When do you need a bookkeeper?

These are some of the signs you should look for when deciding to hire a bookkeeper:

  • Doing the books is taking you away from working on your business.
  • The business transactions have substantially increased since you first started.
  • You're not sure that records are being kept correctly.
  • Your tax or other compliance is getting complicated.
  • Your accountant is doing bookkeeping duties and charging accountant fees.

Benefits of using a registered bookkeeper

Using a bookkeeper is an investment in your business. It can have many benefits, including saving you time, money and decreasing the risk of errors and gaps.

Saving money

Although many small business owners think that hiring a bookkeeper is an unnecessary expense, most small business owners don't have the skills required to prepare meaningful financial reports.

If you have an accountant doing your bookkeeping for you, consider whether it could be cheaper to employ a dedicated registered bookkeeper instead.

Saving time

Time is one of the things that all small business owners need more of. Engaging a bookkeeper frees up valuable time for you to work on other areas of your business.

Accurate record keeping

It's the bookkeeper’s job to keep accurate records. Considering this will be their primary role, it's more likely your records will be kept up to date and accurate.

Think about it this way – you wouldn't attempt to do an electrical job if you weren't qualified. It can be the same for keeping good financial records.

Confidence and compliance

A quality registered bookkeeper will:

  • understand the compliance requirements of your business
  • record and lodge compliance requirements appropriately
  • be up to date with the most effective and efficient systems available
  • provide meaningful business reports to help with decisions about your business

Questions to ask a bookkeeper

It's important to get the right bookkeeper for your business.

If they have good experience in businesses like yours, they'll be able to provide information that meets your compliance requirements – for example, business activity statements (BAS) – as well as information to improve the overall performance of your business.

Here are some questions that can help you decide on choosing the right bookkeeper:

Check their qualifications and experience

What are your qualifications?

Your bookkeeper should have a bookkeeping qualification. If you intend to use them to prepare your Business Activity Statement, they'll also need to be either a registered BAS agent or tax agent.

What bookkeeping association are you a member of?

Ensure your bookkeeper is a member of a bookkeeping association. if they are, they'll be keeping up to date with any accounting, bookkeeping, tax or other changes that may have an impact on your business.

How long has the bookkeeping practice been operating? How long have you been with the practice?

Find out how much experience they have, and if the practice is mature enough to manage your needs.

Are you familiar with the accounting software package I use in my business?

Your bookkeeper must know how to use your accounting software.

For example. your registered bookkeeper should be one of the following:

  • MYOB Certified Consultant
  • QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor
  • Reckon Certified Advisor
  • Xero Advisor Certified

Find out what services and support they can provide

What kind of clients do you see, and what services do you provide?

Find out if they have clients like you, and experience in the services you need. Ask to speak with a current client to check if they're happy with the service provided.

What range of services do you provide?

Many bookkeepers also provide technology assistance, such as help in setting up point of sale (POS) systems, or software to scan invoices and receipts directly into your accounting system.

What is the size of the bookkeeping practice?

Find out how many work at the practice, because if your bookkeeper is ill, you'll want to ensure that someone else can come in and undertake the necessary duties.

How will your practice help me develop my business?

Good bookkeepers can assist with a range of ways to improve the overall performance of your business, such as setting and monitoring budgets or key performance indicators.

Are you familiar with the accounting software package I use in my business?

Your bookkeeper must know how to use your accounting software.

Confirm their rates and your cost savings

What rates do you charge and how will I be billed?

What is the basis on which fees are charged, and will they bill you monthly or annually?

Will I save on my accounting fees if I use you?

Using a bookkeeper means you should have significant savings on your accounting fees.