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Is your bookkeeper qualified? Find out what it takes and why it matters

When you’re a business owner outsourcing skills and services, you want to be able to rely on the people you’re trusting to do the job. And while there are a range of valuable service providers out there, few people command the trust and responsibility of your business more than your accountant! In fact, your accountant is the person or company responsible for ensuring your business complies with ATO regulations and who ensures that your balance sheet is accurate.

Indeed, when it comes to your professional services, few are more important at the end of the day than your bookkeeper. But did you know that there is a whole lot more to bookkeepers than just entering numbers into your spreadsheets? And that within the field of professional bookkeepers you can hire a bookkeeper, an accountant, or a registered BAS agent – and they’ll likely all be able to do your bookkeeping for you?

We wanted to touch on what it takes to be a qualified BAS agent – and what it takes to be a bookkeeper, so that you can make the right decision for your business. After all, you may not need a qualified BAS agent when a bookkeeper is fine for your company’s activities; it’s just a matter of what works best for you and your needs.

What’s the difference in qualifications?

A BAS Agent – These tax agents can manage and report on your GST responsibilities and can assist you in lodging your business activity statement (BAS) to the Tax office. A BAS agent is authorised to prepare and lodge your BAS while at the same time they can also take care of your bookkeeping, usually so that everything is in the one place.

  • Reviews the reports of your business and can provide information about your obligations and entitlements
  • Can manage your bookkeeping and code tax invoices before entering this onto your accounting system
  • Is accountable to the Tax Practitioners Board

Bookkeepers – A bookkeeper is someone who can manage a multitude of tasks – from managing your accounts and recording transactions through to producing financial statements and reports. They have less capacity than your BAS Agent and generally provide services of a general nature.

  • Data entry, reconciliations, record keeping
  • General reporting and coding transactions to your bank account

Accountants – These professionals can assist you in making decisions about what kind of business structure is best for you and how to plan for growth. They can assist you in knowing when to register for GST or an ACN, and how to plan for your business needs. An accountant is more like a business advisor who can explain the implications of your business and financial decisions.

  • A great professional to have on side when making financial decisions
  • Important for businesses looking to grow

What does it take to be qualified?

To be a BAS agent, an applicant has to satisfy certain requirements set out in the Tax Agent Services Regulations. In addition to this qualification, an application also needs to hold a Certificate IV in Financial Services in bookkeeping or accounting as well as at least 1,000 hours of experience in the past four years.

Which one do I need?

Most businesses will require a BAS qualified accountant to perform the full suite of functions that they require. If your business truly only does need a small amount of data entry, then a bookkeeper may be sufficient. If you’re looking for growth and advice on your financial matters, then an accountant may be the professional you’re after. But if you need a financial service provider, then a registered BAS Agent is the person for you. Our principal Kelli is a registered BAS Agent and can ensure that you are fully compliant with all of your ATO requirements.

Contact us to find out more about what kind of bookkeeping and BAS services we can provide and chat to us about how we can help your business to grow year on year. Call us on (07) 3608 4206 or get in touch online.

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