BAS Agent Registration & Your Bookkeeping Business

Anyone who has a bookkeeping business or is thinking about starting their own bookkeeping business in Australia needs to be aware of the changes to legislation to have registered BAS Agents who are then eligible to provide Business Activity Statement (BAS) services for a fee. The legislation is in the final stages and once it has been passed it will mean any bookkeeper wanting to provide BAS services for a fee, must be registered as a BAS agent or working under the supervision of a tax or BAS agent. This is causing some concern for bookkeepers who want to include BAS services as part of their standard bookkeeping services as most small business owners expect the bookkeeper to do all BAS related functions.

To comply with the legislation changes and become a registered BAS agent, a bookkeeper who has 1400 hours experience and a minimum qualification of a certificate IV Financial Services (Accounting) or a certificate IV Financial Services (Bookkeeping) can apply for registration.

For a bookkeeper in public practice, this is not a very high level of experience required to become registered. I also feel the added requirements of registration will improve the industry and make it more regulated to ensure a more professional standard of service to clients.

If you are a bookkeeper who does not meet the education requirements, do not be worried. There are other avenues for you to consider enabling your BAS agent registration. If you have your own bookkeeping business and do not have the minimum education qualification, there is a service provided by educational institutions and also the National Institute of Accountants which may be of use to you.

Recognition of prior Learning (RPL) is the process where by you submit examples of you work to meet the specific outcomes of a course. If you can prove with the examples that you have sufficient knowledge of the subject matter and meet the course outcomes, you can be awarded the qualification.

The RPL process means many bookkeepers in public practice with BAS and bookkeeping experience can apply for recognition of prior learning for the entire Certificate IV Financial Services (Accounting) or (Bookkeeping). If you can meet the course requirements you can gain the qualification without needing to undertake any study.

If you have your own bookkeeping business and do not have the relevant qualifications, utilizing this process can give you the qualification you need to become a registered BAS agent, which will ultimately assist you in running and growing your bookkeeping business.

How to Start a Bookkeeping Business – Do You Need Professional Indemnity Insurance?

If you are in the process of starting a bookkeeping business there are many aspects which you will need to consider. One of the most important insurances you will need to consider for your business is professional indemnity insurance. With out it you might be risking the long term future of your business.

As a service based business, you will be promoting your own professional services and know how to clients. If there is a time where your clients accuse you of substandard work which causes them a loss of some description, professional indemnity insurance is there to help you with this problem.

Historically, professional indemnity insurance for bookkeepers was quite expensive as this type of career choice was seen to be a risky profession. Additionally there was not a lot of choice in the market place for insurers who would even offer professional indemnity insurance and this also meant higher premiums. Consequently, many public practice bookkeepers did not either consider it, or after investigation, they ascertained it was too expensive for their small business.

Fortunately as times have changed and bookkeeping has become a recognized mainstream career choice, it is getting easier to obtain not only a cheaper premium, but there are also more insurers to choose from. In Australia in particular, with the introduction of goods and services tax (GST) in 2000, bookkeeping became widely recognized as many small business people looked for an in house bookkeeper for the first time. With this influx of requests for bookkeepers and more people seeing an opportunity with the relevant skills to start their own small bookkeeping business, professional indemnity insurance has seen a rise of interest and a reduction of premium cost.

If you are starting your own bookkeeping business, professional indemnity insurance can save your business from ruin if there is ever an issue or a time where you may need to make a claim. Since it is such a vital part of any bookkeeping business, it is important to look at different options to source a quote.

If you are a member of a professional association, and I mist admit I highly recommend this for many reasons, your professional body will most likely be able to offer a premium for its members. Many professional associations can provide low premiums due to bulk purchasing power and discounts offered by insurers for obtaining the associations business. If you are not a member of a professional association, you can always research which organizations they use and obtain an independent quote.

Be sure to obtain a number of quotes and look at each policy and assess them against your own needs. Policy prices these days are quite affordable and like any insurance will pay for itself many times over should you ever need to use it.

Start a Bookkeeping Business – How Easy is It?

Starting your own bookkeeping business is appealing to people for a number of reasons and it is quite easy if you find out exactly how to do it. It is a very low cost business to start up. You can start at home with just a small workspace, telephone and printer. It is also quite unregulated in many countries, which mean any one with some knowledge, and experience can use their expertise to start their own business.

Apart form a low cost start up, bookkeeping as a freelancer or contractor pays a lot more per hour than an employee gets per hour. This is a good way of increasing your hourly income with out too much effort. It does mean you need to attract clients and source your own contacts, but this can also be done cheaply with know how.

It will be important to price your services correctly as you need to cover your own insurance requirements and office costs, however with low overheads and an increased hourly rate it is possible for a good profitable business to be created quite easily.

It is also possible for you to continue with employment and work part time in your business. This will give you a sense of security still in paid employment until you have either the courage or the necessary client base to quit employment. This will also give you time to start building a client base or potential contacts prior to giving up paid employment.

Having a bookkeeping business is also popular as it can also be done around your own hours. You may find clients very flexible and accommodating of your working hours. You can work around your other commitments such as family or childrens activities.

Working solely from home is also possible with this type of business. Increasing technological advancements means people do not even need to walk into an office to do their work. There are issues with the source documentation from the business for a bookkeeper to undertake their duties, but this can be over come with couriers or post. Some small business operators only give the bookkeeper their bank statement with the items already pre coded and this prevents source documents being required.

Marketing your services will take time and you will learn some new skills. Marketing, advertising and sourcing clients will be important. Don’t discount the opportunities when you are talking with people to mention what you do. Many bookkeepers agree that word of mouth is their best source of clients.

One often overlooked opportunity is the business card. How many times have you been in a shop and they have needed to order something or contact you when an item arrives? Instead of just writing your name and number, give them a business card instead. It is amazing how many opportunities arise for you to do this. Even if they don’t need your service, someone who does might see your details.