essential for modern accountants navigating the constantly shifting tax law landscape.

Both organisations also require members to adhere to strict codes of conduct and ethics, this ensures the quality of members is high and boosts customer confidence in choosing members from either affiliation. Both organisations also have a disciplinary process for members that are not meeting the standards of their codes.

That’s where the similarities between the organisations end, and some of the differences start to become obvious.

CAANZ is a large organisation spanning New Zealand and Australia, it has a large membership and as such earns high revenues from members and this is evident in its marketing and resourcing. CAANZ also requires their own members accounting practises to become licensed, a process that includes a comprehensive initial audit and ongoing periodic audits allowing the firm to operate as a licensed public practise. This comes at a cost though as the overhead to maintain a public practise license doesn’t come cheap. That means that many CAANZ practises either focus on medium to large enterprises or have to price their services at the top end of the market. Also, CAANZ practises are accredited by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) to undertake audits on New Zealand businesses and this is essential for some businesses such as non-profits and publicly listed companies.

ATAINZ on the other hand is a relatively small but growing organisation. Practices with ATAINZ members are not required to jump through the same public practise audit hoops because ATAINZ members are the accountants themselves rather than the firm. This means ATAINZ members don’t carry the same high overheads to maintain their professional affiliation and this is reflected in the pricing of their services – often half that of an equivalent CAANZ and they’re more suited to small and medium sized business customers to represent.

So, while ATAINZ members cannot undertake an audit, they can prepare your financial statements ready for auditing and may offer better value as accountants for your tax compliance, financial statements and business advice.

In saying that, Kiwitax actually has several Chartered Accountants and Accounting Technicians on their team and the business is authorised as a CAANZ training provider as well.

So now you know the difference between CAANZ and ATAINZ members, checkout our guide to finding the perfect accountant for your business.

About Kiwitax – Award winning business improvement, tax and accounting service

Here’s the thing. As a business, rental property owner or start-up, you get a kick out of having your own gig. But chances are dealing with your tax and accounting leaves you cold. Good news! We love it, so hand it over to Kiwitax and we’ll look after it all for you.

Whether you deal with us online, by phone or drop into our Napier office, you’ll find a friendly, professional hardworking team ready to work with you, however you keep track of your financial information and from wherever you do business. And all for a fixed price.

Plus if you’re at a loss to know how to improve aspects of your business – from growth planning to cashflow management, even tax debt and so much more – we’re all over that too. Our Business Improvement advisors can help you make a plan and put it into action.

Kiwitax are a preferred training provider for Business Improvement services through the Regional Business Partner Network Capability Voucher Scheme. This is a government funded scheme designed to boost business capability by providing funding of up to 50% of approved training programs with specified training providers up to a maximum value of $5000.

If you liked this article and want to make improvements in your business, with quarterly coaching sessions specifically tailored to support you to identify and achieve your business goals, lets chat!