Due dates for BAS lodgement can be deferred by BAS agents
If you’re doing your BAS with the help of a Tax or BAS agent you might be aware that although the actual due date for the March quarter BAS is 28th April you can get an extension by using a tax or BAS agent to the 26th of May. We’ve had quite a few conversations lately with bookkeepers about whether they can do this or not and if not who can they turn to, to do it.
When you lodge a BAS with the ATO you are effectively telling them how much you’ve earnt and spent but more importantly you are defining how much the business actually pays in tax – and they DON’T want you to get this amount wrong. If the amount is wrong and in your favour you may incur fees and charges and the TAX and BAS agent system (that is managed by the Tax Practictioners Board) has been set up to assume that only someone who has the training and experience is responsible for lodging these important documents. If they get it wrong a small business owner can sue them for the time it takes to fix the problem and for this BAS agents need professional indemnity insurance.
Non-registered Bookkeepers and BAS Agents
The good news for both businesses AND ordinary bookkeepers who are not registered BAS agents is that you can have a bookkeeper do your data entry, as well as help you with various aspects of your business accounts and administration (like accounts payable, receivable and even customer service etc) for a good, low rate. Many of these bookkeepers operate as independent contractors so the small business doesn’t need to employ a staff member to do the books [want to start your own bookkeeping business cheaply? Look at joining National Bookkeeping] and some of them are very experienced in bookkeeping and even running their own businesses.
The good news is that you can still use one of these bookkeepers to take care of the accounts side of your business and use your accountant or a BAS agent for the BAS preparation and lodgement.
Bank reconciliation done right is where all the work is done
Now we have the BAS lodgement details out of the way let’s get into the bank reconciliation. This work is often done by the accounts person or contractor and it’s where most of the time and effort in preparing a BAS is spent. If this is done correctly the BAS preparation is pretty simple so it made us delve a little further into the steps taken in doing this work. Here are the simple steps:
- Launch your accounting software
- Go to the bank reconciliation area
- Start matching entries in your software with lines on the bank statement (much easier and faster with bank feeds and Internet banking).
- Reconcile each month
- Run your BAS report
Many people at this stage will need to provide copies of their bank statement to their accountant, BAS agent or bookkeeper so that person can see actually real world evidence of that transaction (sometimes bank feeds are perfect either). It’s at this stage that you realise whether you made the right choice in the bank you choose because not all banks are equal in Australia even if they are grouped as the BIG four. I’ve written about my disappointment in how hard it is to use a bank like NAB before and I’m afraid I’m gong to have to do it again, comparing NAB to CBA for the ease of getting bank statements.
Bank Statements and Internet Banking – Bad news NAB
CBA provide 7 years of storage for bank statements so if you do have to go back and get an old one guess what? No calls to make, not bank statement fees to pay, no need to search through your filing cabinat for paper statements, all you need to do is go back to that period and download the file as a PDF and email it to your accountant or bookkeeper.
To do this with NAB is very similar to walking into one of their branches (well the one they just closed down at Dee Why anyway) – it’s old, clunky and hard to work with and often I’ve found you need to email or call or do physical searching around your office for this rudimentary information – this task alone can make the whole bank reconciliation experience very frustrating.
Do your end of year reports now
While we are on the topic of reporting you may be aware that there are some tax deductions and expenses that you can claim this financial year so it’s a good time to know exactly how you have performed this financial year – plus you’ll see how far short or ahead you are from last year and you can do your own Jerry Harvey style clearance sale – everything has to go, go, go because we have TOO MUCH stock.
We’re preparing some blogs that’ll be published shortly about some of the deductions and tax breaks you might want to take advantage of. Hopefully after these we’ll be able to focus on our online digital marketing courses like Facebook Pages for business and Facebook advertising for real estate agents! Every one will benefit from these Facebook courses but we’ll slant towards how real estate agents can use Facebook to attract vendors in their local area – it’s fascinating.
Receipts in a shoebox
I have, of course, now entered them into our MYOB accounting software. However, it begs the question: How many business people do you know who still store their receipts and other paperwork with way?
The legal requirement to file receipts
Every business owner has the legal requirement to keep their accounting records on file even if your receipts are printed on thermal paper and fade after a couple years.
That’s where Shoeboxed could be a very handy service. It doesn’t matter whether you are a bookkeeper making a recommendation to your client, or whether you’re doing it for your own convenience. A service like Shoeboxed provides you with a cheap form of data entry; they do it all for you and provide the information to you online.
Easy and cheap
When you sign up to Shoeboxed, you can send your receipts to them using reply paid envelopes or by taking a photo using their smartphone application.
If you are a bookkeeper you could recommend this service because the cost of data entry is much cheaper than you could do by yourself, plus you could be doing smarter things for the rate you charge.
If you are a small business owner and you store your receipts in a shoebox you should definitely take advantage of their Start Free offer and see just how well it works.
Their lite plan costs $19.95 per month for up to 50 receipts, that’s 40c to enter a receipt. How many receipts could you enter per hour and how much do you charge per hour. I’m only presenting the information this way because it makes very good economical sense as well as provide you with a system to store and retrieve your receipts.
Bookkeepers could use it
If you have completed our MYOB Training Courses you’ll learn all about the Day-to-Day transactions in Course 2 (of our 5 courses you receive for one low price) and realise the benefit of letting your bookkeeping clients know about this service.
Learn more about Shoeboxed by watching their video below:
Sometimes we use the EzyLearn Blog to inform readers about modifications to our MYOB online training course. We’ve received feedback in the MYOB Support area from students that elements of our MYOB Bank Reconciliation course are coming up with errors when they use the most recent version of the MYOB software.
One of the great aspects about coming across problems in a course is that it replicates the type of problems you’ll experience in the workplace or while managing your own business. Jacci, our resident BAS Agent has gone through the steps in the course and identified potential issues. She has written up a concise guide that is now included in the bank reconciliation course (#503) to help you balance the books using MYOB.
If you come across problems or issues please feel free to use the EzyLearn ANSWERS service we launched in May 2011. It is part of our growing support options for students. If you operate a small business and want to know something or if you come across an issue that is not covered by the training in our existing course let us know because EzyLearn courses are LIVE courses, they are growing every month with new content that you don’t have to pay extra to use.
Oh, before I leave you on this blog post I want to highlight our new student support option we launched last month – Tutor Support and Student Community – it’s a way to connect with other students and have direct contact with our professional tutors who have real life experience using the software in their daily business life.
If you are enrolled into our online MYOB training course you’re probably aware of our LIFETIME access feature. You might also recall that this feature enables you to log in at any time and have access to any new or updated content that we create.
We’ve just created training video tutorials for our MYOB bank reconciliation course!
The training workbook for the bank reconciliation course contains a project where you can create a new company file from scratch, import an accounts list (Chart of Accounts), import transaction journals and then enter your own transactions to complete a bank reconciliation. It’s a very satisfying feeling!
Here is a list of the 9 new training videos we created. If you are a student you can simply click on each video, sign-in and start watching.
As part of our continuous improvement process we are now hosting our videos on a dedicated video hosting platform and the videos can now be paused and played and you can enable them to take up the full screen for easier viewing.
To learn more about our online MYOB training course and the fantastic new features like LIFETIME membership, EzyLearn Q&A and more visit: http://ezylearnonline.com.au/courses/myob-training/
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