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Do You Need a Bookkeeper or an Accountant? Or Someone Else?

find a good local bookkeeper

There are many finance professionals — who does your business need?

find a good local bookkeeper
Does your business need a bookkeeper, accountant or perhaps just a BAS agent – or a little bit of everyone?

WE’VE MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY THAT finding a bookkeeper, when you may not know much about bookkeeping, can be a difficult task.

In fact, a lot of new business owners assume their accountant will take care of everything for them, which may be costly if their accountant has to perform a year’s worth of bookkeeping in order to file the business’s tax return. But bookkeepers and accountants can work harmoniously in your business.

As a general rule, every business needs at least two finance professionals working on their business accounts, but which two professionals you’ll need to hire depends on your business needs. If you’re not sure who you need to hire for your business, here’s a cheat sheet to help you out.

Bookkeepers (not registered with the TPB)

An independent bookkeeper not employed by an accountant and not registered with the Tax Practitioner’s Board (TPB) may only perform basic bookkeeping services, such as the

  • entering of receipts,
  • coding financial transactions,
  • generating invoices and purchase orders
  • accounts receivable and accounts payable

If you hire this type of bookkeeper, you’ll still need an accountant.

BAS agents

BAS agents must, by law, register with the Tax Practitioner’s Board (TPB), which certifies that they are qualified and have completed the necessary continuing education requirements to perform the tasks of a BAS agent, which involves carrying out most of the bookkeeping tasks mentioned above, in addition to preparing and lodging business activity statements on a business’s behalf.

If your business is registered for GST, you will need to file regular activity statements. If you hire a BAS agent, you’ll also need an accountant. In some instances, you may find a BAS agent who’s also a registered tax agent and vice versa, who may be able to take care of all your taxation needs.

Tax agents

Although tax agents, like BAS agents, must also register with the Tax Practitioner’s Board (TPB), a tax agent is focused on income tax — how much income you have to declare, how much you can claim back, etc.

This is distinct from a BAS agent who is concerned with the day-to-day financial tasks of your business (bookkeeping and BAS lodgements). That said, some tax agents will also perform some the basic bookkeeping tasks on a regular basis, though they primarily specialise in lodging tax returns.

If you’re not registered for GST, and your tax agent will also perform regular bookkeeping tasks (or you can do it yourself), you may not need to hire an accountant. In some instances, you may find a tax agent who’s also a registered BAS agent and vice versa, who may be able to take care of all your taxation needs.

Accountants

An accountant is mostly concerned with planning and strategy. Unlike bookkeepers and BAS or tax agents, an accountant will assess and advise you on what actions you should take to maximise your income. Great accountants will get involved with planning the direction of your business and ensure it’s been structured properly and that you’re meeting any additional tax obligations.

They’ll also help you to make strategic purchases for equipment and machinery, and work with your BAS agent or bookkeeper to ensure these decisions are reflected in your daily financial records. An accountant is also able to prepare and lodge tax returns on your behalf.

How much should I pay a bookkeeper?

Check out the National Bookkeeping Directory, which features the details of bookkeepers, capable of doing data entry and clerical tasks, through to high-level accounting work as undertaken by BAS agents, accountants and CFOs.

You can also see the National Bookkeeping rates page to find out what level bookkeeper your business needs.


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For small businesses bookkeeping isn’t a full time job. It’s often something done by the owner themselves or their partner in life and these people are not usually that good at it – PLUS they’re family and that throws up all sorts of issues and resentments.

Wives, girlfriends, partners and friends are often chosen as the small business bookkeeper because they are either cheap or trustworthy but that isn’t always a good reason to “use” them.

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Continue reading How To Get Discovered By Local Employers
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Here’s what you need to know about the changes:

Continue reading Cert IV in Bookkeeping Changed to FNS40222 – Study Through EzyLearn’s RTO Partnership
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Continue reading Which Job Site is Best For Part-time, Casual and Contract Bookkeeping Work?
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Continue reading The Best Job Sites for Accounting & Bookkeeping Jobs

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That time will cost you money but there are ways of reducing and almost eliminating that time.

Continue reading Bookkeeper Communications During Rescue Work
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Continue reading Bookkeepers Need to Know All Cloud-Accounting Systems

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IT’S VERY POSSIBLE THAT at the end of financial year, you discovered your accounts needed a bit of rescue bookkeeping. One of the issues that leads to a business needing rescue work is not keeping your accounts up to speed, and also having an inexperienced bookkeeper set up or handle your books.

A way to avoid this is to hire an experienced bookkeeper or finance manager on a contract basis, or you can do a course to learn a bit more so you can manage them better. Continue reading Do You Need a Bookkeeper, Accountant or Finance Manager to Run Your Bookkeeping?