Typical suburban accountant Ray Walker stole 10 million dollars from trusting, mainly seniors. It was through their fortunes he was able to fritter away millions of dollars.
Walker deposited money into dummy accounts and trusts, misleading his clients while he and his wife lived an extremely lavish lifestyle in Hamilton South, a Newcastle suburb.
While Walker led everyone to believe he was taking care of business, that was not the case. Walker eventually faced some serious allegations of financial and professional misconduct.
Not only that, but he was banned from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Still, for decades he continued to practice accounting and running his schemes.
When it was all said and done, Ray Walker committed suicide, but before he killed himself in 2015, he sold what was once the Cosmopolitan Hotel without his client’s knowledge. In fact, some victims attended his funeral without any knowledge of their loss.
Although the signs of corruption were there, people continued to do business with Walker and lost thousands of dollars they will never recover.
No one plans for this type of scandal, especially when you’re at retirement age. When a trusted professional swindles your retirement fund, and you have no way of recovering the losses, what is there to do?
How can you prevent this from happening to you or to your loved one? One of the first things you should do is know the signs of a good accountant.
To an accountant, math skills are of the utmost importance, followed closely by business management knowledge. An accountant’s abilities can be apparent in his or her education, as well as professional experience and references.
It’s not easy for everyone to carry on a conversation. Some people find communicating with others, especially face to face, difficult. A quality accountant must be able to express himself or herself with clients, both verbally and in writing.
Effectively talking to clients makes them confident and comfortable. A good accountant needs to explain ideas, problems or solutions to clients.
Accountants dealing with personal finance should demonstrate empathy for others. Often, consumers don’t seek out an accountant until there’s trouble brewing, and those people want someone who understands their needs. They want to feel as though their accountant is working to help them.
Accountants can be known for their firm’s reputation as well as their own. The most sought-after accountants boast reputations that reflect honesty, empathy and positive communicative skills. Potential clients often research an accountant’s reputation by asking friends and neighbours, requesting references and even searching media references.
Laws and technological advancements change every day. The best accountants will invest in continuing their education as much as possible, so there is little room for mistakes.
Clients tend to feel better about who’s handling their finances when they have all the facts. Accountants who are always open and straightforward with their clients are retained longer. With this in mind, a good accountant will do everything by the book.
Sometimes, a good accountant will need to look for creative ways to solve a problem. It may require him or her to think outside the box. It’s critical the CPA is able to take an analytic look at problems and documents in order to make the best decision for clients. This decision could have an effect on an individual or business crisis.
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