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. 


 

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.

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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