Ricky Gillespie was fined $3000 and no conviction was recorded.
Ricky Gillespie was fined $3000 and no conviction was recorded.

Accounting firm puts Bechtel saga in the past, changes name

THE accounting firm heavily involved in the Bechtel tax saga has changed its name in a bid to put the controversial time in the past.

Corporate Accountants Gladstone has changed its name to Pinnacle Accounting and Business Advisory, confirming its renewed focus on business advice, coaching and returns.

Office manager Katrina Neill said the company started in Gladstone in 2013 with a focus on business.

That focus shifted in 2015 when the Australian Tax Office launched an investigation into tax returns from Bechtel workers relating to claims for overtime meals, phone bills and tool expenses.

Then business owner Bob Lamont, became the face of Corporate Accountants' battle against the ATO during the long-running saga. 

Mr Lamont launched a test case on behalf of one worker, but it was rejected by the Australian Appeals Tribunal. 

More than 3000 workers' tax returns were forcibly adjusted and more than 2600 adjusted theirs returns voluntarily.

Mr Lamont will remain as a consultant to Pinnacle, specialising in business advisory.

Ms Neill said the company was excited to return their focus to business-related accounting needs.

"We … dedicated our time 100 per cent to righting the wrongs of the ATO and fighting for our clients," Ms Neill said.

"It seems to be forgotten that out of 1380 tax agents who had clients audited who worked for Bechtel in that time; Corporate Accountants Gladstone Pty Ltd was the only firm that stood up and fought for the people.

"We are excited to move our focus back to our business clients, incorporating our individual clients with great service and professional tax work."

The name change caused some confusion for a similarly named business, Pinnacle Accounting and Business Services, which has about 15 to 20 clients in Gladstone.

That business is based in Birtinya on the Sunshine Coast.

Business partner Paul Hoare said an email was sent to clients clarifying the two businesses were not connected.

Ms Neill said Pinnacle Accounting and Business Advisory had never indicated it was associated with the south-east Queensland firm.

She said the takeover would not cause any immediate changes to services, support staff or prices.