Bookkeeping FAQs

Are you looking at taking the big step in hiring a bookkeeper and finance team to help support you and your business?

Here are some important Bookkeeping FAQs to help you to get started in this exciting journey!

1. Should I use a bookkeeper, or can I do it on my own?

You can definitely do your own bookkeeping if you enjoy it, have the time for it and have the relevant knowledge. We find that as most clients don’t go into business for the bookkeeping thrill. Most start a business based on a passion for something and hit a roadblock when it comes to the bookkeeping side of things.

The team at Books In Order are happy to accommodate business owners who want to do little or as much as they want. We offer assistance and training with software packages so you can learn your way around the program in a pace that suits you and your business needs.

2. Can I do my own BAS?

Absolutely, but when we do your BAS, we also have checklists and processes to follow to ensure all transactions have been coded correctly and in accordance with their ABN registration. We also like to make sure that all supporting documentation like receipts, have been attached. This will help to streamline the end of year work for your accountant and stops them having to chase you for paperwork, saving time and money.

Another bonus for having a BAS Agent complete and submit your BAS is the extension of time. Ordinarily BAS agents receive a further 4 weeks to submit your BAS – allowing you an additional 4 weeks to pay.

3. Isn’t it all just done by the software?

Accounting software is a wonderful thing, but just like a hammer, you need to know how to use it.

Its all about the preparation and setting up of the software. Good foundations build strong results.

The most important aspect of operating your software is to make sure that it is set up correctly to suit your business and tax registration. Each software program has various sections that need to be set up correctly.

These include:

  • Bank + Bank Rules
  • Payroll + Entitlements + Superannuation
  • Sales + invoice and quote templates
  • Purchases + Contacts
  • Chart of Accounts
  • Inventory / Items
  • Templates for emails
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Organisation details

Correct set up is not only for compliance but also to have up to date, correct financial information at your fingertips, to make those crucial decisions while running your business.

4. Can my friend do my bookkeeping for me?

If your friend is charging you money for doing your bookkeeping, then you will need to ensure that they are licensed as a BAS Agent. The best way to do this, is to check the TPB site. If they are not registered and insured you are putting your business at risk, and for many of us that would be devastating.

There are many reasons why you should engage someone who is registered and insured, in a similar fashion as to when you engage an Electrician or a Builder or a Mechanic. If something goes wrong, you want to make sure you and your business are covered by a registered and insured professional who knows what they are doing.

5. I already do my own bookkeeping, what can you do for me?

The team at Books In Order are happy to accommodate business owners who want to do as little or as much as they want. One of the first things that we can do is to provide feedback on the set up of your software, the current accounting package suitability, and if you are using the software to its fullest potential.

An example of this is, do you have your bank feed set up automatically in your software and are you using bank rules in your banking section? Having this in place can streamline the reconciliation of your accounts, saving you time.

With clients that require ongoing assistance, but on a less frequent basis, we offer a quarterly check that coincides with your BAS preparation. We review your software file and run specific checks which picks up errors that can be fixed prior to finalising and submitting your BAS.

We can also offer monthly reporting where we can provide an insight into what the numbers all mean. This will allow you to see more of your business rather than just the numbers.

6. Will my information be safe – how is my business information and data protected?

As the team at Books In Order are registered BAS Agents, we are bound by the Code of Ethics of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). We maintain all protocols for ensuring your business information and data is confidential. Some of the practices we use include:

  • using individual user login details and passwords for all systems, including laptop computers, desktop systems and all online accounts and that these are kept private at all times
  • regularly change all passwords and protect those passwords – via Practice Protect
  • IT security – ensuring virus protection is up to-date, ensuring software is up-to-date, authentication systems as necessary and information sharing protocols in place
  • destroy physical and electronic records when no longer legally required
  • ensure staff do not leave online portals open, and lock computer screens when unattended
  • maintain physical security at our business premises, both for the actual workspaces and the area where client information may be stored

7. My bookkeeper left me in the lurch, can you help me?

Absolutely we can help you! The first thing we do is to discuss where you are at with your bookkeeping, what needs to be reconciled, if there are any deadlines that are due or have passed, and what assistance you may need going forward.

If you don’t know where things are at – then we can be invited into your software file and provide a review.

Once we have established the status of your bookkeeping records, we can make an action plan of what needs to be done and work out a timeline of when it can & has to be done.

When your file is up to date, we can then work out what is needed going forward and if you require bookkeeping assistance on a regular basis.

8. Are you registered / licensed?

The team at Books In Order pride themselves on being registered and insured. We are registered BAS and Tax agents and are fully insured, so you know your records are safe in our hands.

For a bookkeeper or accountant to become a Registered BAS Agent, there is a lot of comprehensive training, supervised work and study required. There is ongoing annual continuing professional education (CPE) that is required as well keeping up to date with the ever-changing landscape of the business world.

We have the support of 2 of the best organisations in Australia – the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

9. I haven’t done my BAS for the last year, how long will it take you to get me up to date?

This is quite an open-ended question…. how long is a piece of string?

  • What was the last BAS lodged, and are your records up to date and reconciled?
  • What is your bookkeeping system like? Is it manual or are you using software?
  • Do you have all of your receipts and invoices available for quick processing?

The questions above are part of what needs to be answered before we can look at timeframes for completion and lodgement. 

10. How much experience have you had – are all bookkeepers the same?

All bookkeepers are not the same. Individuals in the bookkeeping industry come from all walks of life, with varied backgrounds and qualifications. But one thing is of prime importance – BAS Agent Registration. If you are looking to hire a bookkeeper, you must ensure that they are fully registered and insured.

Asking questions before hiring a bookkeeper will be beneficial to you as a business owner to find the right fit for your business. There are some bookkeepers that specialise in particular software only, while some specialise in specific industries.

As there is a vast difference in industries, so are the idiosyncrasies of them. Having a bookkeeper that knows your industry will be a wonderful asset to you as a business owner.

The team at Books In Order has over 25 years of experience in bookkeeping, accounting, auditing, hospitality, construction, and body corporate management – as well as being business owners. The software programs we are very familiar with are Xero, MYOB and QBO, as well as third party applications such as Dext, Workflow Max, Stripe, Hubdoc, Asana, EzyPay, and Office 365.