Accountant Working At The Office
06-May-2021 By - team

Every small business needs a good bookkeeper. Regardless of size, any company’s finances can quickly get complicated, and it’s the bookkeeper’s job to ensure efficient accounting and tax compliance. If you’re a small business owner, you may very well want one on your team as soon as possible, whether you employ them directly or hire a freelancer.

However, what is it that makes a bookkeeper? How can you make sure that your accounts are being properly taken care of so you don’t have to worry about the business’s finances? Here, we’re going to look at four of the top qualities you should be looking for and how you can better identify them when choosing your bookkeeper.

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Professional expertise

It should go without saying that a bookkeeper knows how to do their job. This involves organising and maintaining your accounts and being familiar with tax laws, and doing their utmost to keep your tabs compliant with them. A good bookkeeper has a few technical skills that can help make their job a lot easier and save you time and money, as well.

For instance, the use of accounting software like Xero can help them process and organise accounts much more quickly, improve the recording of transactions, speed up invoicing, improve your payroll system, create purchase orders and produce reports on your accounts with ease. A bookkeeper who is well-versed with bookkeeping software is going to be able to do much more for you in much less time.

Conscientious advice-giving

In the best of times, bookkeepers can ensure that your accounts are being streamlined and kept as effectively and efficiently as possible. They can make the business’s financial side much easier to handle, saving you time so you can focus on the more essential things. However, a good bookkeeper is also able to give good, honest advice in times of adversity.

This means that they take the time to get to know your business, your products, services, customers, and structure, as well as the potential risks your business can face. This means in turbulent times that could see your business in some financial peril, a bookkeeper can offer information on what measures you can take to get the books back in good health.

Experience and service

Your perfect bookkeeper should be perfectly ready to work under their initiative. Not all business owners are accounting experts, after all, and a bookkeeper can help you quickly fill the gaps in your knowledge. Having experience recording income and expenses, getting BAS correct, working with the ATO and more is essential. It means you don’t have to constantly micromanage them and worry about whether they’re performing their role correctly.

On the other hand, a bookkeeper with good customer service and an emphasis on accessibility means that you’re able to get reports, advice, and information on your accounts whenever you need them. For instance, your bookkeeper should be able to work seamlessly with your accountant so that they’re always aware of what they’re doing and what value they’re providing the business.

Efficiency

The bookkeeper’s duties are numerous. They may be working on five or fifteen projects at any one time. A good understanding of their productivity and the ability to manage their workflow is crucial. To that end, some bookkeeping teams, like the Bookkeeper Hub, use tools like WorkflowMax to ensure that productivity and efficiency are always held as a top priority.

The proper time management ensures that your bookkeeper makes a noticeable difference by completing projects on time while also ensuring that each project gets the one-to-one attention it needs, allowing them to be as detail-oriented as they need to be without wasting hours on inefficient working practices.

Are you choosing the right bookkeeper for you?

Hopefully, the points above serve as a starting point when you’re looking for a bookkeeper. A good fit for the business and the team is essential, too, but that’s something that you both have to work on together. The fundamental skills and traits your bookkeeper needs are shown above, so make sure you keep an eye out for them.

A good bookkeeper can help you stay compliant with tax laws, ensuring there’s a slight risk to your business as possible while taking away the strain of managing those accounts yourself.

Does My Small Business Need an Accountant or a Bookkeeper?

Many business owners don’t fully understand the distinction between accounting and bookkeeping, but it’s vital to know they’re not the same thing. And this matters because, to understand whether your business needs an accountant or a bookkeeper, you need to know the difference between the two.

We’re going to take a look at what it means to balance your finances effectively and how you can make a decision between choosing an accountant and a bookkeeper. So read on to find out more.

Managing Your Business Finances

Your business’s early mistakes in financial planning and organisation can linger over the company for a long time afterwards. Long-term reporting issues have long consequences, and inefficient processes can be hard to change once they’ve been established.

Nevertheless, it’s vital to ensure your business does everything it can to manage its finances healthily and sustainably. Failing to do so will lead to problems later on, but it’s hard to get it right if you don’t have the right professionals in place taking care of the accounts. And that leads us to our next area of discussion.

What’s the Difference Between an Account and a Bookkeeper?

As we’ve established, there are essential differences between an accountant and a bookkeeper. It’s important to understand these differences if you’re going to make the right next move. A bookkeeper is someone your business hires to come on board and manage the books and the data they contain. They have to stay on top of the business’s transactions, keep records up to date and track expenses and income. A bookkeeper will also take care of routine tasks such as invoicing and payroll.

For many small businesses, accountants take care of many of the duties usually taken care of by bookkeepers. But it’s usually the case that accountants oversee the bookkeepers and track their work. There’s also a range of other tasks that typically fall under the accountant’s purview, such as billing, reviewing accounts payable activity and ledger entries. They also usually prepare for taxes, manage cash flow, and generally oversee their financial health.

So Which Option is Best for You?

If you’re looking to reconfigure how your business’s financial systems are managed completely, it might be a good idea to put an entirely new team in place. When you do this, it’ll more than likely include a bookkeeper and an account that oversees them as their senior within the accounting department.

Suppose you’re looking for someone to work alongside an accountant or account service you already have in place. In that case, it might be better for you to look for a new bookkeeper or a bookkeeping service, depending on your priorities and what you’re looking to achieve.

Hiring an In-House Team

There are costs and benefits associated with hiring someone to come into your team from the outside. Hiring a new person means overseeing their work directly in the office, but it’s often a much more costly approach than the alternatives, and it tends to be a less efficient option.

Hiring people is time-consuming and costly, whereas using outsourced services can enable your business to outsource your bookkeeping or accounting needs to a whole team of qualified professionals at a much lower cost. If you don’t feel as if your business is currently in a position where it would be wise to add a new member of staff to your team, this is certainly something to consider.

Using Professional Training Services

If you have a team in place, but you simply want to improve or upgrade their bookkeeping skills, we can help to make that happen. Offering them new skills via carefully crafted training courses is a great way to ensure your business’s bookkeeping approach is the right one without having to spend a considerable sum of money.

With those extra skills and talents, your team will reduce the amount of accounting and bookkeeping mistakes that are made and ensure your business can deal with all of the financial challenges that arise successfully.

If you think your business would benefit from a professional bookkeeping training service, you shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at The Bookkeeper Hub. We’ll help you start taking back control and getting your small business’s finances where you want them to be going forward.

5 Tips to Keep Your Bookkeeping Up-to-date

Whether you want to ensure that your books are always accurate, always ready to help you deliver financial insights about the business, or you want to make sure that you’re well prepared for the arrival of the taxman, up-to-date bookkeeping is essential.

You don’t want to go through the severe crunch leading up to tax season, where a rush to update your books can lead to stress and, even worse, mistakes with your finances. For that reason, here are some critical tips on up-to-date bookkeeping to keep in mind.

Make it routine

To ensure that you’re not falling behind, the simplest solution is to schedule a time that you’re going to sit and manually update your books. Set aside a block of time every week (we recommend before lunch since that’s when most of us are fresh and ready to get started) or a day of every month to update all of your books. 

This also offers an excellent opportunity to see how your cash flow is changing from month to month and to keep better track of invoices that haven’t been paid yet so that you can chase up your clients when you need to.

Organisation is crucial

 

Whether you’re keeping paper or digital copaccounting-explainedies, you must know where the details you need are when it comes time to update your books or if you need to justify them. This includes keeping books, invoices, petty cash accounts and receipts organised by month so that it’s easier to hunt down specific details when you need them. You should keep separate storage for receipts and invoices that haven’t been integrated into your bookkeeping yet. 

Otherwise, it’s easy to miss factoring them in, leading to mistakes down the line. We recommend keeping both papers and digital copies, with one of those digital copies of your records, held on the Cloud so that you still have backups to rely on if you lose the old manuscripts. Scanning your paper documents can make them much easier to manage.

Take the time to reconcile your books.

As part of your routine, you should ensure that you’re matching the information in your books to the transactions as seen in your bank account. This can be an excellent way to make sure that your books are accurate and to prompt an investigation when they don’t match up. Ensure that your books account for invoices and ongoing bills that haven’t been paid in or out yet. It’s also wise to make sure that you keep a separate business account from your account, so it’s much easier to avoid getting mixed up on which expenditures are personal and for the business’s sake. Accounting software can even import bank statements directly to help you see where they do and don’t match up.

Make use of bookkeeping software.

You might think that you have an organised, effective system written down in your notepad and, for all that we know, that might be true. However, it’s far from the most efficient way to handle your books. Bookkeeping software like Xero isn’t just business-ready, but it also contains a slew of automated features that make a great deal of the work out of bookkeeping for you. If you’re uncertain about using the software you need, The Bookkeeper Hub offers video training sessions for Xero. Whether you want to know how to get started with the software as soon as possible or want a complete professional bookkeeper level of training, we can help you make the best use of the best software currently available.

Hire a bookkeeper

We’ve kept this tip for last because we know that many business owners will want to try everything they can to avoid spending money. The information above can help you more easily keep your books up to date on your own, but you might discover that you simply don’t have the time for it, and you want to focus your energy on improving and growing the business. Fully trained, Cloud-software connected bookkeepers can help not only ensure that your books are always kept up to date but can also reduce the amount of time you spend on bookkeeping by up to 95%.

If you want to make sure that your books are always fresh and up to date, The Bookkeeper Hub is here to help. Whether you want someone to take your bookkeeping off your hands as much as possible, or you want to learn how to efficiently and effectively manage it yourself, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Improving your business with better time management

Your ‘to-do’ list can often get so long that you feel you never get to put as much attention into every task as you would like. It can also mean more time in the office or dealing with work issues after-hours – cutting into your free time and affecting your work-life balance.

Applying these simple time management tips and tools will help you get the most out of your work time and get the more important stuff.

Track your time

Remember that tried and tested business adage: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”? Well, it applies to time management too. Without tracking your time, any attempt at improving time management will be a hit and miss affair. If you don’t track where and how you spend your time, you’ve got no way to measure your current time management or means to identify time wasters or tasks you could delegate.

Start by recording what you do each day and how long it takes you. This can be as simple or tech-savvy as you like – ranging from rough notes scribbled on a weekly timesheet to an Excel spreadsheet that will add up the minutes and hours for you. Alternatively, you can harness technology to do this for you.

Before you write off this idea, deciding that the amount of additional time you’ll waste tracking your time is not worth the effort, at least try out one of a range of paid-for and free time management tools that can help to make this task simpler. Some options include Harvest or Toggl, and most come with features that can be rolled out for overall staff time management and integrated into your billing.

Although there are benefits to monitoring and tracking how you use your time, you don’t have to. After a few weeks, you’ll have a good indication of what you spend most of your days, weeks and months doing. You might be surprised at the amount of time lost in meetings, doing things you could delegate, or on things you do out of habit rather than need.

Eliminate the time wasters

Armed with information about how you spend your time, you’ll be better able to eliminate unnecessary time wasters. Some common time wasters are:

  • Monitoring social media
  • Responding to emails
  • Fielding telephone calls
  • Drop-in visitors and salespeople
  • Meetings that go on longer than necessary

Jumping between tasks and reading and answering emails as they come in during the day can reduce your productivity. Set aside time to check and answer emails rather than letting them distract you from the task at hand.

Ask your staff to field telephone calls or take a message if you need uninterrupted time to focus on a task. Train staff not to allow salespeople in to see you without an appointment to avoid wasting your time listening to a sales pitch for office flowers or equipment you’re not thinking of buying.

There are several other ways to eliminate or manage time-wasters at work. Don’t have pop-up messages from social media accounts running while you’re trying to get the job done. Appoint a staff member to monitor certain business functions daily or weekly reports, rather than spending hours a week doing this task yourself.

Run meetings to a tight timetable. Draw up a plan and allow only a couple of minutes (yes, literally a minute or two) for each item on the agenda to avoid meetings becoming a social gathering and wasting the productive time of all those present.

Delegate appropriate tasks

Have a close look at your current workload and see if there are practical tasks you could delegate to others. Can you delegate some simple accounting functions, such as managing petty cash and reconciliations? What about general correspondence, sales and marketing tasks, product development, quality control, and more? Small businesses owners are generally notorious for their reluctance to delegate to believe that they do the job better. However, delegation can free up your valuable time, allowing you to focus on growing your business rather than spending all your time focusing on the day-to-day running of your business.

Draw up a list of tasks you could delegate and responsible staff who could take them over. Most employees want to develop in their jobs and would value the opportunity for added responsibility or the chance to learn new skills. Try not to fall into the trap of only delegating the jobs you don’t like doing – you want to free up as much time as possible to work more strategically and effectively and have time for that work-life balance.

Get organised

A little bit of time invested now in developing efficient systems for your business will save you a lot of time in the long run. Whether it’s time spent setting up a computerised accounting system or implementing a physical or virtual filing system so that you don’t waste time looking for paperwork or documents, setting up systems and getting organised can save you a lot of money.

If your time tracking indicates you spend a lot of time answering basic sales questions, you could, for example, save time by writing up some template responses that you (or an employee) could personalise in response to queries. Similarly, adding an FAQ page to your website could help to free up more of your time. Customer relationship management software can also save a lot of time and effort.

Suppose you’re no longer so busy running from one problem to the next in your business. In that case, you’ll probably be able to identify several ways you can work smarter rather than harder – and find ways to increase staff productivity too.

Draw up a prioritised ‘to make’ list

It’s easy to get sucked into the problem of the day – or the problem of the hour, in some businesses. This is where that ‘to-do list can help. A simple list of the tasks you need or hope to accomplish, together with a deadline, will help to keep you focused.

Ranking them in order of priority will ensure the most important tasks get done by the deadline and that jobs don’t fall off your radar and be forgotten. Ticking items off your to-do list can be surprisingly motivating, too.

Work to your productive times

It makes sense to work when you work best. We all have different cycles and preferences. If you’re a morning person and full of oomph and drive at the crack of dawn, but this time aside to tackle those big projects. Schedule more routine things or more minor creative tasks for the afternoon when you’re in your less-productive cycle. Avoid periodic production planning meetings during your most productive times.

If you’re not a morning person and don’t reach your form until after your second cup of coffee, get those routine tasks out of the way first thing in the morning, and then tackle the big projects, or schedule essential meetings for when you’ll be able to give it your very best.

Get the tools or help you need

If you expect your staff to work effectively and efficiently, you’ll need to provide them with the right tools to do the job. The same applies to you as the business owner. You can’t work efficiently if you don’t have the tools or skills (whether training or personnel) to do the job.

This does not justify you to dash out to buy an iPad2 if you don’t need it. However, it does mean you shouldn’t limp along wasting hours to do a job when investment in technology would mean you’d be able to be far more productive.

It’s usually a false economy trying to make do with outdated technology. If you’re unsure whether to invest in tools, software, training or staff, do a quick calculation of how much time it will save you, and then compare this with how much it will cost. Assuming your cash flow can accommodate the purchase, this cost-benefit analysis will quickly tell you whether investing in the tools or help you need is a financially sound decision for your business.

 

Guest post by : team Form -

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