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21st May, 2024

Tips for Hiring the Right Bookkeeper to Help You Prepare for EOFY

As the end of the financial year (EOFY) approaches, ensuring your financial records are accurate and up to date is essential for a smooth transition into the new fiscal year.

Whether you’re a new small business owner or a seasoned entrepreneur, having a reliable bookkeeper by your side can make all the difference in streamlining your EOFY preparations and maximising your financial efficiency.

Here, we explore some key tips for hiring the right bookkeeper to help you get ready for EOFY and set your business up for success in the year ahead. We’ll cover:

  • Defining your needs and objectives
  • Starting early
  • Looking for relevant experience and expertise
  • Verifying qualifications and credentials
  • Assessing communication and compatibility
  • Enquiring about technology and tools
  • Seeking recommendations and referrals
  • Reviewing rates

Define Your Needs and Objectives

Before you start searching for a bookkeeper, define your specific needs and objectives for EOFY preparation and beyond.

Are you looking for someone to handle day-to-day bookkeeping tasks, reconcile accounts, or prepare financial reports?

Do you need assistance with tax compliance, payroll processing, or budgeting?

Also, by clearly outlining your requirements and expectations upfront, you can narrow down your search and find a bookkeeper who aligns with your goals.

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Start Early

Next, don’t wait too long to find yourself a bookkeeper, as the EOFY will be here before you know it.

“Begin your quest now, engaging a bookkeeper’s services from May onwards,” says Pamela Taylor, the Founder & CEO of Greenspace Bookkeeping and 2023 MYOB Bookkeeping Partner of the Year.

“By giving them ample time to review your accounts and commence reconciliation work for the year, you’ll streamline the EOFY reconciliation process and alleviate stress for both you and your bookkeeper come June 30th.

“Additionally, early engagement allows for strategic tax planning with your accountant, ensuring there are no surprises when it comes to your tax position at year-end.”

Look for Relevant Experience and Expertise

When evaluating potential bookkeepers, it pays to prioritise candidates with relevant experience and expertise in your industry or niche.

Pam says, ‘While some bookkeepers specialise in niche areas, others may possess broader expertise.

“Regardless, it’s crucial to ensure your chosen bookkeeper understands the specifics of your industry. This ensures they can navigate any unique challenges or requirements relevant to your business sector effectively.”

GST mistakes

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Verify Qualifications and Credentials

When hiring a bookkeeper, verify their qualifications and credentials to ensure they have the necessary skills and expertise to meet your needs.

Look for candidates who are certified or accredited by reputable professional organisations.

Leanne Berry, Community Relations Manager (Partners) at MYOB says, “Bookkeepers who are BAS Agents are governed by legislation set out by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).

“They’re registered BAS Agents and are subject to minimum levels of qualification and ongoing learning and professional development. 

“This ensures their knowledge around complex legislation (such as GST, payroll and superannuation) is kept current.”

As such, be wary of hiring people who call themselves bookkeepers but who perhaps aren’t actually qualified to do so.

“Check that bookkeepers are part of a professional association like the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) or the Australian Bookkeepers Network (ABN),” Leanne suggests.

“Also, if you want them to be lodging or acting on your behalf with the ATO, they should have a BAS Agent Number to show they’re registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), just like a tax agent or accountant would be.”

“Plus,” she adds, “a requirement is to hold professional indemnity insurance, too. All these factors will help protect your business.”

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Assess Communication and Compatibility

Effective communication is key to a successful working relationship with your bookkeeper, especially during EOFY preparation when timely and accurate information is crucial.

When interviewing candidates, assess their communication skills, responsiveness, and willingness to listen to your concerns and address your questions.

Leanne says it’s all about having a good relationship with your bookkeeper.

“You need to feel comfortable with who you’re looking to engage with,’ she explains.

“As always, you get what you pay for, and it’s about a bookkeeper being able to talk to you and help educate you in the way that you need, that works for you.

“You should also pick someone who’s passionate about the clients they serve.”

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When selecting a bookkeeper, consider whether you feel comfortable discussing all sorts of confidential financial matters with them and whether their communication style aligns with your own.

Pamela suggests, “Discuss communication preferences, working processes, and expectations upfront to ensure alignment and minimise misunderstandings.”

Keep in mind that distance isn’t a factor these days, either.

“Your bookkeeper doesn’t have to be local to you anymore,’ Leanne says.

“These days, with online solutions like MYOB’s, professionals can be based anywhere in Australia to do their work. You don’t have to have someone sitting beside you to get tasks done.

“This ability to hire anyone Australia-wide can keep the costs down on travel and meetings.”

Enquire About Technology and Tools

In today’s digital age, technology plays a significant role in bookkeeping and financial management.

When hiring a bookkeeper, ask about the technology and tools they use to streamline processes, automate tasks, and ensure data accuracy.

Look for candidates proficient in accounting software such as MYOB, as well as other relevant tools for document management, expense tracking, and financial reporting.

Seek Recommendations and Referrals

You can also find a reliable bookkeeper through recommendations and referrals.

Ask fellow business owners, colleagues, or industry peers for recommendations.

Also, consider referrals from professional associations, networking groups, or online communities related to your industry.

Pamela suggests consulting your accountant for a recommendation.

“Many professionals in these fields have longstanding relationships, which can help,” she says.

“Using a bookkeeper recommended by your accountant not only ensures a smoothly reconciled set of accounts but also facilitates seamless communication between both experts and the provision of necessary documentation for tax returns, which spares you the headache of hunting down missing paperwork.”

Review Rates

Review bookkeeper fees to ensure they suit your budget. While cost shouldn’t be the sole determining factor, finding a bookkeeper who offers fair and transparent pricing for their services is crucial.

Ask about their fee structure, billing methods, and any additional charges for special services or overtime work.

Always clarify payment terms and expectations upfront to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes down the line.

Hiring the right bookkeeper is a critical step in preparing your business for EOFY and maintaining financial stability throughout the year.

Finally, with the right bookkeeper by your side, you can navigate EOFY preparation with confidence and peace of mind.

Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

MYOB is not a registered entity pursuant to the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) and therefore cannot provide taxation advice to clients. If you have a query concerning taxation including filing your BAS return or annual tax statements then you should consult with your accountant or other registered tax adviser.