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Accounting for Real Estate Agents
As you would know, being the Principal in charge of a real estate agency is challenging. You need to deal with the highs and lows associated with a variable and seasonal property market not to mention the ever increasing REIV and Government regulations, ethical standards, weekend work, long hours and difficult vendors. That aside, you also have compliance issues with your trust account and continuing professional development plus the usual small business compliance burden associated with GST, BAS, PAYG and superannuation.
Here at Hyde Cooper Wells we understand the real estate agencies. Over the years, our team of accountants have mentored dozens of real estate agents through the various stages of their business life cycle, from start up right through to sale. The team offer you experience and an intimate understanding of your industry.
STARTING OR BUYING A REAL ESTATE AGENCY
As a business start-up specialist, our team of accountants have helped dozens of real estate agents get their business off to a flying start. We offer you experience, technical tax knowledge and most importantly, an intimate understanding of your industry.
Starting a business is a bit like building a house. You need solid foundations including the right business structure, accounting software, adequate and appropriate insurances, marketing, a website and social media channels. Your choice of business structure is critical and there are a number of different options such as sole trader, partnership, company and trust. Asset protection is a key consideration when selecting a business structure and when deciding on the right business structure you also need to take into account your family situation, forecast level of profit and your future plans regarding admission of new business partners.
Accounting software is another brick in the wall of your business foundations. Again, the wrong choice can be catastrophic because poor business records are one of the biggest causes of business failure in this country. You need up to date, accurate financial records to make informed business decisions which is why we insist your accounting software matches your business needs and level of accounting skill. Using a sophisticated double entry accounting software program without a reasonable level of accounting skill can create a 'computerised shoebox' and you also need to consider cloud accounting options. Here at Hyde Cooper Wells we aim to minimise the cost of compliance for you but shoebox records defeat the purpose. For that reason, once we evaluate your business needs and skills we then train you to use the software.
As you know, to build a house you also need the right tools. When 'constructing' your business we also use a number of tools including our start up expense checklist to identify all your potential establishment costs. It dissects your start up costs into several categories including leasehold improvements, IT, marketing, equipment, furniture & fittings, professional services, licenses and working capital. These figures then automatically feed into a cash flow budget template to help you identify any finance requirements and they can also tuck neatly into your business plan. For a real estate agent your car is arguably your most important business tool. You can download our Motor Vehicle Tax Guide from the resources section of our website to learn more about the alternative methods of claiming your vehicle expenses and the distinction between a business and private trip for tax purposes. In addition, through our affiliate partners we can also assist with vehicle finance (chattel mortgage, CHP or lease) and get you fleet pricing on your new car that could save you thousands of dollars.
That’s just the beginning because as accountants we can do some financial modelling and prepare some ‘what if’ scenarios to identify your best and worst case profit scenarios. Next, using industry benchmarks we can compare the performance of your business against your competitors so you understand what is working in your business and what needs working on.
We are recognised by our clients and peers as a business start-up specialist and can offer you advice on a range of issues including site selection, tax registrations, insurances, HR matters, payroll and the preparation of a business plan. On an operational level, we understand what is required for a successful opening and we can even assist you in executing the successful launch of your real estate agency. That’s really just the beginning because as accountants we can offer you advice regarding business insurances and prepare some ‘what if’ financial scenarios so you know your business’ best and worst case scenarios.
Marketing Your Business
For real estate agents, your marketing could be the difference between gloom and boom and one of our biggest points of difference compared to traditional accounting firms is our marketing expertise. We can assist you with your branding (business name, logo and slogan) and offer you advice regarding your website design and content. If required, we can also help you create a corporate brochure and harness the power of social media to win more referrals.
From a marketing perspective most real estate agencies rely on client referrals and traditional marketing methods like yellow pages and local newspaper ads to grow their business. While some of these techniques remain effective, you need to move your marketing focus online to align with the shift in consumer behaviour. Google is now the number one source of new business.
To generate leads your website must appear at the top of page one in a Google search for 'real estate agenst in your suburb'. The truth is, most of your competitor's websites are nothing more than electronic billboards that simply list the who, what and where of the business. Over the past few years we have worked with dozens of clients to help them create quality affordable websites that pay for themselves many times over. Your website should be the heart of your marketing and you need to look at it as an investment not a cost. We can offer you advice and assistance with your content, search engine optimisation and video production plus we'll make sure your website is responsive to mobile devices and contains calls to action.
We also recognise the fact that all our business clients want more sales, more customers and more profit so we also give you access to one of the world’s most successful marketing programs, the ‘Business Growth System’. It contains details of more than 80 breakthrough marketing strategies supported by videos, templates and checklists. Access to this ‘vault’ of resources would normally cost you $500 per month ($6,000 per annum), however, as a client of the firm you get unlimited FREE access. In addition, you also get access to the ‘Grow Your Business in 5 Days’ video training course that could have a massive impact on your future business growth.Here at Hyde Cooper Wells we are different to most accounting firms because we view the tax return as the start of the client process, not the end. Our mission is to help you fast track your business success and we offer real estate agents a range of tailored tax, accounting, financial and marketing solutions including:
- Start-Up Business Advice for Real Estate Agents and Principals
- Advice regarding the Purchase or Sale of an Agency
- Spreadsheets and Tools including a Start-Up Expense Checklist, Business Plan Template and Cash Flow Budget
- Provide Advice and Assistance with the Establishment of Your Business Structure (sole trader, company, trust, partnership etc.) taking into account issues like Asset Protection and discount Capital Gains Tax Concessions
- Registrations for Business Name, ABN, TFN, GST, WorkCover etc.
- Preparation of Business Plans, Cash Flow Forecasts and Profit Projections
- Accounting Software Selection and Training
- Preparation and Analysis of Financial Statements
- Bookkeeping and Payroll Services
- Tax Planning Strategies
- Marketing Audit including an evaluation of your branding, brochures and website
- Advice and Assistance with your Website Development, Content and SEO
- Wealth Creation Strategies and Financial Planning Services
- Industry Benchmarking and KPI Management
- Business Succession Planning
- Vehicle & Equipment Finance (Chattel Mortgage & Lease)
- Advice & Assistance with Claiming Motor Vehicle Costs
- Recession Survival Strategies
- Advice regarding Employee Relations and Workplace Laws
- Business & Risk Insurances
In summary, we are so much more than just tax accountants. We are ‘business and profit builders’ who provide strategic advice and practical business solutions that could give you a serious competitive edge in your industry. We work hard to understand your business and over the past decade real estate agencies have become a niche area within our firm.
If you're an ambitious real estate agent looking to boost your current results or if you're looking to get your business off to a flying start we invite you to contact us today. You can expect practical business, tax, marketing and financial advice that could have a profound effect on your future business profits. To book your FREE, one hour introductory consultation simply call us on (03) 5995 3466 or complete your details in the box at the top right hand side of this page and we will be in touch.