What is Bookkeeping?
Bookkeeping is a growing profession - it is demanding, exciting, challenging and above all, rewarding. It is about understanding how a business works and then providing accurate figures that enable the business to know exactly how well it is doing. For men and women of all ages and from all backgrounds it provides outstanding career opportunities.
The basic system of double entry bookkeeping was invented more than five hundred years ago by a Cistercian monk called Luca Pacioli. His system still endures today and is used throughout the world, making bookkeeping a truly international profession. The ICB website will give an understanding of how to train to become a bookkeeper and how to become a member of the Institute. It will also help those who already have a qualification or have been working as a bookkeeper for many years but now want the support of a professional association to enhance career prospects.
Bookkeeping today is far more than entering data and reconciling the bank. Bookkeeping is thinking about the needs of the business, thinking about the processes to get a result.
Firstly, what is expected for standard bookkeeping?
- Processing purchases, sales, receipts, payments
- Processing payroll and maintaining entitlements and employee records
- Bank reconciliation
- Providing reporting for preparation of a BAS
- Producing reports for both management and accountant
- Record keeping
Good bookkeeping now includes above and beyond this standard process to ‘think’ more about each stage and ask the questions ‘can we do this better’ and ‘is bookkeeping part of the natural business system?’ Have I captured all the relevant information required to produce an accurate result?
Also note that a required standard should be that any other person, being a bookkeeper or accountant should be able to step in and work on the file for the business without needing to reinvent or research too significantly.
What is a BAS Agent?
The term “BAS Agent” typically applies to a business that contract to a client to provide services to that client to do with their BAS obligations.
The legislation was implemented with a view to providing business with protection and security. It is about the qualifications, experience, competence, professionalism of us as an external person being relied on to assist you with the obligations of GST, PAYG Withholding (payroll), PAYG Instalment Payments, FBT Payments, WET, Fuel Tax and LCT.
Registration of a BAS Agent can be checked here.
Only registered BAS Agents (and Tax Agents) are permitted to advise or help you “ascertain” (determine, establish, discover, make certain) your liabilities, obligations or entitlements of the areas of the BAS. Only registered Agents (other than the business owner or their employees) are permitted to represent the business in dealing with the ATO.
By being a BAS Agent you must:
- Be fit and proper
- Have minimum formal qualifications (eg Certificate IV in Bookkeeping)
- Continue to have sufficient, ongoing, continual relevant experience
- Have an appropriate level of Professional Indemnity Insurance
- Undergo continuing professional education
- Maintain professionalism in accordance with at least the statutory code of conduct
Adherence with the code of conduct reinforces the concepts of:
- Honesty and Integrity
A BAS Agent provides service competently using knowledge and skills to take “reasonable care” to ensure that tax law is applied correctly for the business.
A BAS Agent does not advise nor liaise with the tax office on Income Tax Matters. This is the role of a Registered Tax Agent. Such things as; reportable Fringe Benefits Tax Amounts or Reportable Superannuation Contributions on your end of year Payroll Payment Summaries. Such things as; the Tax deductibility of entertainment or other items, where your ability to claim back GST depends on the tax agents treatment of those items for your tax return.
A BAS Agent is committed to providing expert service and expert advice.
How to Compare and Evaluate Bookkeeping Services
When comparing and evaluating bookkeeping services, we believe that it’s important to consider more than just the hourly rate or fixed fee that you’re paying. I believe that there are at least two considerations. One is the total cost of the service(s) that you’re receiving and the other is the quality of the service that you’re receiving. I’m going to look at each of these aspects. Many people make decisions about their bookkeeping quite blindly, not really knowing what they’re getting and whether it’s good value. Near the end of this article we’ve included a free download of twelve questions that you can ask your prospective bookkeeper and why these questions are important, in case you really want to investigate your options thoroughly.
For more information, click here.