When you’re making plans to start a business, you will have many decisions to make. One of the first is whether to do your own record keeping or hire a registered accountant or a bookkeeper to take care of them for you. Although you can save money by taking care of your own books, it can be too much to keep up with when you’re running a business, so you will need to know whom to hire to handle your business’ books.
What a Bookkeeper Can Do
Although a bookkeeper can handle the record keeping duties for a business, there are some duties they cannot legally charge you to do. A bookkeeper can take care of:
- Accounts payable and receivable
- Pay bills for your business
- Payroll for employees
- Prepare balance sheets
- Track of petty cash
Unless the bookkeeper is employed by your business, they cannot legally be paid to prepare tax returns or file activity statements. If the bookkeeper that does your business books is also registered as a tax or BAS (Bank Activity Statements) agent, however, they can prepare your company’s tax returns and do the activity statements.
Tax or BAS Agents
If you need someone to prepare your business tax returns, you need to hire someone who is registered as a tax agent. They are the only ones that are qualified legally to prepare returns, but you can hire a BAS agent to take care of tasks like:
- Collecting or recovering fringe benefit taxes
- Pay as you go withholdings
- Making PAYG instalments
- Fuel taxes
Both tax and BAS agents have regulations they must follow as far as their professional conduct. If they do not follow these regulations, they can be reported and possibly lose their ability to be agents.
Hiring an Accountant
You can also hire an accountant to take care of both record keeping duties and tax preparation for your business. Accountants take the same types of courses as tax agents, such as a small business tax course, to be able to register with the Taxation Practitioners Board or TPB. They can also give you advice about tax planning, which business structure would be best for your company, calculations for your superannuation accounts and much more.
Ideally, as soon as you start planning to open a business, you should hire an accountant to give you advice about business finances, tax planning and which business structure would be best for your company. An accountant can handle all of the duties of a bookkeeper, a tax and BAS agent, as well as provide your business with other financial advice.
When searching for someone to handle the record keeping and tax preparation duties for your business, you will want to make sure they are registered with the TPB. When they are registered, you know they have met the necessary qualifications to be able to legally prepare tax returns and complete other tax forms for your business.