Bookkeepers: A basic introduction

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Bookkeepers: A basic introduction

From making sure PAYG is automated to electronically lodging your BAS, business consultant Leanne Berry lists four specific tasks a bookeeper can handle for you.

It may not be rocket science, but managing your accounting and bookkeeping is complex web of obligations and compliance.  

Here are a list of some of the things you need to take into consideration: Taxation, GST reporting, payroll, superannuation obligations, Fringe Benefits Tax, Workcover obligations, inventory management, Point of Sale solutions, tracking your debtors and creditors, job costing, expenses, budgets, cashflows, applying for finance and understanding reports.

This paperwork can have you drowning in numbers. 

Did you go into your business to follow or skill or passion? Or was it to spend hours maintaining your books and then worrying about whether your latest GST lodgement is correct? 

Unless you’re a numbers geek like me, I'm pretty sure it wasn’t the later. So why do it? Your time is better spent generating sales and using your skills in those areas. Unless you’re a car mechanic, when your car needs a service you take it to a professional, the same rationale should be used when looking at outsourcing tasks in your business you either don’t like or don’t understand.

Here are four tasks a bookkeeper can do for you:

1. They can setup your accounting software for you

Accounting software needs to be set up correctly for individual business requirements. Basic initial setup tasks such as structuring a chart of accounts to meet both compliance and business performance reporting and ensuring that linked accounts are set up correctly ensure that as a business you can track your income and expenses correctly from the beginning.

Payroll is a minefield of complex obligations and compliance, when set up correctly from the outset it can save you frustration and ensure you are meeting all your requirements and more importantly paying your staff correctly.

Inventory is a major asset for a business and being able to automate inventory control and management in accounting software can provide many benefits to a business. Ensuring correct stock levels, developing an optimum product mix, monitoring costs, understanding margins, analysing work in progress, tracking inventory turnover rates, auto building raw materials into finished products, developing purchasing plans and allocating resources such as labour can all be achieved from properly configured systems.

2. They can train you to use it

If you want to manage your own books, you'll need invest some time and money training on your chosen software. A couple of hours a week for four to six weeks, learning everything from how to enter data to how to read financial reports, can help you understand how the software works and how your business is performing.

A small investment of under $1,000 can often save you big dollars on end of financial year compliance with your accountant when you are able to present a set of correctly configured books. 

This education can also provide you with timely and accurate information on your business to ensure you are making the correct decisions.

3. Payroll services

Many bookkeepers also offer payroll services to their clients.  Workplace relations legislation in Australia is a continually changing landscape and understanding and complying with all your obligations and paying staff can be a real headache. Again, this can be an area of your business that you can outsource to a professional bookkeeper to maintain for you. There is a lot involved with ensuring that payroll is setup correctly in your accounting software. If it is setup correctly from the start it can save time and money. 

Being able to automate many payroll tasks such as PAYG, super, accruing of leave entitlements and electronic preparation and lodgement of annual payment summaries and other reports are major features of accounting software.

4. Other key tasks

Bookkeepers can also help with other key tasks like electronic lodgement of BAS and Taxable Payments Reporting for the building and construction industry (introduced in 2012) and liaising with the ATO on behalf of their clients. Many bookkeepers also offer other services like debtor management, management reporting and other administrative tasks that can help their clients achieve their business goals.


 

Want more info? The essential resource is the 44-page Australian small business accounting software guide. The guide compares MYOB, Xero and others, as well as payroll, bookkeepers and other software basics. Click here to register for free and download it.

 

 
 
Leanne Berry is a business consultant, mentor and trainer with over 20 years experience. She has 15 years experience teaching small business management, frontline management and MYOB. Leanne is the senior consultant at Love Your Numbers.
 
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