A couple of years ago, when we (she who must be obeyed and I) decided that running a business through our personal taxes wasn’t a particularly effective way of dealing with tax and GST, we signed up with the local RSM Bird Cameron, or to be precise RSM Bird Cameron Bunbury (which is also the same RSM Bird Cameron for RSM Bird Cameron Busselton and RSM Bird Cameron Manjimup). She who must be obeyed knew one of the accountants from years before, so we signed up. The first 6 months was great, and then Kingsley tells us that he’s moving on to another business. He tells us that he’ll line us up with someone else at RSM Bird Cameron Bunbury who will take care of us. And that’s when the problems started.
Even at that first meeting, things were promised to be followed up but never were. In the coming months, phone calls were never returned, let alone made (noting that we are still relative company newbies so if things needed to be done, we appreciated a call or letter, and that’s the service we use to get). I knew that I wasn’t happy with the complete lack of service we were getting, but as RSM Bird Cameron Bunbury had set up the company structure, and had all our information on hand, we thought we’d stick with them, mostly because of a tax event that needed to be settled this year. I might add we’d spent hours with the previous guy working through how we’d approach that tax issue as well, and I wasn’t keen on starting afresh.
So we sent off our tax in around March, late, but accountants get extensions here in Australia. Weeks later I finally get a call asking questions about the return. Despite having spent hours in the office, they have NO record of my previous conversations, and the tax event that needed to be dealt with. I’m then told that the tax bill is going to be at least $10k more than the last guy told me, but the figure was made with no apparent zest for ways of reducing it….ways that had been discussed with the guy before.
Eventually it’s done, and I’m told that I have to sign and return the docs, there were so many pages it wasn’t practical to fax them (Aust Post charges $3/ page STD) so I sent them Express. I’m called 2 days later, told that all I had to do was ok the tax return, they needed the signatures but I should have ok’d it anyway. Fine, tell him to send it off.
Then we get the tax assessment back with a GIC (General Interest Charge) for my tax return of $3500 because it was “overdue” and it was backdated to November 21 (general cut off date for tax is Oct 31, then they give 21 days grace). Ring RSM Bird Cameron Bunbury, told that it’s the ATOs (Australian Taxation Offices) fault and that there is nothing RSM Bird Cameron Bunbury would do about it. Despite them being MY accountant and sending me a decent sized bill for their services, they refused to chase up why I had a GIC charge. So we ring the ATO.
RSM Bird Cameron Bunbury never included us on their list of clients so we weren’t granted an extension. Yes, we were so important to RSM Bird Cameron Bunbury, a company we spent thousands with setting up a corporate structure and trusting our business with, that they couldn’t be bothered lodging us on the extension list with ALL THEIR OTHER CLIENTS.
When she who must be obeyed rung me to relate the ATO conversation I was so gobsmacked that I said nothing….for minutes, and I’m not usually the sort of person who remains silent on anything.
We are lodging an appeal with the ATO (we’ve paid the bill anyway, because the interest was accruing daily) and we are confident we’ll get the money back, but we’ll still have to wait and see.
In the past I’ve spoken highly of RSM Bird Cameron, RSM Bird Cameron Bunbury and RSM Bird Cameron Bussleton to others, suggesting that they are a firm people should do business with. If you are dealing with RSM Bird Cameron today based on my recommendation I am sincerely sorry. My advice to anyone who reads this: do not do business with RSM Bird Cameron, and I certainly won’t be ever again in the future. From today my business goes elsewhere. I’m not sure whether negligent is the right word legally to describe their actions here, but sloppy, careless, rude, disgusting, appaling all apply in part.
And if anyone can suggest a reasonably priced and competent accountant in Melbourne let me know.