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Checklist: Bookkeeping services

Less time doing bookkeeping means more time running your business.

On this page

  • When do you need a bookkeeper?
  • Benefits of using a bookkeeper
  • Questions to ask a bookkeeper

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 are not sure that you are keeping the records correctly
  • your tax and/or other compliance is getting complicated
  • your accountant is doing bookkeeping duties and charging accountant fees.

Benefits of using a bookkeeper

Using a bookkeeper should be seen as an investment in your business. There are many benefits to using a bookkeeper and here are some for you to consider.

Get the best bookkeeper for your needs

Saving money

Although many small business owners think this is an unnecessary expense, most small business owners do not have the necessary skills to understand how to prepare meaningful financial reports and will spend more time trying to understand how to keep the financial records. Think about it this way, you would not attempt to do an electrical job if you were not qualified – it is the same for keeping good financial records.

Saving time

Time is one of the things that all small business owners need more of. By using a bookkeeper this will free up valuable time for you to work on the other areas of the business.

Accurate record keeping

It is the bookkeeper’s job to keep accurate records and given this will be their primary role it is more likely your records will be kept up to date and accurate if you use a bookkeeper.

Confidence and compliance

A good bookkeeper will understand the compliance requirements of your business and will ensure that these are recorded correctly and lodged appropriately. Furthermore, they will also be up to date with the most effective and efficient systems available which will provide improved business reporting to assist in the decision making.

Questions to Ask a Bookkeeper

It is important to get the right bookkeeper for your business. If they have good experience in businesses similar to yours then they will definitely be able to provide not only information that meets your compliance requirements (e.g. BAS) but also information to improve the overall performance of your business.

Here are some suggested questions that may help you decide on the right bookkeeper:

What are your qualifications?
Your bookkeeper should have a bookkeeping qualification. If you intend to use them to prepare your Business Activity Statement then they will also need to be either a registered BAS agent or tax agent.

What bookkeeping association are you a member of?
Ensuring your bookkeeper is a member of a bookkeeping association will mean that they will be keeping up to date with any accounting, bookkeeping, tax or other changes that may impact on your business.

How long has the bookkeeping practice been operating and how long have you been with the practice?
This question will enable you to find out how much experience they have and also ensure that the practice is also mature enough to manage your needs.

What kind of clients do you see and what services do you provide?
Do they have clients like you and experience in the services you need? Ask to talk to a current client to see if they're happy with the service provided.

What range of services do you provide?
Many bookkeepers also provide technology assistance also, such as help in setting up point of sale systems or software to scan invoices and receipts directly into your accounting system.

What is the size of the bookkeeping practice?
You may need to ensure that if your bookkeeper is ill, that someone else can come in to 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.

What rates do you charge and how will I be billed?
What is the basis on which fees are charged? Will they bill you monthly? Annually?

Will I save on my accounting fees if I use you?
If you are using a bookkeeper then you should expect a significant saving on your accounting fees.