How To Lose A Bookkeeper In 7 Days

In the fast paced world of business, maintaining a healthy relationship with your bookkeeper is essential for smooth financial operations. So if you’ve ever wondered if there is something you could do differently to gain more from your investment, let’s talk about some common missteps that could be driving your bookkeeper crazy. By addressing these possible issues, you can ensure you don’t inadvertently find yourself learning ‘How To Lose A Bookkeeper In 7 Days’.

A white watch holding a bunch of Australian currency (notes) with some gold coins scattered on the table.

1. dodgy expense claims

Mixing business with pleasure? It happens, but if it’s becoming a habit, it’s a red flag. We work with integrity, and we expect the same from our clients. Accidentally including personal expenses in your business records occasionally is forgivable, but consistently trying to claim non-business-related expenses is a big no-no. 

Believe me, we can tell when you’re being fresh with the finances.

Pro Tip: have separate bank accounts for business and personal finances. This simple step helps maintain clarity and integrity in your financial records, ensuring personal expenses aren’t mingled in with business. Additionally, be receptive to feedback from your bookkeeper regarding what’s claimable and what’s not. This open communication fosters trust and transparency.

Woman sitting in a white shirt at a table counting gold coins and bookkeeping with a white calculator and white coffee cup.

2. wonky record keeping

Sending Eftpos receipts/screenshots missing information, instead of having an actual invoice or receipt is literally illegal. You can’t claim an expense without an official tax invoice or appropriate records. The ATO requires you to keep accurate records dating back five to seven years. As a bookkeeper, I won’t claim the expense if you don’t have the invoice. 

Yup, it’s that serious.

Pro Tip: Streamline your expense management by utilising HubDoc to capture and store your expenses – it’s 100% free with Xero business plans, and it integrates with Xero seamlessly. Remember to request Tax Invoices when making payments, especially from Australian businesses (if you’re also an Aussie biz), and ensure the invoice includes their ABN. Familiarise yourself with the essential elements of invoices by checking out our guide, Do Your Tax Invoices Say The Right Things.

And remember, when your bookkeeper asks for invoices, it’s not about making your life difficult, they’re dedicated to ensuring you have all the necessary documents on hand for compliance and audit purposes.

receipt on clipboard with coins and a calculator sitting on top

3. pointing fingers over profit

We’re here to record and analyse your income and expenses, not to guarantee profits. Your business decisions ultimately determine your profitability. While we can provide insights and advice to help you improve your financial performance, we can’t control the economy, your competitors, your marketing, your SEO or your customer satisfaction. That’s all you. 

We will always cheer you on and give you sound advice about your profitability, but we aren’t responsible for it. 

Pro Tip: Focus on what you can control. While we’re here to support you with accurate financial records and invaluable insights, it’s essential to recognise factors like the economy, competition and customer satisfaction are beyond our control. Instead of pointing fingers when profits fluctuate, channel your energy into optimising areas within your control, such as marketing strategies, operational efficiency, customer experiences and managing cash flow.

4. sledging us over tax/GST, or expecting miracles!

We’re happy to project your liabilities if you ask, but it’s important to take our advice seriously and take ownership of the funds you have (or don’t have) in your bank account. Let’s work together to avoid any surprises or lack of funds, when the BAS bill comes in.

We can help you estimate your GST obligations and plan accordingly, but what you do with that information is up to you. You can’t fail to take our advice on board and then roast us when your bill comes in and you can’t pay it. 

Yes, when you work with a bookkeeper you will get access to our skills which include ways to save money here and there. If you hire us and simply expect to pay less GST or Tax and then say we’re a waste of money? We’re not going to be happy. Because we can’t reduce your GST or income tax, we’re here to record what’s happened and keep you informed. Income Tax planning and compliance are complex processes that require careful consideration and attention to detail, in conjunction with your Tax Agent.

Your investment in us gives you time, and efficiency because we’re good at what we do, and, you’ll absolutely get a return on that investment. More often than not, this looks like better saving habits, smarter spending, increased profit margins and mental clarity.

Pro Tip: Ensure proactive communication and collaboration between you, your bookkeeper and your accountant to maximise the effectiveness of your tax planning and compliance efforts. This helps you leverage the right expertise, so you can make informed decisions and avoid surprises come tax time.

5. ignoring deadlines

We work SO hard to meet every single deadline for every single client and we’re happy to because it’s our job. But when we’ve requested information or a signature for lodgement and you straight up ignore us, we have to work harder to meet that deadline. 

Expecting us to do that is…entitled is the best way to put it. 

The same goes for last-minute changes simply because you weren’t organised or you’ve changed your mind for an unknown reason. Unless you want to pay us twice for doing the work that is? 

Pro Tip: Ensure you have clear communication from your bookkeeper regarding deadlines and their expectations. If this hasn’t been provided to you (maybe a red flag?) don’t hesitate to ask them for it. Clear communication is essential for a productive relationship. If you find yourself consistently missing deadlines, or failing to provide the necessary information, be open to frank discussions about your current priorities with your bookkeeper. Doing this together ensures alignment of their services and your needs, helping maintain your relationship.

Hand holding pink 60m cube timer with money notes behind.

6. messing with our work

We’re perfectionists of the highest order. You have to be to work in numbers. So when we’ve spent countless hours ensuring your Xero file is exact, we expect it to stay that way. 

Changing our final figures in Xero is a no-no. It compromises the integrity of your accounting system and can lead to big errors or discrepancies in your financial reports.

Instead, let us know if there’s an issue or update needed, and we’ll happily adjust your records. OR we’ll let you know why it has to be the way we’ve done it.

Pro Tip: Respect your bookkeeper’s expertise and trust them to handle the intricacies of your financial records. If you’ve engaged them in a fully managed arrangement, don’t dive in and ‘help’. Remember, they’ve meticulously crafted your Xero file to ensure accuracy and compliance. Jumping in to make alterations can disrupt their workflow and compromise your data integrity. Instead, communicate your questions or updates needed, and let your bookkeeper handle the adjustments. Trusting their judgement saves both time and resources in the long run. As the meme goes ‘If you watch $100, if you help $150, if you worked on it first $200….’. It’s often more costly in terms of resources and time to review and revise someone elses work.

pink alarm clock in foreground with someone in pink shirt on their phone in the background, with notepads and calculator middle.

7. micromanaging

Trust us to do our job. We’re highly skilled professionals, and constant micromanaging only slows us down. While we welcome your input and feedback, it’s essential to trust us to handle your bookkeeping tasks efficiently and effectively. Constantly questioning or second-guessing our decisions can undermine our confidence and productivity.  

Instead, communicate your expectations and goals clearly, and let us take care of the rest.

Pro Tip: Recognise your external bookkeepers are not task takers like an employee who needs lists and direction, they are highly skilled professionals with their own systems and workflows (and other clients!). Instead of micromanaging, communicate your top level specifics or nuances, and allow them the freedom to work their magic. Trust in their expertise and training to handle your bookkeeping tasks efficiently. If there are any concerns about goals or deadlines, have an open conversation to address any potential issues or roadblocks collaboratively. 

Remember, we’re here to help you succeed, but mutual respect and cooperation are key.

Lisa x

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