The obvious aim of every business is to make money, and the simple formula for this is to maximise the income while minimising the costs. Utilising the services of a bookkeeper has numerous benefits to any business, but how can you maximise the benefits of a bookkeeper and minimise the cost at the same time? Fortunately, there are ways.
Accounting software such as Xero, MYOB, etc has made life much easier for many people. They enable you to store all of your transactions electronically, thereby eliminating the errors made by manual data entry and making it easy to track invoices and bills. You can generate itemised bills, and financial reports, pay your employees or take a snapshot of how well your business is doing in real-time.
Even if you are not comfortable with generating electronic receipts and bills and are making some manual entries, using accounting software still saves a lot of time.
How a Bookkeeper Can Save You Money
Although this software can do a lot, it is still a great advantage to have a bookkeeper. It is still possible to make mistakes with software. For example, if you enter a transaction as a transfer instead of an expense, you could be paying the ATO more tax. In addition, you could be paying a bookkeeper extra costs to sort out the problem. It is more cost-effective to have a bookkeeper who can set up your entry codes correctly, and then keep a regular eye on your finances and detect any errors early.
Since most accounting software is cloud-based, all of your data is accessible at all times. This means that a bookkeeper can be granted access to your software which saves you time and costs by vastly reducing the number of appointments you need to make and the hours of time you spend with your bookkeeper. With online bookkeeping your bookkeeper can cross-check your data in real-time, check your accounts payable and receivable, and generate reports directly from the software.
Another way to save money is to use accounting software that offers bank feed features. Having direct access to your bank transactions will eliminate a lot of data entry and time wasted waiting for bank statements. Anything that saves time for the bookkeeper saves you money.
What Sort of Bookkeeper?
All bookkeepers can do the basics of ensuring your records are accurate and the book’s balanced. However, not all bookkeepers are the same. There are some who have advanced skills. If your business is registered for GST, the ATO requires you to lodge a Business Activity Statement (BAS). The BAS helps you report and pay taxes including GST, PAYG instalments and PAYG withholding tax.
Registered BAS agents are there to ensure you comply with the requirements of the Australian taxation system, obtain the maximum benefits and avoid penalties. To render BAS services in Australia, you must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) as a BAS Agent.
The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and the Tax Agents Services Act 2009 (TASA) requires that to become a registered BAS agent, you must:
- Be fit and proper
- Have minimum formal qualifications (eg Certificate IV in Bookkeeping)
- Continue to have sufficient, ongoing, continual relevant experience
- Have an appropriate level of Professional Indemnity Insurance
- Undergo continuing professional education
- Maintain professionalism in accordance with at least the statutory code of conduct
In short, the ICB requires that BAS Agents are qualified and regularly update their knowledge. Through the ICB, BAS Agents also have access to the most current information on software and banking techniques and provide current guidance on tax matters which can affect your business.
A registered BAS Agent can advise a client in areas including:
- Wine, Fuel, and Luxury Car Tax
- Payment of FBT
- Payroll and PAYG
- Taxable Payments Annual Reporting system
BAS agents are trained and always up-to-date with the complexities of payroll tax, PAYG, GST, and what your business can claim. Australian tax law is complex and constantly changing, and when you are busy running a business, it would be extremely time-consuming for you to try to figure out changing tax law and how it applies to you. Better to leave it to a trained professional who has the expertise.
A qualified BAS agent can also buy you more time. If you lodge BAS, you must pay by the 28th of February, April, July, and October. Your BAS bookkeeper has an extra month so if there are any problems, they have time to find and fix them. An added bonus is that because a BAS agent has an extra month to submit, that is another month’s interest your money is earning in the bank!
When running a business, time is money. If you lodge BAS yourself and make a mistake, you will need to spend time correcting the error and resubmitting it. If you can’t do it yourself, you will be paying a bookkeeper extra to do it for you. Having a well-qualified bookkeeper doing your BAS and GST in the first place can not only save you a lot of time and money but also help you avoid any fines or penalties. Your bookkeeper will keep all of your records up-to-date, accounts reconciled, and items allocated correctly.
Because your bookkeeper ensures all of your financial information is accurate and balanced, all the information will be at hand when it comes to submitting your annual tax return. Your bookkeeper can also liaise with your accountant directly so your accountant can make recommendations to improve your business, and prepare and lodge your tax returns easily and on time. Your accountant will spend less time on your books which will also save you money.
A combination of using good accounting software and a skilled bookkeeper can save you a lot of money, time, and hassle. Utilising their expertise gives you added insight into your business finances and frees your time so you can concentrate on running your business.