Choosing a Bookkeeper? Watch Out For These Red Flags!

When you’re on the hunt for a new bookkeeper, it would be safe to assume those touting bookkeeping services would actually be bookkeepers, right? Wrong. The sad truth is there is a heap of cowboys in the industry. As regulated as anything to do with finance is, there are a lot of underqualified agents out there. Unfortunately with the rise of online services and the ease with which one can get a logo and launch a website, it’s more common than you think. 

I’ve had so many clients come to me in complete frustration after they’ve had a terrible experience with a bookkeeper. It’s so disappointing but also, avoidable if you know what to look out for. This brings me to my main topic, red flags! Read between the lines and you’ll be one step closer to weeding out the roses from the thorns. 

🚩Not a BAS Agent 

I’ve said it many times and I’m going to say it again, your contracted bookkeeper MUST be a registered BAS (or tax) agent to lodge your BAS. As tempting as it is to work with a VA or cheaper contractor to lodge your BAS, it could cost you more in the long run. Fines for this negligence start (yes START) at $11,000.  

So it goes without saying that you should always work with a pro and check the credentials of your current bookkeeper before you ask them to lodge your BAS. 

🚩No Reports or Communication 

I like to think of myself and my team as an extension of our clients’ business. We have regular check-ins, with updates and any questions we have along the way. And, we back this up with comprehensive reports customised to their needs. 

If you’re working with a bookkeeper who doesn’t keep you in the loop it’s a bonafide red flag. It’s your business, after all, you NEED to know where you stand. 

🚩Doesn’t use Accounting Software 

Ok, I’m going to be frank here. Any professional in the field will insist on using robust accounting software. If they are happy with spreadsheets and your word (as solid as it might be), you’ve got a problem. 

Not only does this software enable us to pull the reports we mentioned above, it makes the whole process more efficient and accurate for everyone. Please reconsider if you are working with someone using a spreadsheet, sends you their invoice on a word document or other dinosaur methods of bookkeeping. 

🚩Receipts aren’t a big deal 

Here’s a fact that might change your mind: the ATO is able to audit your books for two or four whole years (depending on your business complexity) after your lodge your return! So if you lodge a 2017 return in 2021 – the 4 years is from 2021. 

If during that audit, they query an item you are liable to produce evidence of that purchase or income. And if they are looking into Tax fraud – they can go back as far as they like!

Any qualified bookkeeper will know this and they will insist you produce receipts – we need them to check all the things we need to – plus keep your records neat and tidy for you! We use HubDoc to make this process easier. The best bit? Those receipts will stay in the cloud so there’s no need for you to go hunting through boxes from 2014, and you have everything you need no matter how long ago it was!

If you’re looking to upscale your bookkeeping support to a team that doesn’t talk in red flags, I’d love to hear from you. Book a discovery session and we can get your books on track the right way. 

Lisa x

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