The Australian Taxation Office advises that if you use someone to prepare or lodge your business activity statement (BAS), you need to make sure they are registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). If they are not registered, there are significant risks to you and your business because they:
- are acting illegally
- may not have the qualifications and experience required of a registered BAS agent
- may not have professional indemnity insurance cover
- disqualify you from the protection available under the penalty safe harbour provisions which we administer.
The transitional registration option is only available until 28 February 2013.
Don’t take their word for it … ask to see their registration certificate or check the Register of registered and deregistered tax agents and BAS agents on the TPB website.
You will find Balanix Solutions on the register! Need a professional bookkeeper on Brisbane North (Strathpine) – Call us – we can help!
(Source: ATO SME Communicator December 2012)
Well, my three recent blogs on choosing a bookkeeper was very timely. As reported by the Courier Mail yesterday (15 January 2013) a bookkeeper employed by Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club stole $250,000 from the club to feed her gambling addiction.
The Bookkeeper commenced siphoning money in March 2010 and her stealing wasn’t detected for two years until March 2012 when the club’s CEO stumbled upon a number of anomalies.
It was revealed that the bookkeeper mainly stole from cash floats at the racing club, which she topped up with money from a club bank account. The bookkeeper then fudged account records to hide her fraud and falsified documents to present to the club committee at its monthly meetings.
In court, the bookkeeper indicated that she would return to a career in Graphic Design when released from goal.
There are a number of issues coming out of this situation. Without knowing in detail the person’s qualifications and experience, it would appear they were not a professional bookkeeper of long standing having come from a different career background. Further, although it is difficult to ascertain an addiction in the recruitment process, it does highlight the importance of rigorous referee reports and processes.
Finally, it also highlights the importance of separating the handling of money and bank accounts from the person doing the books. Good professional bookkeepers will suggest they not have access to bank accounts in order to protect their integrity and the integrity of their work. Where it is necessary for them to have access, it is necessary that you, the business owner with your bookkeeper, put in place transparent processes to ensure there is limited opportunity for stealing and fraud.
Remember, it is your business, your money and your books – protect them.
Contact Balanix Solutions for your free 1 hour consultation in relation to your bookkeeping needs – we can help.
OK, from the previous two Blogs in this series we have gone through the process of establishing a potential bookkeeper is qualified, experienced and professional to do your bookwork. The final hurdle is what value to your business can they be. Good bookkeepers will recommend good financial processes and systems to ensure sound financial controls. Further, they will use audit controls, back-ups and reconciliation reports to ensure control and accuracy of the accounts. Good bookkeepers will have the skill and knowledge to develop financial reports required by your business and assist with cashflows and budgets. Check that your bookkeeper:
- suggests and recommends changes to financial processes and systems to ensure better financial controls.
- uses quality systems and controls.
- uses audit controls in their bookkeeping.
- can produce management and financial reports regularly to support you and your business.
- can assist with the development of cashflows and budgets.
In the previous Blog we looked at how to make sure your bookkeeper has sufficient accounting knowledge and skill to accurately look after your books. In addition, good bookkeepers should be a member of an accredited industry body (eg. CPA Australia, Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) and can demonstrate commitment to continuous development so they are up to date in their knowledge and skill. If a bookkeeper will be preparing your BAS they need to be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board and comply with all their requriements. Good bookkeepers will have appropriate insurances (eg, professional indemnity) and conduct themselves professionally. Questions to ask a prospective bookkeeper are:
- are they members of an accredited industry body.
- are they a registered BAS Agent.
- can they demonstrate commitment to continuous development.
- do they have appropriate insurances.
In the final installment in this series, we will look at the value add a bookkeeper should be providing to a business owner/manager.
Accurate, professional bookkeeping is the first step in managing your business’s finances successfully. It is important that the bookkeeper can demonstrate accounting knowledge and skill and not simply have learnt through using software. A good bookkeeper must know the difference between cash and accrual accounting, and have demonstrated sound knowledge of GST, tax code usage and the treatment of financial transactions. Ask your potential bookkeeper to demonstrate:
- their accounting knowledge and how did they got it.
- their bookkeeping experience and how did they got it.
- they are competent in accounting software (eg, MYOB) and can use if efficiently and effectively for your business.
- registration to be a BAS provider.
- the difference between accrual and cash accounting.
- what the various tax codes are and when to use them.
- how to treat capital, depreciation and other different types of transactions.
- how they use the Suspence Account (note: good bookkeepers will “park” transactions in the Suspence Account until sufficient paperwork or information on the treatment of the transaction is obtained to then post to the correct and appropriate accounts).
- reconciling bank and credit card accounts and how regularly they recommend doing it (note: bank and credit card accounts should be reconciled at least monthly).
Over the next 2 Blogs we will continue this series covering other questions and information which should be sought when choosing a bookkeeper.