Frequently Asked Questions

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Can you help me with my bookkeeping too? 

Absolutely if I do your tax returns I can also do your bookkeeping however I do not provide bookkeeping only services to the general public.

 

I’m a bit behind in my BAS and tax.  Can you help me get up to date? 

Absolutely I can and I assure you that you are not alone – in fact we do this all the time.  I know how busy life can get sometimes and sometimes compliance isn’t your number 1 priority but I can absolutely get you up to date and also keep you up to date so you don’t have that worry anymore.

 

When is the best time to get an accounting system? 

Great question and I wish more people asked this one.  The ideal time is BEFORE you even start marketing because –

  1. otherwise you won’t be able to invoice your clients – and if you don’t invoice you don’t get paid.
  2. you’ve got the time.  I know this sounds silly but once the business starts getting some momentum you will realise you just don’t have the time to implement a system anymore as you’re too busy running the business
  3. the longer you operate without a proper system in place the bigger the potential mess you are going to get into….it’s much smarter, quicker and cheaper to get it right before you start than clean up the mess afterwards.

If you’ve already started trading however the next best time is now.  The sooner the better :)

There are so many accounting systems out there how do I know which one is best for me?

You know what? It’s tricky.  There’s really no easy answer here other than to either get professional advice from consultants such as myself or try different systems and see which one you ‘like’ best.  The later option has merit as depending on the complexity of your business it may not really matter however if you have a few ‘must haves’ or have a complex business it’s always best to get professional advice.  Now with regards to professional advice I strongly urge you not to listen to the hype from the software providers.  Sounds obvious but honestly I see it all too often where people get sucked into buying a product because of marketing but it doesn’t do what they really need it to do.

 

MYOB or Xero?

The truth here is that they are 2 completely different products suitable for different markets.  The key is to know what you need from your software.  Some questions you need to ask yourself are –

  1. do you want a 100% cloud based system? Is that important to you or not important?
  2. what is your internet speed like?
  3. how much do you want to pay per month?  They start at around $29 per month and go up from there.
  4. do you use a Mac or a PC or both?
  5. do you want to work on your phone or tablet whilst out on the road?
  6. do you need inventory functionality and if so to what extent?
  7. does you business deal in multiple currencies?
  8. do you have an industry specific software or CRM system you would like to link to your accounting software?
  9. do you employ staff and what are your payroll requirements?

It’s definitely not a simple answer and whatever you do please don’t use the old ‘phone a friend’ to make that decision for you unless of course that friend is in the same business as you.

 

What if I get the wrong accounting system is it easy to change?

It’s an all too common problem (which is why I said above get professional advice before you decide) but if you have made the wrong decision it’s never too late to change.  There are obviously costs involved with changeover and by costs I refer to both time and money.  If you do decide to move to another system I strongly recommend to engage a professional consultant to do the transition for you so it’s smooth, quick and pain free but more importantly so it’s done correctly – otherwise you’re just jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

 

Aren’t accounting systems like MYOB & Xero just plug and play?

Software providers sell you on how easy their products are to use and generally they are easy IF they are set up correctly.  Because software companies are not tax agents by law they are unable to automatically setup your systems for GST.  It sounds silly I know but it actually makes good sense because no 2 businesses are the same e.g. a doctor doesn’t charge GST on his services but a graphic designer would – but if the graphic designer isn’t registered for GST?  So as you can see things can get a bit complicated.  I’ve only mentioned GST here but there are also considerations such as whether you sell goods or services, have payroll or need to keep track of time billing.  All of these functions require some modification and tailoring to each and every business and no 2 businesses are the same.

 

Is it important to get my MYOB system set up professionally?

Your accounting system is the foundation of your business.  I liken it to building a house – you don’t just start building a house on land.  You make sure you get a foundation laid and then you build on the foundation.  Then if after a few years and a couple of kids you decide to put on an extension you know the house won’t fall over because it’s built on a sold foundation. An accounting system is no different.  If you don’t get the basics right at some point you will come undone or as your business grows your accounting system won’t cope because you don’t have the basics right.  Either way you will end up spending way too much money on your tax preparation or worse than all of those you will waste your precious time and energy using a system that isn’t setup properly so you will be under-utilising it or using it incorrectly.  If you want to get the most out of your system it’s worth every cent to get it set up properly from the beginning.

 

When is superannuation due?

Superannuation payments are due on the 28th of the month following the end of a quarter – confusing yes I know….maybe this will help.  For the January-March quarter superannuation payments are due by no later than the 28th April.

If you are a small business (less than $2m turnover) then you are entitled to use the Superannuation Small Business Clearing House or if you use an accounting product such as MYOB or Xero they have the facility for transmitting superannuation payments directly from within your software – no fuss, no stress.  If you would like help setting up that please feel free to contact us.

 

What’s this cloud thing everyone is talking about and is it safe?

‘The Cloud’ is simply another name for the internet.

So when we talk about a cloud accounting system we are talking about an accounting system you access just as you would your online banking. To use cloud accounting you need an internet connection and you access it through a web browser. Just like online banking you need a username and password but you can also give access to others e.g. your accountant, your bookkeeper, your business partner, your staff and because it’s using the internet you can have as many people all using the system at the same time.

 

What is the difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper?

There are quite a few differences between bookkeepers and accountants however there are also a few similarities/overlaps so often it can be hard to understand where the line between them starts and finishes – especially because sometimes they can actually be the same person…..OMG this is getting confusing now…..so back to basics.

In very general terms an accountant is degree qualified, whereas a bookkeeper isn’t.

Bookkeepers do the day to day things such as invoicing customers, processing supplier invoices, chasing customers for money, allocating cash received and paying suppliers, payroll, bank reconciliations and usually will get the accounts to a point (called Trial Balance stage) when the accountant will take over.

Accountants on the other hand usually help with income tax and business advisory. Unlike bookkeepers, most accountants generally don’t get into the nitty-gritty of your accounting system and get their hands dirty with your books they look at it from a high level, focus on the things they know the ATO are interested in and prepare compliance reports.  That said not all accountants were created equally and I am a little different here as I do most of the year end work in your accounting system and then transfer that data into the tax system.  The benefit to you is that your system says exactly what the ATO has and if I find you’ve made any mistakes throughout the year I fix them in your system because system integrity is critical for you to make informed decisions.

Is an Accountant the same thing as a Tax Agent?

Despite common belief no they are not the same thing. Just like there are numerous different types lawyers e.g. criminal lawyer, family lawyer, property lawyer, there are also lots of different types of accountants too.

The title accountant is a broad term for anyone who has a qualification in accounting. In the accounting profession there are management accountants, tax accountants, financial accountants, cost accountants and the list goes on.  Each of these types of accountants do similar yet very different things.

A tax agent is an accountant who is registered by the Tax Practitioners Board and like the BAS agent they must have minimum qualifications and experience as well as have specific insurances in place and also maintain their knowledge by mandatory continuous professional education.

 

 

 

If you have any other questions you would like to see answered here please feel free to send them via our contact us page and we would be more than happy to add it.

 

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