An accountant, a tax consultant and a lawyer walk into a small business…

We chatted with Charlene Bruwer and Sonja Jordaan, TTT’s extraordinary marketing, accounting and tax duo, about how to approach your small business with success in mind right from the word go.

It takes two

Charlene and Sonja have been practising accounting for nearly a decade and they’ve been TTT team members since 2015. Even more impressive? Since 2017, these two have been members of the Tax Court and are now in their second tenure for this prestigious legislative institution.

“It’s a huge honour.”–Sonja Jordaan

According to SAIT, “an appeal before the Tax Court is heard by… a judge or acting judge of the High Court…, an accountant member and a commercial representative member.” Sometimes Sonja or Charlene form part of this panel. Sonja is an appointed commercial member and Charlene is an appointed accountant member. This entails them having been formally sworn in and joining the court proceedings. “The Judge would then invite the panel into the chambers to hear the accountant and commercial members’ professional input before delivering the ruling,” says Charlene.

TTT clients who rely on this duo for guidance with their small businesses’ tax and accounting are in the company of judges.

No two ways about it

Charlene and Sonja’s advice to entrepreneurs?

“Do everything right from the word go.”

“We’ve got a heart for entrepreneurs. We’ve seen so many small businesses and entrepreneurs making the mistake of not getting the basics right.”– Sonja

Charlene and Sonja both agree that the key to a successful SMME is in doing it correctly from the outset: “A good accountant, a good lawyer, and a TTT tax consultant are the best three people to have on your side when starting off your business to make sure you do everything right from the word go,” says Charlene; “Get your accounting procedures in place, make sure your books are up-to-date. Because at the end of the day, your financial statements for the business are actually your payslips.”

Put two and two together

As Sonja explains, many entrepreneurs go “from hand-to-mouth and think you’re making money… but they aren’t measuring it.”

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve on it.”– Charlene & Sonja

Sonja explains that “once you start measuring it, you can see what you’re spending your time on and [whether it’s] bringing in money.” It’s all about making sure that

“your financials tell the story that you ARE making a profit,” says Charlene.

Why does that matter?

Well, partly because “you never know when you might need credit,” points out Charlene; And “nowadays, when you want to buy a house or you want vehicle finance, the banks even ask for your tax assessment… the banks and SARS are starting to work together now.”

“SARS have got access to everything.”– Charlene

Two can play at that game

The pair often meet small business owners who “want to apply for a bond or vehicle finance – or machinery for the business – but they don’t have financial statements,” says Charlene; “It puts them at such a disadvantage. Because now they first have to spend money to get everything up-to-date. And at that stage, they don’t really have the money” – otherwise they wouldn’t be asking for financial aid!

We love Sonja’s analogy:

“It’s like buying a car – but you opt not to buy the wheels. You want to go forward, but you don’t have the wheels.”

Remember that tax consultant, accountant and lawyer we were talking about? Those are the wheels. And no, as Sonja reminds us, having that expertise “doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.”

That makes two of us

“Doing everything right doesn’t mean paying more tax,” explains Charlene. Because your TTT consultant makes sure that “you benefit from all the tax deductions that you are entitled to.”

What is the end goal for most entrepreneurs?

“Work towards the stage where you have a sellable business.”– Sonja & Charlene

Make sure you have the right wheels. Not only will your financials tell the RIGHT story, but you’ll be building a sellable business in no time.  Contact us 

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