19th June, 2021
Small business owners will lean on the expertise of their bookkeepers even more this end of this financial year. Here’s why.
Very few small business owners or sole traders set up an enterprise because they’re madly passionate about doing admin.
That’s where a bookkeeper can help.
Essentially, bookkeepers are financial record-keepers. They gather all your business’s day-to-day numbers – income and expenses – and record them in the right place in accounting software. They can organise your Single Touch Payroll and superannuation payments. And if they’re a registered BAS agent, they can prepare and lodge your Business Activity Statement.
A good bookkeeper lifts the admin burden, but they can also make your business more profitable by assisting with budgeting and cost savings, or suggesting ways to increase revenue. So what will make your bookkeeper an especially effective helper this year?
Australia’s 2020-21 Budget included an extension of the Instant Asset Write-off so you can buy equipment and write off the full cost against your tax in one financial year. It announced the JobMaker credit, which pays up to $200 weekly for businesses to hire an eligible young person. And the temporary tax loss carry back offset means companies making a loss during COVID-19 can claim a refund from tax paid in previous years.
The Australian Bookkeepers Network has a useful summary of measures from both the delayed 2020-21 Budget (Oct 6, 2020) and the 2021-22 Budget (May 11, 2021). The ATO’s Small Business newsroom is also useful for staying up to date.
Some COVID-19 support should be reported in your tax return. For example, if you’re a sole trader who received JobKeeper, it has to be included as business income. The cash flow boost may also have tax implications. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers has a comprehensive listing of COVID-19 supports.
A BAS is just one of many reports your business may need to lodge. There may also be a profit and loss statement, PAYG withholding, taxable payments annual report, a fringe benefits tax report and more. This is where a good bookkeeper shines. They’ll pull that information together and get it lodged with minimal stress.
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A great bookkeeper is always upskilling, staying abreast of rules and regulations and also keeping up to date with accounting software. They’ll ask questions to properly understand your business’s processes, then suggest ways to make them easier. They could set up bank feeds direct from your financial institution to your accounting software; create bank rules to automatically allocate transactions coming through bank feeds; or get you out of the paper habit to start using MYOB’s Capture app, or similar, to take an image of a receipt and send it straight through to your accounting software.
Invoice scams, where cybercriminals impersonate a legitimate supplier to demand payment, are particularly common around tax time, warns the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). They account for 63 percent of all business losses reported to Scamwatch. Both you and your bookkeeper should be on alert. Look at the ACSC’s Small Business Cyber Security Guide for more cybersecurity tips.
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