May, 2016

What a bookkeeper can do for you

Bookkeepers are trained to use the same financial recording methods as accountants.  They do this so that your accountant can quickly and easily process your financial information.  Here’s what a bookkeeper can do for you:

  1. Process all your daily receipts, invoices and other transactions.
  2. Record the information in your accounting software.
  3. Work with you to make sense of the numbers.

But there’s more to bookkeeping than recording daily transactions.  Bookkeepers will also be able to assist you with:

  • add-on solutions to streamline your business workflow, such as point of sale tools
  • payroll services to simplify the way you pay your staff
  • bookkeeping rescue work – e.g. tidying up mistakes made by inexperienced staff
  • training you and the other staff to use the accounting software properly.

In fact, a good bookkeeper can be your partner in ensuring that your business runs smoothly.

So why do you need one?

Like other business owners, it’s likely that you’re passionate about running the business, but you may not have the time to devote to recording all the daily financial transactions.  For example, say you own a hair salon and have to record lots of:

  • customer payments
  • sales of products
  • supplier invoices for those products
  • banking
  • staff wages and super.

That’s a lot of information to process and bookkeeping may not be your thing.

It would be easy for transactions to go unrecorded, left to pile up, mistakes could be made and important details could be lost or forgotten.  That’s where a bookkeeper can assist and take the load from your shoulders.

The benefits for your business

With a bookkeeper on board, you’ll have more time to focus on the other areas of your business.  Also, with your accounts in order and regular reporting available, you’ll have a clearer idea of how your business is performing which can be important when trying to stand out from your competitors.

A good bookkeeper can be a valuable asset to any small business, but if you find one with experience in your particular industry, they’ll add even more value.

Here at BSN & Co we have experienced bookkeepers who can help you manage your business.  Visit our bookkeeping page to find out more (link to page)

Also, check our previous bookkeeping blogs Why Bookkeeping is Crucial to Your Success, Bookkeeping Basics for Small Business Owners and 5 signs that you need a bookkeeper

5 signs that you need a bookkeeper

Like many small business owners, you may have managed every part of your business when you started out but, now that the business has grown, you need to consider whether it’s time to outsource some tasks.

It’s crucial to focus on the areas of your business where you’ll have the most impact and allocate some tasks to other staff.

One of the tasks you can hand over is all the financial record keeping.  You may consider hiring a qualified bookkeeper, but when is the right time to do this?  Here are 5 signs that you need a bookkeeper:

1. Doing the books is taking you away from working on your business

Once you find yourself spending a large portion of your time managing all the financial records of the business while juggling other matters, then it is time for you to employ a bookkeeper.

A bookkeeper can take on duties such as processing invoices, chasing debtors, recording payments to suppliers, reconciling bank accounts and overseeing the payroll transactions.  This will free you up so you can focus on other aspects of your business.

2. You’re not keeping up to date with all the business transactions

As your business has grown, so has the paperwork and record keeping.  Most small business owners are time poor and they often leave the important task of updating their records until they are forced to do it  – e.g. when BAS or tax return lodgement deadlines are looming.  If you don’t keep your records up to date, you may uncover issues at the last minute that delay lodgement and incur penalties.  This is definitely a sign that you need a bookkeeper.

3. You may not be recording everything correctly

If your accountant regularly queries and/or returns your records for correction, perhaps you are overlooking something or rushing because of time constraints.  A good bookkeeper will save you a lot of stress, time and money by taking these things off your hands.

4. Tax compliance is getting more complicated

It’s very important that your business complies with ATO regulations and obligatory requirements, but adhering to them can become very time consuming particularly with continuing legislative changes – e.g. superannuation law.  While your accountant will keep up to date with these changes, a qualified bookkeeper will work with them to ensure that your business remains compliant at all times.

5. Your accountant is doing your bookkeeping

If your accountant is doing this at their premises at the moment, perhaps it would be more convenient if their bookkeeper visited you instead.  Alternatively, you could weigh up the cost of using that service against engaging your own in-house bookkeeper.  Perhaps this latter option may suit you better.

Here at BSN & Co we have experienced bookkeepers who can help you manage your business.  Visit our bookkeeping page to find out more – CLICK HERE

Also, check out our bookkeeping blogs Why Bookkeeping is Crucial to Your Success and Bookkeeping Basics for Small Business Owners

Bookkeeping basics for small business owners

On average, small business owners spend 10 hours each week recording, organizing and processing financial transactions – everything from accounts receivable and payable to employee payments, expense receipts and supplier invoices.

While the process may be time consuming (and tedious!), effective bookkeeping is the foundation of sound financial management which, in turn, is the lifeblood of your business.

Feeling overwhelmed by mountains of paperwork and complex calculations?  Here are some bookkeeping basics for small business owners to help ensure a healthy financial future.

Diligently track your expenses

Accurate and consistent expense tracking is crucial for claiming tax deductions and reducing your overall tax bill.  Plus, analyzing expenses can offer crucial insights into spending patterns and the overall profitability of your small business.

Small business owners should consider using a mobile app for simple, consistent expense tracking.  There are many options available that help do away with manual data entry with automated functions, including:

  • Receipt data capture via your smartphone’s camera (no need to hold onto paper receipts which can be lost or misfiled);
  • Synchronization with your phone’s GPS to track mileage of business travel; and
  • Importing bank and credit card data, plus integration with accounting software.

Systematic invoicing and filing

Efficient invoicing is more than ensuring you get paid in a timely fashion.  An invoice is an official record of the terms of each transaction and must be completed accurately to avoid errors in your bookkeeping process.  Here are a few tips:

  • Ensure each invoice includes all the important details such as contact information, a tracking number, a detailed list of products or services rendered and a breakdown of the total amount due;
  • Provide an electronic receipt to reduce waste and create a “paper trail” if there’s ever a dispute; and
  • Maintain an invoice filing system that records when you sent the invoice, to whom, when payment was made and any reminders sent out.

An online invoicing tool can streamline this aspect of your bookkeeping processes and provide an efficient backup filing system.

Save time with accounting software

Every business is required to keep organized and up-to-date records for at least five years.  However, manually recording income and expenses to ledgers and journals is time consuming and stressful.  Shave some time off your bookkeeping jobs with an accounting software program such as MYOB or similar which offer advantages such as:

  • Instant reports giving up-to-date profit and loss statements, customer accounts, payroll details etc – your overall financial “big picture”;
  • Simplified data entry so you can collate and print invoices, purchase orders and payroll much faster than with manual methods; and
  • Improved accuracy through automation.

When it comes to accounting, vigilance is the key to mitigating risk and ensuring the long term profitability of your small business.  Be sure to regularly make the time to update and review your books to see how your business is performing.

Here at BSN & Co we have experienced bookkeepers who can help you manage your business.  Visit our bookkeeping page to find out more (link to page)

Also, check our recent blog – Why bookkeeping is crucial to your success 

Superannuation guarantee for employees 2016

Under superannuation guarantee for employees 2016 legislation, the amount payable for 2015/2016 for employees (and some contractors) remains at 9.5% of a worker’s ordinary time earnings.  The superannuation contributions are payable by employers on a quarterly basis, on or before the 28th of the month following each quarter end.

To be deductible in the financial year of payment, the June 2016 superannuation payment needs to be made on or before 30 June 2016.  Otherwise, superannuation payments are due as follows:

QUARTER                 DUE DATES

September                     28 October

December                      28 January

March                            28 April

June                               28 July

It is essential that employer superannuation payments are made to (and in) the nominated superannuation fund on or before the due date to avoid the administrative burden required in the event that payments are even one day late!  Employer superannuation contributions are under the ATO’s scrutiny and timing is an issue.

Employers with fewer than twenty (20) employees who are yet to engage with Superstream and are required to should refer to the relevant news blog in May 2015 archives.

For further advice, call the team at BSN & Co on 08 9204 3733

SMSF invest in property

Want to know how your SMSF can invest in property?

If your fund has more than enough monies available to meet the cost of acquisition including stamp duty and any settlement costs, then direct investment would be the straightforward cost effective way to go and would avoid the need for other structures!  Without the need to borrow, ongoing administration and management would also be simplified.

Alternatively, should your fund not have sufficient monies to purchase property outright, amended superannuation law allows borrowing by funds to acquire assets including property.

Known as ‘limited resource borrowing arrangements’ (LRBA), these quarantine the risk of borrowing to the particular asset acquired, rather than expose all fund assets should there be any future difficulty with loan repayments.

Generally, the LRBA requires a separate “bare” holding trust into which the property being acquired is transferred, while the SMSF enters into the loan agreement with the lender.  At the end of the loan period the property title is transferred from the holding trust to the SMSF.

While the LRBA are not as simple or straightforward as borrowing normally encountered, they at least facilitate property investment by funds and, furthermore, a member or related party of the fund may be lender to the SMSF.

Property investment by a SMSF may occur through a tenants-in-common approach – i.e. the SMSF purchases only part of the property in conjunction with another party, both parties have specific percentages or proportions of the whole property, which itself may not be used for security.

An in-specie contribution of property by a member owning a business property is an option subject to member contribution caps and any capital gains tax and stamp duty implications.  The contribution caps may mean any in-specie contribution of property would have to be undertaken progressively over several years with the vendor utilising small business capital gains tax concessions.

A further option as regards SMSF investment in property is to utilise the related entity strategy, whereby a related company or unit trust in which the fund and other party/parties invest, pools the funds and acquires a property, hence the SMSF is a joint shareholder or joint unit holder for an indirect investment.  Of course, there are restrictive conditions on what the related entity may or may not do to satisfy superannuation requirements but, nevertheless, an alternative which facilitates investment in property.

For further advice, call the team at BSN & Co on 08 9204 3733