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Different Ways to Find Work as a Bookkeeper

How can you earn money from bookkeeping?

different ways to find work as a bookkeeper online myob xero excel quickbooks training
It isn’t essential to become a registered BAS agent in order to find regular work as a bookkeeper.

BAS AGENTS PERFORM MANY of the same tasks as a basic bookkeeper, which includes entering receipts, coding financial transactions and generating invoices, but there is just one key difference: registered BAS agents are allowed to prepare and lodge activity statements on behalf of their clients.

In order to become a registered BAS agent, you must have completed, at a minimum, a Certificate IV Financial Services in either bookkeeping or accounting through an accredited and nationally recognised training provider.

Most people don’t have much trouble completing the Certificate IV, but the requirements set out by the Tax Practitioner’s Board (TPB) that often present a barrier to becoming a registered BAS agent. See the list of blogs below for more information about becoming a registered BAS agent.

Tax Practitioner’s Board BAS agent requirements

In addition to completing a Cert IV, in order to become a registered BAS agent the TPB also requires you to have at least 1,400 hours of work experience. This work must be done under the supervision of a registered BAS agent or accountant in the past 4 years (it’s 1,000 hours if you’re a member of a professional association).

You also need to have completed a board-approved course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles (this course may be included in your primary education). There are also mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) requirements that each BAS agent must keep up with in order to remain registered.

There’s a lot to do, but becoming a registered BAS agent isn’t the only way to carve out a successful career for yourself. Depending on how you want to work, there are plenty of other options you may also consider, such as:

Work for other bookkeeping businesses

If you work as an employee of a bookkeeping business, you can perform all the same tasks and duties as a registered BAS agent can, as you’ll be covered by their BAS registration and oversight.

As long as you are on the bookkeeping business’s payroll, you can provide BAS services — that means, you can also work as a casual or temporary worker providing you don’t invoice for your work using an ABN, but instead use your tax file number. This may also have other benefits, too, as the business will be required to withhold tax and contribute to your superannuation.

Work directly for a business as a wage earner

Again, as long as you’re on the business’s payroll, you don’t have to be a registered BAS agent to provide BAS services. The only difference here is that, while you can prepare the business’s activity statements, you won’t be able to lodge them. They will need to have their accountant do that last step, instead.

You can still work under a similar arrangement as mentioned above, either as a part-time, casual or temporary staff member, and, so long as you’re drawing a wage from the business, you can perform BAS services.

Carry out basic bookkeeping from home on the side

You may even choose to provide basic bookkeeping services to small businesses remotely from your home office, and still invoice them using your ABN. Many bookkeepers work as virtual assistants and some work a combination of casual and part-time hours for bookkeeping or accountancy practices, or as an employee of a business, and supplement their income with some basic bookkeeping work on the side, which offers both flexibility and stability at the same time.

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Thinking of expanding your bookkeeping skills? Considering becoming a BAS agent? Check out just some of the blogs we’ve featured on BAS agents:

Want more advice and information? Subscribe to our blog.


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Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

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You Need To Be a Job Hopper To Do Well In Your Career

When it Comes to Your Career, Hopping Around is OK

job-hopping-to-success
Those who hop may be the most successful, career speaking.

For many years, young people, particularly Generation Y, were cautioned about changing their jobs too often — or being a “job hopper”. It would give the impression they were flaky or disloyal or unable to commit, they were told. You want to find a job where you can stay there for at least 10 years, where you can grow and progress through the company. That was the advice handed out just a decade ago, perhaps even more recently than that.

But the tide is now rolling the other way. People of all generations and work experience are now being advised to change their jobs, not just every decade, but every 3 years, or 5 at a minimum. Do that and, rather than being seen as a liability, you’ll be seen as an asset. 

What Job Hopping Gives You

All those different jobs, at different companies and in different industries, cultivates skills and attitude that’s highly sought after by a range of employers. Changing jobs shows you’re willing to adapt, able to move with the times, and that you possess many different skills that you wouldn’t had you been left to inevitably go stale in the same old job for a decade or more.

However, besides acquiring a new skill, there are other benefits to changing jobs regularly. People who change jobs will typically earn up to 50 percent more than if they stayed in one job. That’s because the economy isn’t what it used to be, and the days of being rewarded with a fat pay rise each year are pretty well over. And even if your company still regularly gives their staff a pay rise, it’s unusually anything more than between 3 and 5 percent — but 50 percent? Keep dreaming.

Job Hopper or Continuing Professional Development?

If you’re a person who can change jobs frequently, it indicates that you’re probably a quick learner. You’re the kind of person who can pick up on new systems, processes, procedures, and even workplace cultures, and that makes you incredibly valuable for prospective employers. In many ways, this job hopping could be considered a new skill itself, an informal type of continuing professional development. Sound like you or someone you know?

Continuing professional development has become exceedingly important to many employers in the last decade because of how quickly new technologies have been introduced into the workplace, as well as the changes to many industries themselves. In the bookkeeping profession, for example, there have been numerous software changes, as well as changes to  industry regulations that now require all tax agents to register with the Tax Practitioners Board (TCB) and hold a minimum Certificate IV in Bookkeeping from TAFE to provide tax-related services; bookkeepers are also required to engage in continuing professional education in order to renew their registration with the TPB.

Just as it’s important for employees to show they’ve got the latest training in software that’s been introduced into their industry, it’s equally important to show that you possess other skills that usually aren’t taught in a classroom (or on an online content management system!) — such as, being receptive to change, quick thinking, personable, and being engaged by your work. That last one, the one about engagement, is super important, because it’s now believed that the learning curve tends to flatten after 3 years.

Flattening Out in Your Job

job-hopping-changing-jobs-regularly-a-good-thingIn other words, after you’ve worked somewhere for 3 or more years, you stop learning things, stop picking up new skills, and, usually, stop being engaged at work. You’re now just going through the motions because your job has become second nature to you. These are not sought after qualities in an employee; worse still, after 3 years, the skills you learned early on in the piece are probably close to being outdated, if they aren’t already, anyway.

Plan for the Next Three Years of Your Career

Think about where you’d like to be three new iPhones from now (one that’s waterproof, hopefully), and plan your career accordingly. Think about whether you’ll need to update your education in the future, too. Don’t forget that, with new technologies and new processes for using that technology in the workplace, you’ll need the skills to match if you’re going to be able to compete in the job market.

‘Think about where you’d like to be three new iPhones from now… and plan your career accordingly.’

In fact, the majority of students who take our online MYOB and Xero training courses, do so because they’d like to improve their skill sets to help them get work, or so that they can begin working for themselves as independent contractors, and they’d like to be able to offer bookkeeping services to businesses, regardless of the accounting software they use.

If you’re looking to improve you current skill set or you’d simply like to learn a new one, visit our website for a full list of our training courses and details on how to enrol. If you enrol in any of our MYOB, Excel, Word or WordPress training courses, you’ll receive Lifetime Membership to our course materials. This means you can stay up-to-date with each new version of software that’s released for no additional cost!

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What Type of Education Does The TPB Accept For Its New CPE Requirement

Type of Education for CPE Requirements of the TPB

What Type of Education Does The TPB Accept For Its New CPE Requirement

Earlier this year, the TPB changed the requirements of the tax and BAS agent registration renewal process, now making it essential for all BAS and tax agents to participate in some form of education under its new continuing professional education (CPE) requirement.

According to the TPB, tax agents must participate in a minimum of 90 hours of CPE over the standard three year registration period, while BAS agents must participate in a minimum of 45 hours over the standard three year registration period. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers have enabled completion of our Microsoft Excel Training Courses be accepted for CPD points.

Types of study approved by the TPB

As you’ve probably guessed, for your study to be recognised by the TPB and go towards your CPE registration requirement, the study has to relate to your area of work as a BAS or tax agent. While a short course on DIY home maintenance wouldn’t be covered, a seminar conducted by a qualified accountant who specialises in the building industry would be recognised by the TPB, even if it’s being led by a colleague at the firm where the BAS agent works.

The TPB has specified a number of activities that they consider relevant to tax advice, BAS and tax agent service you may provide:

  • Seminars, workshops, webinars, courses and lectures
  • structured conferences and discussion groups (including by phone or video conference)
  • tertiary courses provided by universities, registered training organisations (RTOs), other registered higher education institutions or other approved course providers
  • other education activities, provided by an appropriate organisation
  • research, writing and presentation by a registered tax (financial) adviser, tax or BAS agent of technical publications or structured training
  • peer review of research and writing submitted for publication or presentation in structured training
  • computer/internet-assisted courses, audiotape or videotape packages
  • attendance at structured in-house training on tax related subjects by persons or organisations with suitable qualifications and/or practical experience in the subject area covered
  • attendance at appropriate Australian Taxation Office (ATO) seminars and presentations
  • relevant CPE activities provided to members and non-members by a recognised professional association
  • a unit of study or other CPE activity on the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) including the Code of Professional Conduct (Code).

If you’re a member of a recognised professional association

The second-to-last activity included in that list, you may have noticed, accepts any relevant activity provided by a recognised professional organisation. There are quite a few professional organisations recognised by the TPB, as you can see on their website, but the one probably most relevant to bookkeepers is the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), with which EzyLearn is also a training partner.

The ICB is an association established to support bookkeepers and BAS agents by regularly holding seminars and training workshops, giving members access to marketing materials – such as customisable e-newsletter templates and unique email addresses – listings on the ICB directory and IT support, among many other things. Because they’re also accredited with the TPB and recognised by the ATO, they also possess a fair bit of influence with both organisations, making the lives of its members much easier.

In this case, being a member of the ICB, gives you access to a number of TPB-certified continuing professional education courses, seminars, lectures and workshops that can be counted as part of your CPE quota; members can also access a CPE register within the ICB dashboard to record their CPE activities.

Courses you can study as an ICB member

As a member of the ICB, you’re able to take any of the courses that they consider relevant to your profession as a bookkeeper and BAS agent, and which they consider to be continuing your professional education. This would include any of our MYOB or Xero training courses, but would also include our Excel and Word training courses as they’re both used to assist you in doing your job as a bookkeeper and BAS agent.

If you’re a BAS agent and your registration with the TPB will come due on or after July 1, 2016, you will be required to have participated in CPE to be eligible for renewal. Joining the ICB and taking advantage of the many free and discounted seminars, workshops and courses, like one of our online training courses in MYOB, Xero, MS Excel or Word, is a good way to ensure you remain compliant with the TPB’s tax and BAS agent registration terms.

To find out more about joining the ICB, visit their website. Alternatively, if you’d like to learn more about starting your own bookkeeping business or working as a home-based bookkeeper, subscribe to our blog for all the latest news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

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Why Continuing Professional Education is Important for Bookkeepers

CPD for Bookkeepers is Becoming More Important

CPD CPE and ongoing education is very important to the Tax practitioners board TPB for Registered BAS AgentsEducation is obviously something we think is very important, whether you’re changing careers, starting a new business, or looking to upskill for a promotion. But what about education to keep your current job? The Australian Government thinks that’s equally important, especially for BAS and tax agents.

In March this year, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) changed their renewal process to now include continuing professional education (CPE) as a mandatory for all registrations after July 1, 2016. Between now and June 30, 2016, it’s sufficient for BAS and tax agents to merely show they have read and understood the new CPE policy to renew their registration, but this arrangement can only be used once; moving forward those BAS and tax agents will still need to complete further education to register again as a BAS or tax agent the in the future.

Are You a Currently a BAS or Tax agent?

Over the last few years, the Government has introduced a lot of new measures that BAS and tax agents have had to comply with in order to continue to offer their services to clients, namely the changes in 2010 that made it mandatory for all BAS and tax agents to hold a minimum qualification of a Cert IV in bookkeeping.

The new CPE requirement could seem like just another measure that BAS and tax agents need to comply with just to be able to keep their jobs. It’s not. CPE has been introduced to ensure that BAS and tax agents continue to understand, not just their own industry – that of tax and finance – but also how other industries are changing too.

There are more people leaving their jobs as employees and starting to work for themselves as consultants and freelancers and contract workers, across a wide array of industries. Marketing professionals, for example, no longer simply come up with marketing hooks for companies; they also have to understand how to create websites and how SEO works and social media. In some cases, they even become unofficial spokespeople and sales reps for the companies they’re consulting with, leveraging their contacts on their clients’ behalf.

CPE makes BAS and tax agents more valuable, not less

This vastly complicates a marketing professional’s tax if that marketing professional’s job now encompasses the roles of several other professions within it. Similar changes have been observed in bookkeeping, with registered BAS and tax agents now providing more operational and administrative-type services, in addition to just bookkeeping.

The point, then, of CPE is not to make it more difficult for tax and BAS agents to renew their registration with the TPB, but to help tax and BAS agents to remain as highly skilled as they’ve ever been, in an ever-changing labour market. And the better skilled you are as a BAS and tax agent, particularly those self-employed BAS and tax agents, the more value you’ll be able to provide your clients, and the more work you’ll get from them in return.

To learn more about continuing professional education for bookkeepers, visit the TPB website. Otherwise, to read more about bookkeeping, particularly starting your own bookkeeping business, continue reading our blog.

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Enrol into the Blogging for Business Course now and take advantage of it’s current cheap price. We’ll soon be adding real life exercises where blogging students will be asked to create content and have it edited and published so they can participate in a real world business blogging project!

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BAS News Flash: BAS Agents Can Now Lodge TPARs

If you're a registered BAS agent you just became a whole lot more valuable to your clients!
If you’re a registered BAS agent you just became a whole lot more valuable to your clients!

BAS agents can further specialise in the construction industry

WE LIKE TO KEEP our online cloud accounting course graduates up to date with changes to the bookkeeping industry and today is no exception!

If you’re a registered BAS agent working in the building and construction industry, then we’ve got some major news for you: the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) announced in July that BAS agents can now lodge Taxable Payments Annual Reports (TPAR).

Making more money as a bookkeeper

In an earlier blog, we talked about how you can improve the rate you earn by specialising.  Carving out a niche for yourself — for instance, honing your skills in a particular sector, like the building industry, with all its complexities — will also see you able to earn top dollar (this is exactly what the professionals at Buildon Bookkeeping do).

Taxable Payments Annual Reports (TPAR’s)

Before you can register with the TPB as a Tax/BAS agent, you’ll first need to work under the supervision of another Tax/BAS agent. If you are planning to work in the building and construction industry, you might consider working under the supervision of a Tax/BAS agent providing bookkeeping services within the industry already — so you can get a handle on lodging TPARs.

TPARs are an annual report outlining every payment made to suppliers and contractors for that financial year. Every entity or business within the building and construction industry must now prepare one.

When TPARs first came into effect in July last year, only tax agents were able to prepare the report, but on 15 July 2013, the TPB announced that BAS agents could now provide this service, which must be lodged by the 21July every year.

But wait, there’s more! The TPB has also amended the Tax Agents Services Act (2009) to allow BAS agents to provide the following services:

  • Superannuation Guarantee Contribution and Superannuation Guarantee Charge work
  • Superannuation Contribution payment and reporting services

As the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers understands it, BAS agents will not have to become registered with the TPB to provide these services, even though they were typically services carried out by a Tax agent.

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If you’re a registered BAS agent, you just become a whole lot more valuable to your clients, particularly if you work within the building and construction industry.

If you’re still unsure about the services you can now provide your clients, see the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers website, and for more information on lodging TPARs, click here.


 

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Tax and BAS: How to Register with the Tax Practitioners Board

Bookkeepers Who Want to Provide BAS Services Need TPB Certification

start a bookkeeping business
Don’t stress: The TPB certification requirements may actually kick-start some people’s bookkeeping businesses.

Whether you are a bookkeeper who uses Xero or MYOB or one of the other accounting software packages that we offer training on, you are probably aware that Australian tax legislation has changed recently. As a result, providing BAS services to clients is not as simple as it once was. 

All bookkeepers who wish to provide a BAS service for a fee, must now hold a Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping or Accounting) or higher to be eligible for registration.

What makes up a BAS service?

The BAS services page on the ATO website can provide you with information about the qualification requirements and the education requirements for BAS agents to become certified with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) so you can offer tax and BAS services to clients.

Becoming certified with the TPB is a lot like getting your drivers license: you need to be able to demonstrate the relevant experience of at least 1400 hours, or 1000 hours if you’re already a member of a professional organisation — like the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers — which you can become a member of for free when you complete an applicable EzyLearn Training Course.

If you’re working under the supervision of another registered Tax or BAS agent, you cannot provide any Tax or BAS services to any clients you may pick up of your own. In other words, you must only provide tax or BAS services to clients known to your supervising Tax/BAS agent.

For some newcomers to the industry, this may seem daunting. But that’s just because conventional wisdom suggests that you must take on some form of permanent employment, working for a bookkeeper or accountant who is registered with the TPB and can supervise you while you gain the necessary skills to go out on your own.

But that’s not actually the case. While this is an option — and a good one if you’ve never worked as a bookkeeper before — it’s not the only one. You can still work with another registered Tax/BAS agent as a contractor, providing these services to the registered Tax/BAS agent’s clients until you’re eligible to go out on your own.

Kick start your own business

This is a great way to get a start on your own business — perhaps just offering non BAS services to start with — while you gain the skills to become registered to offer GST and BAS services. Contract bookkeeping jobs of this nature are actually easier to find that it may seem — often by striking up a working relationship with an accountant or another certified bookkeeper.

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Find out more information on how to register with the TPB so you can provide tax and BAS services. And remember: you can become a member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers for free when you complete an applicable EzyLearn Training Course.


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