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Are You Asking Too Much From Your Bookkeeper

hand 65834 1280When you are working in the business world, there will be expectations that you need to meet or set. While employees have a set of expectations from employers such as paying them regularly, employers also have some expectations from employees and your bookkeeper is no exception. One of the expectations of business owners from their bookkeeper is to provide accurate statements and in return the bookkeepers also expect to receive timely payments for their service.

As a business owner or employer, it is reasonable to expect from your bookkeeper to:

• Obtain more than just basic understanding of accounting and explain them in simple terms. When they are asked for a brief explanation of these terms, they should be able to provide answers in an understandable manner.

• Go into details. Dealing with numbers can make every bookkeeper more prone to mistakes and it is a good sign when your bookkeeper is detail oriented because this only means they pay more attention to the essential information of your statement.

• Be a self-starter. You will no longer have a feeling that you need to give your bookkeeper a constant reminder that you do exist.

• Have the ability to see the big picture. A bookkeeper should make realistic suggestions when it is necessary. Based on the available details, the bookkeeper must know how to recommend a course of action by simply putting all the puzzle pieces together.

• Have willingness to follow through. A bookkeeper should be able to meet deadlines and accomplish the goals you set.

• Provide information to the financial status of your business. The bookkeeper should be able to explain everything in layman’s term.

• Prepare a balance sheet, statement of profit and cash flow statement on a monthly basis. The bookkeeper must also stick to the deadline when it comes to providing these statements.

• Create a commitment and stick to it. If your bookkeeper just cannot handle deadlines, there is no point keeping them.

• Have an idea of the reasonable charge for the service rendered. If the bookkeeper has a broad understanding of their business, they will know how much the services cost.

• Gain a basic understanding of the bookkeeping industry and the type of business. This is going to be essential because business owners turn to bookkeepers to ask for some recommendations, advice or suggestions. Choose a bookkeeper that is connected with a company with substantial experience in various businesses especially in your industry.

• Have solid communication skills. Your bookkeeper should communicate through emails, phone calls and conversations clearly and concisely. They should also be polite.

• Be computer literate. Most bookkeeping tasks are performed using computers or software such as Reckon and MYOB.

While these are realistic expectations, there are times when they are not met because they seem unreasonable. For instance, if you expect your bookkeeper to email back within minutes, this is considered unreasonable as your bookkeeper may be working on a busy schedule.

If you expect your bookkeeper to agree with you most of the time, then you will not be able to hear any constructive feedback that will save or help your business. Your bookkeeper will not also drop any projects just to focus on your books. Building a strong connection with your bookkeeper is possible once you discuss your expectations.

Take Note Of Australia's Most Important Bookkeeping Dates

time 481444 1280Aside from mastering the skills of business management, a business owner is also expected to be well acquainted with the concept of deadlines. Proscratination is not an option especially when it comes to making payments. The dates that you need to pay attention to are the filing dates and the tax deadlines. These refer to the bookkeeping dates and falling behind your payment schedule can create a ripple effect on your business.  

Pay as You Go Withholding

Pay as You Go (PAYG) withholding refers to the summary of payments that employees made based on a specified period of time. Your business makes the payment and the summary shows the amount withheld. The statement must be presented if your business did not withhold payments. You must take note that the deadline for PAYG withholding is always 21 days after the end of the month or 28 days after the end of the quarter. It also depends on the system you have chosen. 

Business Activity Statements

All Australian businesses must fulfill the tax obligations such as securing business activity statements. Each month, business owners are required to make payments. The payments should be lodged 21 days after the last day of the month. However, if you choose to pay on a quarterly basis, your payment needs to be made by the 28th day after the quarter. For the December quarter, payments are not due until February.  

Annual Withholding Declarations

There is a good reason employees are required to give their withholding declaration and one of which is to claim entitlement. Claiming entitlement enables employees to reduce the amount withheld from their wages. It can also work in the opposite way by increasing the amount of money withheld from each payment. If there are changes in the employment status or address of your employee, the declaration can also provide you enough information about these changes. Make sure you meet the deadline for tax declaration, which is on August 14th. Once you receive the declaration, you need to make changes to the employees' payments from the very first payment.  

Payment Summaries 

The purpose of payment summaries is to detail the payment that you have made to non-employees. The type of payments that fall under this category is the payment you made under a labour-hire arrangement and voluntary agreement. Take note that the due for the payment summaries is every 14th of July.  

Superannuation  

The funds that will be made available upon retirement are also included in superannuation. Your task as an employer is to set aside a portion of the employee's wages into a superannuation fund. The employees also have a choice of putting additonal funds into the account. It is essential for employers to pay superannuation fees regularly. The payment can either be made on a monthly or quarterly basis. Payment for superannuation must be made 28 days after the established period of time. 

Both business owners and bookkeepers must understand the significance of these dates. If you want to keep your business and finances in check, it is imperative that you take note of these dates. You can avoid penalities if you know when payment should be made. 

All You Need To Know About Keeping Your PAYG Payment Summary

file0001770792325As a business owner, you will be asked to run through your PAYG (Pay As You Go) payment summary and when you have nothing to present, it can spell trouble on your part. It is easy to get sidetracked by other business obligations and forget about the payment summary. You may consider these summaries less important especially when you lodge timely payments. However, there can be instances when you need to file a payment dispute and if you don't have any concrete proof to show, necesary corrections and updates cannot be made. 

What every business owner should understand about PAYG?

 There are two types of PAYG that every business owner must be familiar with: the first one is referred to as Pay As You Go Installment or PAYGI. This refers to the tax installment payments business owners make to the ATO. The second one is called Pay As You Go Withholding or PAYGW. This refers to the tax that employers or business owners collect from payees, workers or employees. The summary provides the payment made and the amount withheld throughout the financial year. 

The importance of payment summary to your business:

 Not everyone has a sharp memory to remember the payment made by the employees. Business owners are often busy on other tasks that tracking payments become the least of their priorities. With PAYG payment summary, it will be much easier to take note of the payments regardless of the date the payments were made. If there are discrepancies on the information, erroneous entries can be corrected right away. 

The benefits of keeping a copy of PAYG payment summary

1. The process of filing taxes becomes much easier.

When it comes to filing your taxes, accuracy is going to play a huge role to ensure a stress-free process. If you already have a payment summary, there is no need to do some calculations as figures are available. You are less likely to overlook essential details such as withholding taxes.

2. A detailed accounting information is obtained.

You can get very specific information about each payee right off the bat when you have a copy of PAYG payment summary. Their tax numbers, tax liablities, salary and earnings are available. In case payees need to gain access to the relevant information, you can provide what they need easily. 

3. It will be simpler and faster to generate reports.

The fact that PAYG information has already been sorted can save you a great amount of time generating reports. Since the information for each payee is available, discrepancies can be spotted easily. 

4. You can answer queries accurately.

If payees are going to ask about under or over-payments, you know where to get the answers from. The summary can also remove doubts especially when it comes to deductions. If you are being audited, the summary can help you stay on the right track. The request for accounting records can also be reduced when the summary is available. As a result, financial transactions become more efficient and errors are effectively reduced. Not only do you spend less time gathering data, but you also complete the task in a timely manner.

One Task That Most Small Business Owners Dread

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As a small business owner, you need to fulfill your responsibility in ensuring that your business is in tip-top shape. You need to hire the right employees, keep your business finances in order and create a website that potential and existing customers can turn to if they need to buy your product or engage your service. Without a doubt, you are ready to roll.

Unfortunately, there is still one essential element in managing your business that should never ever take a backseat regardless of priorities. While bookkeeping can take so much of your precious time especially if you don’t have any extensive experience dealing with quickbooks and other bookkeeping related tools, every task that involves bookkeeping seems complex.

Although bookkeeping can be everyone's least favorite task, this can play an important role in running your business. Bookkeeping is unappealing to small business owners because of the basic practices that can still be foreign to someone who does not have an accounting degree. You will need to learn the ropes before you can breathe a sigh of relief when deadline for submitting financial reports approaches. If you are new at bookkeeping, it can also be time-consuming and making mistakes can't be undone by simply changing figures. The painful part is that it can be costly.

How to make bookkeeping easy for business owners?

You don’t have to love math to master your business’ bookkeeping side. You just have to employ some simple techniques: 

• Take a short course on bookkeeping basics

Bookkeeping can be overwhelming when you don’t know anything about it especially if you hate numbers. However, a small business owner should make the effort to know what bookkeeping is all about so you know where your business finances are going. A short day course can give you long term benefits.

• Use bookkeeping software

When it comes to balancing the bank statements, you can't do all the work because it will sure be a tiring job. Instead of doing the job by hand, try using reliable bookkeeping software that allows you to enter the financial statements in a jiffy. It is best to use software that allows you to link your bank transactions automatically for real-time monitoring.

• Keep records organized

Keeping accurate financial records is a sign of good bookkeeping. It starts with developing good work habits and ensuring that you keep your company workflow in check. Keep receipts in one folder and be sure to label it to avoid confusion. File them on a monthly basis and store them in one place.

• Get a reliable bookkeeper

Even if you are running a small business, hiring a bookkeeper should not be set aside. A bookkeeper will be responsible for setting a workable system that your company can follow. All you need is a basic understanding of the system so you know how the process works. 

You can’t promote business growth if you don’t pay attention to small but essential details of your business. This is why giving importance to bookkeeping is a must. A lot of businesses have failed because of not paying attention to the business’ financial activities.

Tax Systems And Other Impediments To Business Growth

Business expansion is a big decision and it can create a rippling effect on other factors of your business. It is not just a decision that you make on the spur of the moment. You need to consider several factors before you can decide which direction you are going to take. However, there are several factors that can stop a small business from growing. These factors are part and parcel of having a small business. They only become deterrents when entrepreneurs decide on taking their small business to a higher level. You may need to take a look at these several factors first, before you can decide whether or not you are going to broaden your busines horizons.

Tax systems and other barriers to business growth:

Limited access to the privileges you get from having a small business. 

When you are running a small business, you are also entitled to gain complete access to various small business concessions, which are related to GST, income tax, CGT and many others. Once you decide to expand your business, all of these will be no longer be accessible for you. When taking the road to business expansion, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to gamble or if you are ready to lose access to these concessions. 

Business restructures. 

If you want significant change to happen to your business, you need to welcome restructures. Although it is not going to be an easy decision, being familiar with the effects that restructures make can help you stay on the right track. If you are going to switch to a more effective business structure, you also have to be prepared for the challenges ahead of you. One of the challenges that you are going to face is the CGT liability. 

Payroll Tax  

One of the essentials of putting up a business is making sure that you pay the right tax including payroll taxes. The government is very particular with tax payments and they are keeping their eye on small businesses as well. This is why you need to take it seriously if you really want to run your business smoothly. You subject yourself to a series of problems if you fail to pay on time. You can also get stuck in debt which can take a serious toll on your business. Make sure you keep your payroll taxes in check and avoid falling behind your payment schedule because debts can pile up faster than you know. 

For business owners who decide for an expansion, it is necesary to step out of the business' comfort zone. There are some challenges along the way but once you are familiar with how your business works, everything will fall into place. It does take time before you can reap positive results but it will be all worth your efforts. 

There are other barriers to fulfilling your dreams of expanding your business. Regardless of the obstacles that you will face, you need to keep in mind that you can obtain remarkable results if you are going to consider the risk factors and the steps to take to reduce the possibilities of failing. 

5 Signs Of Fraudulent Payroll Activity

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When it comes to your business’s financial activity, accuracy is important because it is not just a simple number crunching. However, your keen eyes may not always take notice of payroll irregularities and because you’ve put so much trust in the people in charge, you become oblivious to the fact that something is not right. Payroll fraud is very common these days. The execution may be different but it all boils down to the same intention. Being complacent is not an option especially if you run a business with hundreds of employees. You just cannot afford to ignore erroneous entries on payroll reports especially if this has taken place numerous times. When payroll fraud takes place, undoing things can be such a painful and costly process.

5 signs you need to put a stop to fraudulent payroll activity:

1. Sharing logins with other employees.

The information in your payroll system should be treated with confidentiality. This is the reason logins are created. However, if your employees are sharing logins or using obsolete logins, this activity is already questionable. Make sure you have the payroll staff delete your old login to ensure that no one will use it. If you suspect that someone is trying to access your account, request a password reset. 

2. A drastic change in regular masterfile.

It is also a cause for alarm if you see the masterfile changing information at a rapid rate. This should be investigated especially if the essential information such as bank details is not what you hoped for. If changes need to be made, they have to be subject for the manager’s approval.

3. Access to payroll system outside business hours.

When payroll cut-off is getting near, you feel as though there is so little time but so much work to do. If someone in the payroll department attempts out of hours access without your permission, this activity may already be in question. If your payroll staff needs to access the payroll system outside business hours, it needs to be audited.

4. Increasing numbers of casual employees.

There are companies that may often have more casual employees than regular ones and even though this is not a tell-tale sign of fraudulent activity, casual workforce is often used to execute payroll fraud. It is important that you pay more attention to your business if the percentage of casual employees is much higher than your regular employees.

5. Inconsistent payroll reports.

You should also be suspicious if there are some obvious discrepancies in the payroll reports. These reports often undergo extensive scrutiny before they are finalized and if this process is by passed, then you know that something is just not right. It is best to outsource someone that can check the reports on a monthly or quarterly basis. More serious problems such as payroll fraud can be effectively avoided this way.

Payroll fraud needs to be taken seriously as it creates a serious impact on your business. If you suspect an employee engaging in fraudulent activity, do not hesitate to conduct further investigation. Payroll fraud prevention lies in your hands. While you cannot immediately put a lid on the problem, you can prevent more serious issues from happening when you monitor payroll activities closely.

­ Questions? Give Andrew a call 0450 605 592

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