What To Do So You Don’t Lose Money When Doing Your BAS – 6 steps
If your business is registered for GST, it means you have to file regular activity statements with the ATO, usually each quarter. A lot of business owners export their Business Activity Statement (BAS) data straight from their accounting software, like MYOB or QuickBooks, and quickly prepare their BAS’ that way. But this is an imprecise method, and one that could be costing you money.
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.
Are you still receiving your Business Activity Statements via mail? We receive our notification that the BAS is ready at the ATO’s Business Portal but the Business Portal is much more useful than just a way to deliver your BAS.
There are some great features of online tax lodgement:
You can lodge your BAS immediately online
You can see historical lodgements
You can change your contact details
The most complicated part of dealing direct with the ATO is the setting up of a digital certificate, but once that is sorted out you have all the convenience that you have come to expect from your internet banking and any other online service. All the information is there, you don’t have to rely on the mail to send or receive your BAS and you know exactly where you stand. If you have missed a lodgement you’ll also find that information at the portal.
The website address for the portal is https://bp.ato.gov.au/ so check it out and get through your compliance issues faster.
Our MYOB Reporting, GST and BAS course (which includes bank reconciliation) shows you how to get to the BASlink to produce a BAS using the data that you have already entered into MYOB. If you have entered everything correctly you will just need to complete your contact name and number and how long it took to complete. Then you can print that form out and keep it in your records. The information you see in the totals can then simply be entered in the Business Portal and submitted to lodge your BAS and get your compliance tasks out of the way so you can focus on running your business.