A question that is replayed over and over again in initial discussions with clients, and also in ongoing work and meetings is, how do I get the most bang for my buck with you, my bookkeeper? And let us be honest, this is an important question for all small businesses and especially now.
One of my pet peeves when I take over a file is seeing money being wasted on tasks that needn’t be done or tasks that could have been automated. However, there is more than enough work out there for you to see the true value of a good bookkeeper and how to utilise their time best.
We spend so much time in the numbers of a business that we get to see trends that are evolving, or devolving, and can offer insights on a day-to-day basis as opposed to waiting for a quarterly or annual tax planning session. Being agile and adaptable in business is imperative now and knowing your numbers helps you make great decisions in the long run. And we would much rather be discussing things like cashflow and better practices than entering the 100th BP receipt to your accounting software.
Bringing great tools like Dext and Xero into your business life help with these automations so you really are getting the most value from your trusted professionals.
So here are my top 5 tips for getting the most value from your bookkeeper:
- Have your bookkeeper set up the file properly – including payroll
If you are new to business or have been on another accounting package, get your bookkeeper to oversee and manage the setup of the file for you. Don’t DIY this guy! They will know what to look for, how to set it up and how to tailor it for you, after some consultation of course. The few extra dollars you spend here will pay themselves back in dividends over time. Also engage them on a continuous basis to set up employees properly and deal with your superannuation payments. A time and headache saver! (We offer excellent set up packages that include training time – see pt. 2 – so please do ask).
- Get some training
If you are planning on doing some of the day-to-day tasks yourself to help with cashflow, make sure you get some proper training on how to do it. This will save hours in bookkeeping at the end of the quarter when they must go in and correct all your “good work” because it’s not been allocated correctly. I see this ALL THE TIME! With my own clients no less!! The savings they have made in the monthly bookkeeping invoices are completely undone come BAS time when we need to go in and correct the errors.
- Get a registered Agent onboard
Not only will you not have to find another person to lodge the BAS (like an accountant or yourself) but you will also be doing the compliant and best practice thing by have a properly registered agent on board who can help and advise around GST issues and do things like your JobKeeper lodgements and monthly PAYG Instalments. Registered agents also lodge online and receive an agent extension of 4 weeks for the BAS due date – so win-win for you.
- Submit your own receipts to Dext, code them and publish them to Xero (or at least some of this)
Better yet, ask your bookkeeper to set up some rules to save time every day for you. The simple act of submitting your receipts yourself instead of sending them via post or personal pick up/drop off, will shave hours of data entry time. And I mean hours. Anyone who is still painstakingly entering every bill manually has not realised the beauty of AI and automation.
- Last and definitely not least – communicate changes in the business promptly
This can be anything. Staff changes, structure changes, product changes, direction changes. I cannot even begin to list the times we have been working away and suddenly someone has come in and made major changes to the business that affects our workflow, and we have to spend hours making changes. This is just a simple business one, but so many people do not realise the ripple affect change can have through their systems.