Value of a bookkeeper

What does a bookkeeper or BAS agent do for your business?

What does a bookkeeper do? How can they help your business meet its’ obligations? What qualifications and experience are ideal?

A bookkeeper is important to:

  • Keep your records accurately up to date so you can get correct financial reports and to assist with your legal record keeping requirements;
  • Help to keep your end of year accounting bills to a minimum by accurate processing throughout the year so there are fewer tax agent adjustments;
  • Avoid penalties by making sure GST, PAYG tax and superannuation compliance are attended to;
  • Free up your time to work on your business rather than trying to do tasks better done by an expert bookkeeper;
  • Minimise the risk of fraud by having an independent set of eyes overseeing your accounts and conducting ongoing auditing and assurance;
  • Support you in your business; from daily operations and implementing business systems right through to business reporting on your performance and helping you achieve your business goals.

The Bookkeeping Process:

  • Checklists: should be used to provide consistent, accountable, professional bookkeeping.
  • Sales Processes: includes sales orders, invoicing, receiving payment and following up on late payments.
  • Purchase Processes: includes purchase orders, bills, supplier payments and inventory management.
  • Payroll Processes: this includes the setting up employees, processing of pay runs and reporting on superannuation, PAYG tax withholding and employee entitlements.
  • Banking Processes: this includes the reconciling all of the bank accounts, the point-of-sale systems and the credit cards used for the business.
  • Verification of Accounting Figures: it is easy to assume that “the software is always right” but problems can occur for a variety of reasons with automated software. Your bookkeeper should validate and reconcile your accounts, prior to preparing a BAS and other reports.
  • Reporting to the Owner: the financial reports need to be inspected, reviewed and verified on a regular basis, providing reliable reports, commonly on a monthly and quarterly basis.

You and your bookkeeper working towards success:

A professional bookkeeper concentrates on regular tasks to manage your business in a financial and accounting capacity. They can also provide trusted guidance and valuable insight into areas of your business impacting your results. This allows you to focus on providing quality goods and services to your customers and lead you towards success.

What is a BAS Agent?

A BAS agent is a suitably qualified bookkeeper, registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) to offer BAS services as defined by the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA). A BAS Agent holds relevant qualifications and professional indemnity insurance.

A registered BAS Agent can:

  • Record and report on a client’s financial transactions;
  • Provide advice to clients assisting them to comply with:
    • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime and
    • Related legislation such as:
      • Fringe Benefits Tax – collection only;
      • Calculation of employee superannuation guarantee payments;
      • Fuel tax rebates;
      • PAYG;
      • PAYI instalments
  • Ascertain or advise about the liabilities, obligations or entitlements of a client with respect to BAS lodgments;
  • Prepare and lodge Business Activity Statements (BAS);
  • Liaise with your tax agent/accountant in regard to income tax compliance;
  • Participate in the formulation and monitoring of budgets and cash flow projections;
  • Assist in the collection of accounts receivable by your business;
  • Represent clients in their dealings with the Commissioner of Taxation in relation to a BAS provision;
  • Provide payroll and superannuation services;
  • Determine and report on any superannuation guarantee shortfall;
  • Complete and lodge the taxable payments annual report to the ATO, on behalf of a client;
  • Send a tax file number declaration to the Commissioner, on your behalf;
  • Apply to the Register for an Australian Business Number, on your behalf.

A registered BAS Agent is also held to the following professional code of conduct:

Honesty and integrity

  • Must act honestly and with integrity.
  • Must comply with the taxation laws in the conduct of their personal affairs.
  • If a BAS Agent:
    • receives money or other property from or on behalf of a client, and
    • holds the money or other property on trust
  • they must account to the client for the money or other property.

Independence

  • Must act lawfully in the best interests of a client.
  • Must have in place adequate arrangements for the management of conflicts of interest that may arise in relation to the activities that are undertaken in the capacity of a registered BAS agent.

Confidentiality

  • Unless there is a legal duty to do so, you must not disclose any information relating to a client’s affairs to a third party without your client’s permission.

Competence

  • Must ensure that BAS services provided, or that is provided on their behalf, is provided competently.
  • Must maintain knowledge and skills relevant to the BAS services provided.
  • Must take reasonable care in ascertaining a client’s state of affairs, to the extent that ascertaining the state of those affairs is relevant to any statement made or a thing done on behalf of a client.
  • Must take reasonable care to ensure that taxation laws are applied correctly to the circumstances in relation to which advice is provided to a client.

Other responsibilities

  • Must not knowingly obstruct the proper administration of the taxation laws.
  • Must advise clients of their rights and obligations under the taxation laws that are materially related to the BAS services provided.
  • Must maintain the professional indemnity insurance as required by the Tax Practitioners the Board.
  • Must respond to requests and directions from the Board in a timely, responsible and reasonable manner.
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