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You Don’t Need a Cert IV in Bookkeeping & Accounting to be a Contract Bookkeeper

Christina from Glenmore in Sydney graduated from the Xero Complete Training Course & Certificate and runs several businesses

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Starting a bookkeeping business has been a go to option for many mums returning to the workforce, particularly if they did accounting and office administration work before having children.

I’ve been writing about starting a bookkeeping business at this website since we started our bookkeeping blog and as you can see it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

Since the GST, however and the creation of the Registered BAS Agent some things have changed.

BAS Services and the Tax Practitioners Board

BAS Services can only be signed off by a Regsitered BAS Agent - includes GST and Superannuation transactions

The Tax Practitioners Board is the government agency that manages all “agents” who work on their customers accounting files and are responsible for the correct coding of tax related transactions. The most important of these relate to GST and Superannuation. These transactions determine how much tax is paid/collected and ensures that employees are paid the correct amounts, including their superannuation. For this reason a Registered BAS agent must sign off on them.

Business owners and their company accountants can also sign off on these “BAS service” transactions and this means that most of the bookkeeping work can be performed by a contractor who is NOT a BAS agent.

Most of the data entry that relates to accounting transactions is based around quotes, invoices, payments and expenses so there is no reason to be a Registered BAS Agent to perform these services – in fact it is probably an overkill.

Contract Bookkeepers for Office Accounts and Admin

Most small businesses like using a contract bookkeeper because they don’t have the headache of employing them as part of their payroll and that makes sense if just the owners are on payroll. Bookkeeping is a specialised skill and many businesses don’t need an accounts person full time either.

I’m writing this because many RTO’s promote their Certificate IV in Bookkeeping and Accounting as a MUST for anyone who wants to start a bookkeeping business because it is the first step in becoming a Registered BAS Agent. The fact is that MANY contract bookkeepers are not Registered BAS Agents and don’t want to be. They would prefer to have a Registered BAS Agent or the business Accountant sign off on any of these transactions.

Bookkeeping Academy to find accounting jobs. Learn how to use MYOB and Xero with online training courses - Employer Recognised and Industry Accredited.

What contractors DO NEED to have is confident knowledge of how to perform most bookkeeping transactions with the popular accounting programs: QuickBooks Online, MYOB and Xero.

Bookkeepers and Virtual Assistants

Some of the best situations I’ve heard about recently came from our EzyLearn Worklife interviews. We interviewed a good number of EzyLearn graduates to better understand what kind of work they do and how they used the skills they learnt in their EzyLearn course.

Contract Bookkeeper but Not a Registered BAS Agent

Amanda did an MYOB & Xero training course and is a bookkeeper in Sydney's northern beaches

Amanda from Brookvale in Sydney’s Northern Beaches (which is very close to where we had our first training centre in Dee Why!) operates the kind of bookkeeping businesses that I think most people want.

She works almost fulltime and has 3 main clients. This means she gets a good variety in the work she does and she gets to work with different workplaces and people.

Business Owner but Not a BAS Agent

Christina runs several businesses and uses what she learnt in Xero Complete to manage all her financial affairs. She’s not a registered BAS Agent and doesn’t need to be.

Christina from Glenmore in Sydney graduated from the Xero Complete Training Course & Certificate and runs several businesses

What I like about Christina’s circumstances is she is running several different ventures to give her some variety while she also earns money. She’s a great example of what small business owners realise once they start their own business – that they can do anything they want if they just put their mind to it.

Registered BAS Agent in Melbourne


Jo-Anne is a registered BAS Agent in Melbourne. She graduates from the Xero Complete Training Course and received an Advanced Certificate so she could help more and more clients who were using Xero Accounting software. Jo-Anne is a great example of someone who decided that they DID want to become a Registered BAS Agent.

As a result she has gone through the hard yards of spending thousands of dollars in advertising and speaking with hundreds of leads to finally achieve a great balance in her great bookkeeping business.

Jo-Anne did her Cert IV in Bookkeeping and Account, competed the requirements of the TPB and got her Professional Indemnity Insurance. If you become a contract bookkeeper and need a Registered BAS Agent you can always connect with her.

Don’t Let a Good Story Stop You From Starting a Bookkeeping Business Now

Although it is important to be a BAS agent and registered with the TPB I think the most important thing for you to know if you want to start a bookkeeping business is that you will spend a LOT of time on your sales and marketing to get leads. Yes, there are lot’s of Registered Training Organisations and they have a lot of fixed costs but to tell everyone who wants to start a bookkeeping business that you NEED to compete a Cert IV in Bookkeeping and Accounting is not the best advice.

The biggest challenge that new bookkeepers face is not doing the bookkeeping work but getting their name out there in front of small businesses or accountants and then providing great customer service to fulfil their needs.

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