Entrepreneurship & Small Business

How much you pay for accounting fees?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 17th, 2018 7:29 am
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2009
5709 posts
3045 upvotes

How much you pay for accounting fees?

Hi guys, sure it's been mentioned before but just wanted to see how much people are paying for accounting fees out there; Not sure if my accountant is overcharging me.

I have two corps:

Each one I pay $3085 + tax for the corporate tax return.

T4 slips are $125 + tax per employee and $125+ tax for each T5 slip.

I also pay for personal return roughly $150 + tax. If I have cap gains I get charged $50+ tax for each entry.


Just wanted to get some perspective out there.

Thanks.
17 replies
Newbie
User avatar
Nov 18, 2012
19 posts
4 upvotes
Vancouver
Would probably need a bit more context to answer the question accurately (full disclosure I'm an accountant).

Do you typically get a compilation done or a review? What industry does your business operate in aka how big is it?

Biggest question of all.. what are the state of your books? Do you do the Bookkeeping and provide it to your accountant or does he/she get a box full of receipts for year end.

As for your personal, depends on whether you have other things going on the side, e.g. rental property, large volumes of stock trades, sole proprietorship or partnerships etc.
Sr. Member
Feb 23, 2005
865 posts
21 upvotes
604paladin wrote:
Jan 10th, 2018 2:51 pm
Would probably need a bit more context to answer the question accurately (full disclosure I'm an accountant).

Do you typically get a compilation done or a review? What industry does your business operate in aka how big is it?

Biggest question of all.. what are the state of your books? Do you do the Bookkeeping and provide it to your accountant or does he/she get a box full of receipts for year end.

As for your personal, depends on whether you have other things going on the side, e.g. rental property, large volumes of stock trades, sole proprietorship or partnerships etc.
+1.

Notice to reader vs review itself would be a big difference in terms of pricing, accountant needs to do much more work on a review, especially with the new review engagement standards effective for year ends on Dec 14, 2017 and later. I'm an accountant as well, usually we charge everything together (one fix amount for all services done, year end, T4s, T5s, and T1s), rather than charging each item individually.
Deal Addict
Feb 25, 2007
1055 posts
478 upvotes
Ottawa
I have 2 companies, a 1.5 person consulting company and a holding company.
Notice to reader fin statements, corp tax, HST filing, advice as needed: $3000/company/yr+HST flat rate

I scan my receipts and keep an electronic list (date, amount, what it was/rationale); acct goes through and classifies it into categories as needed, occasionally referring to the scanned receipt but usually only post-processing the electronic list.
T4 and T5 slips included (I only have a couple every year).
Provided by a competent but quirky accountant affiliated with our personal investment manager.

Personal I.M. is in fact a financial planner. Annual meeting, financial plan, manages investments in our personal accounts and in the holdco. Charges 1% p.a. wrap fee on top of portfolio's embedded costs, which are 0.15-0.2% (mainly ETFs). Preparation of personal tax returns, plus any followup, included in the fee. (As I've mentioned elsewhere, the investment manager attempts to add value primarily via sector rotation. In the past 10 years, has barely made up for his fees vs a self-implemented purely passive benchmark, so in effect we get the tax optimization, tax preparation, and other admin for free.)
Newbie
Mar 30, 2016
54 posts
19 upvotes
604paladin wrote:
Jan 10th, 2018 2:51 pm
Would probably need a bit more context to answer the question accurately (full disclosure I'm an accountant).

Do you typically get a compilation done or a review? What industry does your business operate in aka how big is it?

Biggest question of all.. what are the state of your books? Do you do the Bookkeeping and provide it to your accountant or does he/she get a box full of receipts for year end.

As for your personal, depends on whether you have other things going on the side, e.g. rental property, large volumes of stock trades, sole proprietorship or partnerships etc.
+1 to this as well. This is certainly a hard question to answer. These would be good indicators of a price swing.

However I could use some of the data in this thread so keep on posting :P.
Erik Douglas, CPA, CGA - Tax Accountant, Downtown Toronto.
Tax/Accounting Blog: http://edouglascpa.com/the-laymans-accountant/
Newbie
User avatar
Nov 18, 2012
19 posts
4 upvotes
Vancouver
Sanyo wrote:
Jan 10th, 2018 2:29 pm
Hi guys, sure it's been mentioned before but just wanted to see how much people are paying for accounting fees out there; Not sure if my accountant is overcharging me.

I have two corps:

Each one I pay $3085 + tax for the corporate tax return.

T4 slips are $125 + tax per employee and $125+ tax for each T5 slip.

I also pay for personal return roughly $150 + tax. If I have cap gains I get charged $50+ tax for each entry.


Just wanted to get some perspective out there.

Thanks.
One thing i also forgot to mention was that location matters as well. E.G. I have noticed accountants in Toronto's rates tend to be slightly higher than accountant's in Vancouver for instance (Non-Big 4 or med size firms such as BDO). I can say that if your holding company doesn't have a whole lot of transactions in it... E.G. it receives a dividend from your Op Co and has say 4-5 transactions in a year and there is only one or two owners... $3k is obviously very much on the high side there.

Typically on Holdcos I'd charge in the $750-$1,250 range for the scenario i described above.

Also keep in mind if you are the type to call your accountant every week or every other week on "something" and they don't charge you per phone call, that may be a way they even the playing field as well. Feel free to DM me for more info.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2009
5709 posts
3045 upvotes
They are both corps. Not sure how much he works on them. I do my own quickbooks and provide all salary info by Excel provided by accountant.

Having seen a T4 slip, I could probably do one in 5 mins with the info I give.

So $3000+ tax for each of my 2 corps ($6000 for two).

Now that I checked I realized I paid more -- $350 for each T5 slip and summary (gives a 30% discount). $250 for each T4 slip (gives a 30% discount on slip).

Accountant meets me for about 30 mins- 1 hour after each filing corp filing. Not much else all year, so I think he's having gravy with me...

Wanna know what everyone thinks...
Newbie
Jan 11, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote
I don't want to be mean, but I think accountants operate with a figure in their mind that makes it worth it to them, and charge that. I've had several who always ended up charging me the same amount ($1200/year). But the reality is, it really only takes them an hour or a month average to take care of simple files, where all the records are electronics and the corp is doing most of the bookeeping in an online accounting system. Sure, the accountant deserves some amount for "paying attention," but that's what the accounting system is supposed to be mainly for. What really turned me off is, thinking they must be able to do more than this, I asked me last accountant something like "I think it'd be good for me to pay myself X this year" and he replied "sure, sounds fine," then charged me two extra hours for that "advice." I've since found an accountant who charges $50/month, which I find much more reasonable, although since I just want to play between the lines I'll be happy when this is all handled at source and automated.

Be in business more than a few years and you'll realize how many artificial layers there are, like anyone else. I had the most basic financial advice to ask a large financial advice company, the type of advice they must be asked dozens of times a year, and after hemming and hawing they said they'd have to get their lawyer on it and it'd cost $8k. These kinds of obstacles are one reasons there aren't more entrepreneurs.
Newbie
Jan 11, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote
snoopr wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 12:04 pm
take care of simple files
To clarify, "simple files" in this case means maybe 200 repetitive bank transactions a year, a few clients, one employee, plus occasional subcontractors. The accountant is mainly going "uh-huh" and generating some standard forms. Can't begrudge anyone work, but these layers become more like a kind of complex employment program, and the little guys will always lose out.
Newbie
User avatar
Nov 18, 2012
19 posts
4 upvotes
Vancouver
Sanyo wrote:
Jan 11th, 2018 10:50 pm
They are both corps. Not sure how much he works on them. I do my own quickbooks and provide all salary info by Excel provided by accountant.

Having seen a T4 slip, I could probably do one in 5 mins with the info I give.

So $3000+ tax for each of my 2 corps ($6000 for two).

Now that I checked I realized I paid more -- $350 for each T5 slip and summary (gives a 30% discount). $250 for each T4 slip (gives a 30% discount on slip).

Accountant meets me for about 30 mins- 1 hour after each filing corp filing. Not much else all year, so I think he's having gravy with me...

Wanna know what everyone thinks...
Well - based on what you said, yes I think that is high. However, would put some caution in that statement as there can always be that one detail that got missed out that would make it more seemingly reasonable.. but off a very high level glance.. yes there is a lot of fat in that billing.
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
1788 posts
1145 upvotes
For a small company with under 10 employees, we have a contract accountant who charges us $650/month to do the bookkeeping (Quickbooks) and payroll (Payment Evolution). He also prepares the annual statements, and the tax return (WebTax4b) at no extra charge. T4s are automatically created by the payroll processor.

Originally we used 2 more accountants, a senior contract accountant who gave us strategic accounting advice and prepared the annual statements at a cost of $800-$1200, and a tax accountant with a local tax firm who prepared the tax return for $1100-$1500. They were very helpful in getting us started and getting our systems and procedures set up. But as our business matured and stabilized, we found that they were no longer contributing much value, so they handed off to our regular account/bookkeeper. That works out fine as long as nothing unusual comes up.

I think that's a general trend that small business owners should consider. Experienced consultants are very useful to you in the beginning in getting things set up and functioning properly, well worth the money. But once everything is running smoothly, their expertise is no longer needed full time, and it's a waste of your money to keep paying them. They won't pay much attention to the routine stuff because they don't need to. There are a lot of cost-effective options available to you these days providing services that at one time cost a lot more money, and if your consultants are good, they'll be advising you to use them. Just make sure you don't end up wasting a lot of your valuable time doing something that someone else with more experience could do more cost-effectively for your business.
Newbie
User avatar
Nov 18, 2012
19 posts
4 upvotes
Vancouver
snoopr wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 12:04 pm
I don't want to be mean, but I think accountants operate with a figure in their mind that makes it worth it to them, and charge that. I've had several who always ended up charging me the same amount ($1200/year). But the reality is, it really only takes them an hour or a month average to take care of simple files, where all the records are electronics and the corp is doing most of the bookeeping in an online accounting system. Sure, the accountant deserves some amount for "paying attention," but that's what the accounting system is supposed to be mainly for. What really turned me off is, thinking they must be able to do more than this, I asked me last accountant something like "I think it'd be good for me to pay myself X this year" and he replied "sure, sounds fine," then charged me two extra hours for that "advice." I've since found an accountant who charges $50/month, which I find much more reasonable, although since I just want to play between the lines I'll be happy when this is all handled at source and automated.

Be in business more than a few years and you'll realize how many artificial layers there are, like anyone else. I had the most basic financial advice to ask a large financial advice company, the type of advice they must be asked dozens of times a year, and after hemming and hawing they said they'd have to get their lawyer on it and it'd cost $8k. These kinds of obstacles are one reasons there aren't more entrepreneurs.
Agree with some parts of your statement and disagree with others. In what you said "...thinking they must be able to do more than this.." to some degree a strong accountant should! I get clients all clients all the time who say similar things, "Should i pay myself more? what Can i do differently that works best?" I mean as an entrepreneur the backbone is that you are looking to improve your business. A good accountant should act as your ally in doing so. There are several clients i contact on a regular basis, just to see how things are doing not to necessarily drum up business. That being said, what your talking about is the same in industry, difference between say a good plumber who will let you know that maybe you want to look at the floor boards that are making the toilet crooked first before you install the toilet versus the plumber who will install it, no questions asked.
Jr. Member
Apr 29, 2017
186 posts
47 upvotes
My wife and I run a small business which was just started a year ago. I've been the bookkeeping and have totals of every category for deduction to bring to accountant. Then just have a total for our income and gst/gst credits. Any idea what I should be in the range of for costs for a bit of advice, gst and our personal taxes?

I've got all these friends in the same business landscaping, who say they pay almost zero taxes, I don't get it. In our first year I've spent $40k on vehicles and tools and with only about 100k gross profit I've put aside 20k for taxes. Seems like there is a lot of shady accountants out there?
Newbie
User avatar
Nov 18, 2012
19 posts
4 upvotes
Vancouver
Mitts87 wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 8:12 pm
My wife and I run a small business which was just started a year ago. I've been the bookkeeping and have totals of every category for deduction to bring to accountant. Then just have a total for our income and gst/gst credits. Any idea what I should be in the range of for costs for a bit of advice, gst and our personal taxes?

I've got all these friends in the same business landscaping, who say they pay almost zero taxes, I don't get it. In our first year I've spent $40k on vehicles and tools and with only about 100k gross profit I've put aside 20k for taxes. Seems like there is a lot of shady accountants out there?
why not ask your landscaping friends what they pay to their accountant?
Jr. Member
Apr 29, 2017
186 posts
47 upvotes
That's their personal business I won't ask if they don't bring it up.

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