Edit: all done, here's my outcome
Cost me $198, less the third or so I'll reclaim in tax next year, so around $130.
He generally agreed with most of my assessments, and actually advised increases in the work use proportioned to mobile phone and internet usage (which I'd admittedly been highly conservative in), though said my record keeping and accounting was reasonably good and going through an accountant isn't really a strict requirement in future. Also advised using different depreciation models for most expenses which bumped it up a little (diminishing value instead of prime). In the end, not really ahead or behind financially after their costs, but he had some reasonable pointers and I think it was worth doing. If my tax affairs become significantly more complicated I'd consider it again, but for now as a PAYE/PAYG employee and occasional sole trader there isn't much value in it for me.
If you're very confident in doing your tax returns you probably wouldn't get much out of it, but if you're in the "can I claim this", "how long do I depreciate this over", "what method should I use to depreciate this" camp going to a professional is probably good.
The company I used was very good, and his understanding was quite good, but there's just no point for me seen I pretty much do it all already.
Thank you for coming to my Ted talk
So, thought I'd get a bit of a consensus as to who uses an accountant and who manages their own tax returns, and why.
Historically I've always returned my own (personal tax as well as sole trader business, though I haven't operated that this year). I feel that the hard work is keeping track of things and collating receipts, and the data entry is the easy part.
Anyway, with a number of friends, colleagues etc. insisting they get much better results through accountants (and a bit of a shock at an initial tax debt as my previous employer made some errors in paying tax on a redundancy), I've organised for an accountant to go over my taxes. As a bit of a trial I've already partially completed my tax return and gotten the estimate to see how much, if any extra they net me. My tax return is relatively simple- just individual, with a handful of claims/deductions, and some usual WFH time, car use etc.
So- experiences, tips, advice?
I've heard that tax accountants are generally well informed on the hot topics or hit pieces for the ATO in a given FY, and will know how far to push the envelope with certain claims and deductions- whereas I tend to be relatively conservative with my claims and estimates as I do not care to be audited.
Edit: for those of you who assume I'm wanting to commit tax fraud by going to an accountant, stop being dumb. I think I do a reasonable job of my return, but I'm not so proud/ignorant to assume that there isn't something a professional may be able to find that I missed. If you choose to make a donation to the government by not being thorough in your return so be it, but that's not for me.