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  • #1006490
    meredith
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    It really does depend on whether you’re based in a metropolitan area or a regional centre.

    The rates I’ve been able to charge for providing bookkeeping services in Gosford vs Sydney for example are *significantly* lower. Despite my qualifications and 20 years experience as a CPA, getting much more than $50 p/h is a big ask.

    Same deal with my consulting rates.

    This made it particularly difficult when I employed bookkeepers in my business, as what I needed to pay them vs charge them out for left next to no margin for me.

    I used to be part of a bookkeeping franchise and was constantly surprised by how much my city based colleagues were charging!

    Meredith

    #1006491
    beancounter
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    As we say to our clients” “You can go to a fast food restaurant and get a hamburger and chips for $7.00 or you can go to a posh restaurant and get a hamburger and chips for $30.00

    What’s the difference? They are both hamburger and chips. I]tablecloth, waiter service, ambience etc[/I

    Does that stop the posh restaurant from selling their food at the higher rate? – No, they attract a different type of clientelle from the fast food restaurant.

    If you sell yourself short, then perhaps you need to think about the difference between price and cost – we do not cut rates to suit the client – if they want our services they pay the rates we ask – simple. Just like the posh restaurant

    #1006492
    David Mallory
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    Just came across this oldish forum but thought I would contribute anyway.

    Hourly rate calculation for any professional or tradie is always a difficult thing to compare. While it is wise to be cognisant of what the competition is charging it is IMPERATIVE that you know what your own costs are and calculate your own BREAK EVEN POINT. If your hourly rate is below this YOU WILL LOSE MONEY. If you consistently charge at your Break Even rate you will survive (as the economists say “cēterīs paribus”). Above the BE Point you will be making money….YEAH!!!! Once you know your BE Point you must charge at least that each and every time. Just because someone else is charging say $35 per hour that does not mean that you can because their fixed costs, variable costs and desired annual income are very likely to be quite different to yours. Google Break Even Point and you should get lots of references on how to calculate it……..but then again I would hope that as a bookkeeper you will already have that knowledge and training without having to search for how to do it!

    Also remember that if you try to match or better the rate being charged by others you risk a price war and the only people who win those are the liquidators.

    Never be ashamed of your price if you have been honest to yourself in your calculations.

    Target your offering at that section of the business community that is prepared to pay you what you are worth.

    That’s all

    David
    Biztelligence

    #1006493
    TrishH
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    This is a very interesting topic – I am currently going out on my own as a contractor in the southern suburbs of Sydney. After discussing this with others in the industry, I’m intending to charge $50 an hour, which I think is a reasonable rate for a qualified and experienced bookkeeper. The going rate as an employee is around $30 – $35, so by the time you add on Super, holidays & the other costs involved I think $50 is about right. I know that in the Eastern suburbs its more like $70.

    Mind you, I don’t have any clients yet – any takers?!!

    #1006494
    Alan Maddick
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    We charge $85 per hour. (and have a lot of bookkeeping work backed up!) remember while circa $50/hr may have been ok a couple of years ago now that you have to be a registerd bas agent and run full QC over all of your work fees need to change.

    I still find most bookeepers are underqualified and underexperienced, if this is not you then charge properly for your work, IMO true bookeeping and not just basic data entry should be charged out between $75-$140 /h

    #1006495
    Carol
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    MYOB, post: 5855 wrote:
    Hi Brisbane Bookkeeper,

    It does not matter too much, but I wanted to point out that presently, there is actually no such thing as a “registered BAS Service Provider”.

    It suggests that the ATO maintains a registry of BAS Service Providers, which at the moment it does not.

    Perhaps when you first signed up for the BAS portal, you saw the word ‘register’, this was an oversight on the part of the ATO.

    I just want to highlight this to you to ensure you and other bookkeepers don’t promote themselves as ‘registered’.

    Down the track there will likely be a register.

    You are better off doing what Darren has done – simply refer to yourself as a BAS Service Provider.

    What rate should a bookkeeper charge?

    What rate should a doctor charge themselves at?

    It is such a hard question to answer, what rate can your market take? What is your experience? What is your speed? What areas/industries are you expert in? What do you bring to the business?

    I am surprised with Darren’s qualifications he is not charging more.

    Your original question what would I pay for a good bookkeeper – personally I would only get them to do data entry – I would do the review-analysis-BAS- MMR reports myself – I would therefore only pay $25 an hour.

    There is a register on the tpb website that all registered BAS Agents are listed…

    #1006497
    Alan Maddick
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    meredith s, post: 18007 wrote:
    This made it particularly difficult when I employed bookkeepers in my business, as what I needed to pay them vs charge them out for left next to no margin for me.

    Meredith

    This is exactly the problem, while $50 seems ok for a sole trader operating out of home it is just not realistic once you have staff, overheads and systems and need to make a profit.

    #1006498
    Mat_G
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    Hi everyone,

    I’m keen to start doing bookkeeping work (as a sole-trader) in my spare time (I’m in Melbourne btw). I’ve been considering an appropriate hourly rate to charge at, as well as what services I realistically could provide clients.

    I have an accounting degree and have worked in the profession for just over a year. Previously, I did both a three-day course & then a more in-depth TAFE course in MYOB. Ideally, I intend to offer services including:

    – Data Entry (obviously)
    – BAS Preparation & lodgement
    – Monthly General Ledger adjustments (where necessary)
    – Bank reconcilliations
    – KPI analysis (i.e., utilising relevant accounting ratios)

    Would anybody be able to help give me an idea as to an appropriate hourly rate, given the above?

    With regards to being a BAS agent, I have an ATO digital certificate that is useable from my work computer…I assume I’d need to apply for an AUSkey to lodge BAS forms online for clients from my home office, for example. Is this correct?

    Thanks :)

    #1006499
    beancounter
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    Hi Mat_G

    Congratulations on your new venture

    Some accountants get really ticked off when we say this – others agree totally:

    Being an experienced /qualified accountant does not necessarily make someone automatically a good bookkeeper!

    Just as a being an experienced qualified builder does not make you a qualified carpenter, and visa versa.

    Twelve months is nowhere near enough experience to set yourself up as a freelance bookkeeper – ask any experienced freelance bookkeeper and they’ll tell you that it takes at least three years before you’re ready to go out in the trenches on your own.

    You’d help your clients more by working under the guidance of experienced freelance bookkeepers – We’ve come behind bookkeepers that are fresh out of TAFE and still have no idea about bookkeeping in the real world

    Bookkeeping is the LIFE BLOOD of a small business – those business owners rely on their bookkeepers – just as you rely on an experienced surgeon operating on you in hospital. How would you feel to be in surgery being operated by a fresh young inexpereinced surgeon working on their own?

    The new Tax Agents legislation recognises this to an extent, asking for a minimum of 1100 hours experience (what ever that means – yet to be fully explained)

    We hear too many horror stories form clients who’ve had inexperienced bookkeepers and it’s cost them time, money and stress.

    Just because you have an ATO digital certificate does not mean that you are legally qualified to lodge BAS forms for your clients at home – unless you want to risk the $20k fine

    Regardless of your experience / qualifications you’ll need to register as a BAS Agent – see http://www.tpb.gov.au

    For more information we suggest our EBook – Secrets To Finding Bookkeeping Clients

    Maybe contact some local accountants offices and see if they’ll take you on to gain some more bookkeeping experience – they may pay around $25/hr depending on your bookkeeping skills

    #1006500
    Mat_G
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    Hello Beancounter,

    Rest assured there is no way I would risk a $20,000 fine by lodging BAS / IAS’s illegally! I would at most help produce figures / GST reports necessary for a BAS / IAS to be lodged by keeping a client’s books (their accountant can lodge the BAS’s). Each business of course though is different – i.e., aside from the typical sales/purchases/wages, some will have a PAYG Instalment (T7) amount, while others may even have fuel tax credits (7D) to take into account.

    Anyway, I’ve found at work that, after a little while, I’ve been able to lodge BAS’s for clients without assistance (even if the more involved jobs are double-checked just to be certain), as once you become familiar enough with the process it is far from difficult.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is how expensive lodging a BAS can be (from both the client & the accountant’s perspectives) when we need to do the bookkeeping for a given quarter. From the client’s perspective, they are paying accountant rates (albeit not ‘top’ rate) for work a bookkeeper could do. From the accountant’s perspective, there’s no doubt that if a bookkeeper did this work, it would save them plenty of time. While they wouldn’t bill the client for bookkeeping-type services, the accountants (especially seniors) could allocate more time to higher-end work.

    I appreciate the link regarding BAS Agent requirements. I have satisfied the 1400 hours relevant work experience, though it’s quite likely I would need to take that GST/BAS principles course (via distance learning), unless I could prove it isn’t necessary.

    As for bookkeeping itself, I am fully aware that it’s the life blood of a business. I actually feel that my understanding of accounting principles would hold me in good stead, as it generally enables one to understand how information should be entered in a client’s set of accounts. A combination of understanding accounting theoretically and knowing how to perform the required functions using accounting software like MYOB is IMO ideal, as well as learning and understanding as much as possible about the business and the environment it operates in (regarding analysis of information & KPI’s). I guess the key for me would be not to ‘bite off more than I can chew’, in terms of what services I promote. I’d also endeavour to communicate with the accountant with regards to what they would like me to do & what ought to be left to them.

    As a matter of fact, I have purchased / read a copy of your e-book. I too have heard a couple of horror stories from accountant-friends of mine – plenty of bookkeepers don’t even know their debits from their credits apparently. And one bookkeeper apparently tried to process all of the transactions through payroll!

    By the way, I have encountered the situation where I was faced with a large pile of invoices. I found that what was necessary to deal with it without panicking was to segregate the invoices by the month and, despite the limited desk-space, I had absolutely no problems. And I was using Quickbooks, which I’ve had zero training in, rather than MYOB :)

    #1006501
    Ahni
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    SmallBusinessWorks, post: 46362 wrote:
    This is exactly the problem, while $50 seems ok for a sole trader operating out of home it is just not realistic once you have staff, overheads and systems and need to make a profit.

    Hi Alan, I’m trading in the south eastern suburbs and I’m finding that many business owners can’t afford to pay $50. I’m starting to find myself short, I’m a BAS Service Provider and have beening doing book work for the past 4 years but I became part of a franchise in 2009. This year I’m hoping to recruit 2 bookkeepers to help me, how much should I pay my team members and do I employ them as casuals? I don’t normally lock Clients into contract t but if i were to place two bookkeepers is this what you would normally do? Any advise would be much appreciated.

    #1006502
    SOS Onsite Admin
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    Ok I have a question, I hear so many people banter over it.

    What is the difference between a real world bookkeeper and one who is fresh out of tafe?

    Is it one that has never seen a business running before or understand what is going on? or how to put things into practice.

    I have finished a cert 4 last year but have been part of small business and understanding all about it for most of my life (parents small business), then different roles, what does this make me?

    I still read the ato website and many others to ensure everything I do is current. I speak with accountants on a frequent basis to ensure I am doing right by their clients. I still undertake training to stay current.
    I see other bookkeepers where I live say they are better than me but I don’t know how. I know more of what is going on then they do and don’t like it when I correct them and tell them the info is from Tax agents, CPA’s etc.

    One recently I found didn’t tell ANY of his clients to confirm from their accountants how much electricity they can claim from their home based business. (a simple example).

    I don’t claim my rates are too low and my study is continuous. My rate is currently $40 per hour which cover my costs and allow money for me quite well. It will go up soon but I am happy with this rate and so are my clients who are many of them starting out.

    #1006503
    BagsLady
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    any ‘good’ book keeper in melbourne? my experience with my previous book keeper was terrible!!!

    #1006504
    BBS
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    BagsLady, post: 62820 wrote:
    any ‘good’ book keeper in melbourne? my experience with my previous book keeper was terrible!!!

    Deb Roberts
    BACS Bookkeeping Pty Ltd
    North Essendon
    03 9379 2866
    http://www.bacsbookkeeping.com.au

    No she is not a relative or friend, and she is very good at what she does.

    Cheers.

    #1006505
    Dardee
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    I just thought I would bring this back to life as this is a continually asked question “what should I charge?”. Even today at the Sydney ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) Conference the question was raised. There is no hard and fast rule and each person/business will charge something different and structure their rates according to their business model. Its just like any other industry.

    I will say one thing though, cheap rates these days are few and far between. And if you are employing staff/subcontractors in your bookkeeping business then there is definitely no way you can be charging low. I charge a decent rate and provide a quality service. My training rate for instance is a lot higher than my normal bookkeeping rate. Do client’s complain, No. They get great service and don’t mind paying for that quality.

    Provide a quality service and charge appropriately and you won’t have any dramas.

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