22 June 2009

Argentina Accountants

Having a good accountant is necessary for everyone operating a business in Argentina. The typical way to hire an accountant is through an "abono mensual" or monthly fee. This usually entitles the businessperson to consult and meet with the accountant as needed along with monthly presentations of VAT, payroll, etc. The fee may or may not include end of year presentations of the annual accounts.

How Much Can It Cost?
I can only orient readers here, as each professional is free to charge what they like, but for a start-up company that has less than 10 employees the fee might be anywhere from $700-$1500 pesos. In addition to my monthly fee, my accountant charges $1000 pesos to submit the yearly balance sheet and income statements.

I invite readers to this blog to submit their own experiences and quotes. My idea in posting prices is not to necessarily find out who has the cheapest accountant, but to orient entrepreneurs as to how the pricing works. I've heard of accountants charging 5-10 times the market rates to foreign entrepreneurs simply because these entrepreneurs were not well informed and were not aware of market rates.

Payroll is a tricky issue here in Argentina and some accountants will charge a fixed fee per employee to handle payroll. In one of my companies we received quotes of $20-35 pesos per employee to handle a payroll of about 40 employees. In another business that had just 4 employees, I received a quote of $300 to handle the payroll, despite the fact that there were so few employees. Companies with fewer employees can expect a higher quote, since very few accountants are going to want to take on the responsibility of payroll for less than a few hundred pesos per month.

I've also used a payroll service that was offered by the Chamber of Commerce for the line of business we were in and they charged just $5 pesos per employee. They also screwed everything up, didn't prepare things properly, and tried to prepare all the receipts in the same way without allowing for absences of the workers (officially logging worker absences is ultra-important since it saves on the monthly social security taxes), etc.

My recommendation is that a good accounting firm handle the payroll of your company unless you have just a few employees, in which case you should consult with an accountant at the time you hire an employee (there are special codes you can put into the AFIP forms when you hire employees which will save you big money during the first few years of social security payments). After that you can prepare it yourself using a template the accountant can give you.

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