What’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?

Accountants are big picture specialists. They are qualified to give advice on tax management, and to plan a financial infrastructure for a business.

Bookkeepers are fine detail specialists. Bookkeepers record financial transactions into categories, produce reports for accountants and the tax office and help manage business cash flow. Provided they are registered BAS Agents, they are qualified to administer systems that fulfill a business’s BAS obligations.

Why should I use a bookkeeper? Why not just use accounting software myself?

Think of it this way. You may not be qualified or have experience as a hairdresser, but you can purchase a pair of scissors and you can operate them. Over time you may learn the tricks of the trade, and you may even become good at cutting hair. But along the way you’ll probably suffer through some very sad haircuts and you may end up at a salon paying exorbitant prices for a fix-up. Occasionally it might take months (or years) to recover from a botched haircut. Bookkeeping is the same. There are many things you need to know and a range of experience you need to have in order to be a good bookkeeper. You also need to keep up to date with changes in payroll, tax, GST, PAYG and other ATO legislation.

What qualifications should a bookkeeper have?

Until recently pretty much anyone could call themselves a bookkeeper. They still can, actually, but as of 2010, it is illegal to charge a fee for providing a BAS service unless registered as a ‘BAS Agent’. Specific academic qualifications and substantial levels of experience are required for registration as well as participating in ongoing professional development. Always ask for a BAS Agent number if you’re going to hire a bookkeeper.

The most frequently asked question is….

What are your bookkeeping service rates?

We have hourly bookkeeping fees and fixed package rates. Since we tailor our book keeping services to suit your needs, we need to have a chat with you to discuss which business solutions will best suit you.
A number of factors go into how we work out bookkeeping service rates: The size of your organisation, the type of business you’re in, whether you’re behind in your bank reconciliation, cash flow management and BAS, and also whether there are bookkeeping jobs you would like to do yourself, or have staff do.

We’ve found that some clients are keen to have a casual level of support with bookkeeping processes — set-up and periodic reviews of their bookkeeping software, training, advice on how to organise receipts and invoices, and assistance with BAS preparation — while others want a certified bookkeeper to provide a fully outsourced book keeping service that uses a specific accounting package.

Institute of Certified Bookkeepers - '10 Questions to ask when hiring a Bookkeeper'

BASic Bookkeepers - we make it easier to run a business.