Small business BAS and GST checklist

Every three months SME owners start to sweat, get anxious and panic. Why? It’s BAS and GST time. But, you don’t need to panic if you follow four simple tips.

In my opinion, the panic most business owners get into over BAS and GST could be alleviated if there was a streamlined set of rules to make lodgement a no-brainer.

The deadlines are set well in advance and the GST has been around for a decade, so the panic business owners feel comes down to process rather than a deadline.

Simply, many SME owners have no set process to make BAS preparation, review and lodgement simple and accurate.

Here are four tips to take the stress out of BAS and GST preparation.

READ: Managing BAS and GST

1. Manual may be cheaper, but it’s far more expensive in the long run

Whilst we love a good spreadsheet and vlookup, we find business owners tend to run very basic excel tracking tools which often do not give the right GST calculations.

Remember, not everything you buy necessarily attracts GST.

So, if the spreadsheet is incorrect and source documents need to be reviewed, this can cost you a lot of time and a lot of money when you bring in a professional BAS or tax agent to unravel the mystery.

2. A great accounting system is a godsend (if used correctly)

For many business owners and startups, they view accounting software as an expense – but that’s the wrong way to look at it.

In fact, software can become a necessary tool for your business and make sure that your numbers are all correct.

It can also become a great time-saver – and what business owner doesn’t want to save time?

MYOB Essentials has a great range of cost effective software solutions for business owners – and the GST reporting is all in-built (plus so many more features).

It eliminates the need for manual spreadsheets, reducing the likelihood of human error.

3. Invest in training

While we love accounting software, it’s only as good as the user inputting the data.

If you want to take charge and lodge your BAS each quarter, we love the enthusiasm, but we’d highly recommend a training session to make sure your fervour doesn’t turn into sour grapes.

It’s about understanding the software and making sure it’s set up correctly.

That way transactions are allocated correctly, and you’re using the software in the most effective way.

Accurate GST reporting should flow through if you’re inputting and allocating transactions correctly.

Do things right, and you’ll only do them once.

4. Processes will save your sanity

Checklists can be boring and time-consuming to create, but they can save you so much time by guiding you through the BAS process.

A checklist could tell you the things to look for, and guide you in doing the right things before you lodge your BAS to the ATO.

Wouldn’t that save a lot of time, stress and anxiety?

Checklists are a tool that professional BAS and tax agents use regularly. After all, we can prepare anywhere up to 50 BAS statements per quarter, and there’s no way we could accomplish that feat without some kind of process.

Here’s the checklist I use in preparing BAS statements available for download [PDF].

READ: Preparing your BAS and GST for end of financial year

Numbers don’t have to be scary and GST shouldn’t cause anxiety.

Setting up the right online accounting software systems and processes and having reliable, qualified help ensures your BAS and GST tasks are done with accuracy and ease.

It’s never too late to set your business up for financial success.