For many businesses, especially small to mid-sized businesses, there is the temptation for the business owner to do everything by themselves to save costs. Sometimes, that cost saving does not serve them well as that time could be better spent strategizing for the business or mistakes could be made because of the lack of knowledge and skill to complete bookkeeping tasks to industry and legislated standards.
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There also comes a point in a business’ life when certain decisions need to be made. For instance, when the business transactions have substantially increased and you cannot handle the bookkeeping tasks all by yourself, or when have not stored your records correctly and the auditor comes knocking, or your tax affairs and compliance is getting complicated but you don’t want to be paying accountant rates for bookkeeping duties.
Benefits of using a bookkeeper
Hiring or utilising the services of a qualified bookkeeper has many advantages, and here are just some to name a few:
Save time and money
Although many small business owners think this is an unnecessary expense, most small business owners don’t have the necessary knowledge and skills to understand how to prepare meaningful financial reports – and end up spending more time trying to understand how to keep the financial records.
Many small business owners we speak to say that there’s a lot they don’t understand or know about tax codes, GST supply and what information needs to be recorded or saved. They spend hours and hours each week to ensure they are performing their bookkeeping duties correctly. These same business owners have found that by using a bookkeeper to undertake these accounting tasks, they have found more time to concentrate on growing the business and they have also found that the bookkeepers have spent much less time completing the same tasks and hence it saves them not only time but money too!
No need to worry or stress out over compliance
A good bookkeeper constantly keeps abreast of the advances and updates in the industry – including legislation, technology and practices. They can help you ensure you are always compliance.
Benefit from their knowledge and expertise
A qualified bookkeeper can also help by advising and reporting on the financial wellbeing of your business to assist you in making crucial decisions for your business! They might pick something up that you have not been aware of previously!
Bookkeepers who are also registered with the Tax Practitioner’s Board or belong to an industry body or association are required to complete certain continuous professional activities or courses each year to ensure their knowledge and skillset remain current.
Questions you should ask a bookkeeper
When choosing a bookkeeper for your business, it is important that you ask some questions to find out if they are a right fit for your company.
What are your qualifications?
Your bookkeeper should have an accounting or bookkeeping qualification (more information available here) – ideally a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping as this is one of the qualifications that help prepare those wanting a career in bookkeeping.
What bookkeeping association are you a member of?
A bookkeeper who is a member of an association is more likely to be ethical as there is a set of codes they have to abide by to be a member of that association. Bookkeepers who are registered with an association also have a professional requirement to complete a certain number of courses or activities to maintain the currency of their skills and knowledge.
Are you registered with the Tax Practitioner’s Board?
If you intend to use a bookkeeper who can also lodge your business activity statements, they should be a registered BAS or Tax Agent – registered with the Tax Practitioner’s Board. You can look for one here.
What experience do you have in bookkeeping?
It is important to find out how much experience they have and if they are experienced enough to service your needs.
What type of clients do you usually help and what services do you provide?
Knowing the type of clientele a bookkeeper services or is familiar with is helpful in understanding whether they have expert information in your industry or will be an asset for your business. Some bookkeepers specialise in new start ups and will know certain grants or deductions that you might benefit from, or some might specialise in large corporations and the tasks they are familiar with is very different to one that specialises in new businesses.
Are you familiar with the accounting software I currently use for my business?
It is important for your bookkeeper to be able to navigate their way around your accounting software easily. Some bookkeepers have special certificates who proves that they are experts in certain software such as Quickbooks, Xero or MYOB.
How can you help and develop my business?
Good bookkeepers can assist with a range of ways to improve the overall performance and financial health of your business – such as developing and monitoring budgets and financial goals.
What are your rates?
Make sure your bookkeeper is charging you a competitive rate (or at least one you can afford) and find out what is the basis on which their fees are charged. It is also useful to know if they invoice you monthly or annually.
All the best in your search for the right bookkeeper! If you’re interested in becoming a bookkeeper yourself, come find out how our Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping can help you achieve your dreams!