Fairness, truth, justice, and the belief we can all be better

Whether you’re a start up (you know you need an accountant and that they can help with tax stuff) or you’re an established business (you want more – your current accountant just isn’t cutting it), what you’re actually looking for is this:

A Trusted Advisor.

Well, you’ve found him! Yup, that’s me.

The only bad news is that I’m not your Dad. I don’t do spoon feeding.

My career has brought me to a place where I’m all about how we work TOGETHER. I’m a bit more selective than I used to be. If you’re ready to commit to the infinite possibilities I can help you find for you and your business, we can go places. Do great things.

Your business, your rules, your way, your infinite possibilities. And I can be that trusted advisor when we’re in it together.

So get ready for a serious commitment.

Our Relationship Agreement

To work together, here’s what we both commit to:

No – any future wife of mine might have something to say about that. But we are entering into an agreement that puts obligations on both of us. And if we’re going to work together, I REALLY need you to understand how that will work.

This agreement lays out how we commit to work together. BOTH OF US. I can’t do my job without you being involved, engaged, committed.

Your success means everything to me – I KNOW you have infinite possibilities.

If it is, you’ve come to the wrong place, and you shouldn’t sign.

Here’s the thing: Deep down, I love what I do, and I CARE. About you, about your business, about your infinite possibilities. And how that shows? I get pissed off. Disappointed. I take it really personally when you’ve given me the responsibility to do work for you, but you drag your heels, disappear, or go silent.

It’s SUCH a hard thing for me to wrap my head around – if you want good outcomes and you’ve asked for help, why wouldn’t you give me what I need to help you get them? It literally keeps me up at night.

If that’s the level of commitment you want from your accountant, read on!

I won’t compromise on these. They’re my deal breakers – for me and for you.

ValueWhat that means for meWhat that means for you
CaringI treat your business the same as I do my ownThe Golden rule. Treat me and my work the way you want to be treated.
ResilientI am flexible and adaptable to your needsYou gotta let me know what your needs are so I can work around them.
GenuineI practice what I teachTrust me. If you’re unsure whether what I’m advising you is right for you, don’t be afraid to ask me why.
No assumptionsI seek proper understanding before I act Be patient with my questions. To get the best outcomes for you, I need to understand your facts.
HonourableI keep my word and do what’s rightYou do the same.

This is how I work.  Are you in?

  • Helping you build a better world for you and your business
  • The IPL values – I mean, they’re mine after all
  • Always being available – You get ME, not some junior
  • Being an efficiency freak
  • Taking the success of you and your business personally
  • Leaving no business behind. Everyone gets my best. Always. No exceptions
  • Offering you a special meeting with me every year FOR FREE to review your business and my service, and make plans together
  • Checking in to make sure we’re working well together
  • Firing myself if I think I’m not serving you well
  • Not being a dickhead*
  • The IPL values – they go both ways
  • Really paying attention to the terms of this relationship agreement – holding yourself accountable to it
  • Providing me with everything I need, when I need it, so I can do my work for you
  • Paying my bills (see 11.Fees)
  • Telling me if you can’t or don’t want to pay bills (see 6.Oh shit moments – give me a chance? and 16.If you don’t pay)
  • Accepting full responsibility for the correctness of information you provide me
  • Telling me if anyone (other than you) will rely on the info I prepare so I can a) make it fit for purpose, and b) give consent for it to be used that way.
  • Firing me if you think I’m not serving you well (and you’ve considered 6.Oh shit moments – give me a chance? and 7.How we’ll work out any problems (IF we have any. Big if!) and you still want to)
  • Telling others if you think I’m great at what I do
  • Not being a dickhead*

No one’s perfect. I’m human, and I sometimes get it wrong (even though I do everything I can to not let that happen). If that happens, I’m the first to admit if I’ve made a mistake (and beat myself up over it for far too long). But I’m also not a mind reader. I’m not you. If you don’t let me know there’s a problem, I can’t fix it!

So, if things aren’t working with us, please let me know so I can learn and do better next time.

Let’s try to work it out like this:

  1. You let me know there’s a problem
  2. I’ll fix it if I can
  3. You have my rock-solid happiness guarantee, unless the dickhead clause* kicks in
  4. If the dickhead clause* kicks on, we go to mediation
  5. The mediator will make a choice between your offer or my offer, nothing in between
  6. We both accept the mediator’s decision – no disputes
  1. If there’s a problem, I’ll fix it.
  2. If you’re not happy with a fee, I’ll ask you to make me a fair offer of what you think the service is worth, and I’ll accept that. Really.

What’s a fair offer? You give me a number and some reasons for that (“it’s too much” is not a valid reason; “it was more than your quote of $x” would be a valid reason).

And let me say again, I can only work with what you give me. I know my stuff, and I’ll get it done to ridiculous levels of commitment and quality. But this is a two-way street – I can’t guarantee anything if you don’t do your part (see 5And, you commit to:).

I finish what I start. I don’t really sleep well if I can’t.

To honour my commitment to help you build a better world for you and your business, I’m going to chase you so I can finish what I start. I know life can get in the way, and I can work around that if need be! I just want to make sure I finish what you want and/or I’m not doing anything you don’t need any more.

But there’s chasing you, and there’s being a stalker. Stalker is not a good look on me. So I’ll chase you 3 times (in writing – there are always text messages and phone calls in between, because #ITakeYourBusinessPersonally). If I still get no joy, YOUR WORK WILL GET PARKED and clause 15 . Emergencies cost more might kick in.

I’ll still check in on you, but not as often. I’m not your mum.

Appendix A is a checklist where we’ve agreed who’s responsible for which tasks and services.   This is our starting point, and it will probably change over time as needed.

  • INVOICING – I send invoices out by email when I finish something for you, or at the end of each month (if your work is ongoing)
  • PAYMENT DUE DATE – All invoices are due 7 days after they’re sent out
  • DISBURSEMENTS – If I have to travel or incur any costs while doing your work, I’ll pass those charges on to you.
  • DEPOSIT – I might ask you to pay a deposit before we start work together
  • FIXED FEES – For some work, I can give you a fixed fee, and you can save 5% by paying in full up front. Ask me for more details.
  • FEES BASIS – I set my rates based on experience, qualification, specialist knowledge, results, and the urgency of your work. Bottom line – you get great value for a reasonable market rate.
  • CURRENT RATES – You can ask for a copy of my hourly rates at any time, and I’ll let you know if they change
  • FEESMART – You can pay your fees off over time. Ask me for more details.

I’ll never charge you for any time working through things in these situations

  • clause 11.Fees – any time spent querying or negotiating my fees
  • clauses 6.Oh shit moments – give me a chance?7.How we’ll work out any problems (IF we have any. Big if!) and 8.And that gets you a rock-solid, happiness guarantee – any discussions about what needs to happen for you to be happy with my work
  • wrapping things up and handing you over to a new accountant (you firing me or me firing me)
  • quick phone calls and emails (up to 8 minutes each time)
  • anytime I tell you something’s free

If I work with anyone who’s offering me fees or commissions or kickbacks for me to refer you, I simply won’t take it.  I’ll ask for you to get the kickback, not me. That ensures my integrity – you can be sure I’ve referred you for your benefit, not mine.

  • The only exceptions to this are Xero and Audit Shield, where the small margin I receive covers my administration costs.

Because you’ve got me in your camp, I care when shit goes down.  When things come up unexpectedly, I’ll always do my best to help.

So if I become aware of a problem while I am doing my work for you, you get to choose your best solution:

  1. I’ll tell you about the problem, and you will have to fix it before we go any further (no charge)
  2. You come in and see me, and we find a way to fix it together (we’ll talk costs)
  3. I fix it for you (we’ll talk costs)
  4. You do nothing (the problem gets bigger and more expensive to fix)


I plan very carefully to meet IRD deadlines for you … the main one being 31 March to file everyone’s income tax returns. That’s also the end of the tax year, and the beginning of the next tax year. This makes March particularly busy for me – having to satisfy both IRD and our clients. And I have other busy times, too – let’s call all of those crunch times.

To make sure I can meet everyone’s demands properly, here’s what you need to know: IF –

a) I’ve given you plenty of advance warning of what I need from you and by when, and
b) Crunch time rolls around and you haven’t given me what I need, then
c) That falls into the “emergencies you’ve caused” category, and this is how things

Option 1 – I’ll do your work during the Crunch Time but I won’t work evenings and
weekends, so I can’t guarantee meeting the deadline but I’ll do my best. You pay a 50%

Option 2 – To jump the line and get my guarantee to meet your deadline, I’ll work evenings and weekends and do WHATEVER IT TAKES (because #icare). You pay a 100% premium.

If I can see this situation on the horizon, I’ll warn you. Then it’s up to you to decide.

  • I’ll charge a $25 late payment fee plus interest calculated daily at the rate my bank charges me for my overdraft. Sounds fair, right?
  • The 3-strikes rule applies – I’ll chase you three times and then:
    • I stop work, and
    • I hold your records until you’ve paid, and
    • Any costs that flow from your work going unfinished are your problem, not mine (IRD penalties and others), and
    • Your account gets sent to a debt collector, and
    • You’re liable for all debt collection and legal costs
  • Hard ass? Yeah. I’m not your dad.  I’ve got other clients who are paying me who deserve my attention.

I won’t:

  • Share your information with anyone other than CAANZ, unless you instruct me to
  • Hold your records longer than I’m obligated to
  • Destroy any of your information (even if you ask me to)

I will:

  • Provide your new accountant (if we break up) with all the information they would need to take over your services
  • Deal with any potential conflicts of interest with full transparency (like working with your ex, or a competitor, family member, you get the picture). Here’s how this works:
    • My existing client must agree it’s okay for me to work for you
    • Any communication between me and one person (that could impact the other person) must include the other person – no secrets
    • I don’t take sides – I fire myself from both if it gets messy
  • CAANZ is the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
  • I’ll abide by all the CAANZ rules, regulations, and ethical obligations
  • I’m not a financial advisor
  • I have professional indemnity insurance that covers the work and services I offer
  • All the rest of the CAANZ fine print is attached as Appendix B

Under this Act, I have to be cautious in a range of situations where you might ask me to act on your behalf.  If one of these situations arises, I’ll let you know what I can and can’t do.

  • Obtain information about you from credit agencies to check your credit worthiness
  • Use 3rd party subcontractors to carry out your work when needed – they’ll also be bound by this agreement
  • Connect potential new IPL clients with you, so you can tell them how awesome I am
  • Use your business as a case study on my website (after you’ve approved the way it’s written)
  • Update this agreement every now and then, as long as I provide you with an updated agreement to sign
  • Get information from 3 rd parties when it’s relevant to the work we’re doing, and when I’ve specifically discussed it with you.

A dickhead makes everything about them. They think they’re entitled to things, expect the rules to be different for them, keep secrets, and get really demanding and loud. No dickheads allowed.

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