Home Forums Money matters Stupid Question on book keeper versus accountant

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  • #970267
    Hannah@AudreyBlue
    Member
    • Total posts: 5

    Hi all

    I am new to developing my small business and have a really stupid question: what is the difference between a book keeper and an accountant and how should I use each?

    I have a basic understanding of the financial accounts but know that I need to engage the professionals. How do others use their book keepers and accountants? How much do they cost? Can any one recommend book keepers or accountants for a micro business in Canberra?

    Thank you

    Hannah

    #1043387
    Anonymous
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,465

    hi

    this hopefully will explain it for you…

    http://www.freebase.com/view/en/bookkeeping

    but then some book keeping and accounting firms services can do both for you.

    #1043388
    Kate.H
    Member
    • Total posts: 2
    Hannah@AudreyBlue, post: 52801 wrote:
    Hi all

    I am new to developing my small business and have a really stupid question: what is the difference between a book keeper and an accountant and how should I use each?

    I have a basic understanding of the financial accounts but know that I need to engage the professionals. How do others use their book keepers and accountants? How much do they cost? Can any one recommend book keepers or accountants for a micro business in Canberra?

    Thank you

    Hannah

    Hi Hannah

    A bookkeeper is responsible for setting up an accounting system, sometimes with an accountants help and usually using a program such as MYOB or quickbooks. A bookkeeper will then record transactions in this system and should produce management reports, as well as undertaking other admin functions if required by the business owner (such as payment of accounts, training, filing etc – the list is endless). Bookkeepers who are registered can also lodge BAS. A bookkeeper can work onsite at your business, or work remotely from their office. Bookkeepers usually charge from $35 – $80 / hour. A “cheap” bookkeeper may be okay, but please be aware that if there are problems and work needs to be redone, a cheap bookkeeper can be very expenseive indeed! A good bookkeeper will give you significant savings in accountancy fees.

    An accountant will use the information provided by the bookkeeper to prepare income tax returns and financial statements and provide other strategic advice, such as structuring. Again the list is endless as to the services provided. Accountants charges vary significantly, but will usually average around $110 – $140 / hour – this takes into account the charge out rates of $80 for a trainee up to $300 plus for a partner.

    Hope this explains things a bit. If you are looking for an off-site bookkeeper, please contact me as I would be more than happy to help.

    Kate Harris
    B Bus CPA
    affinitybusiness@internode.on.net

    #1043389
    The Copy Chick
    Member
    • Total posts: 963

    Generally bookkeepers don’t need any official training – many small business owners can manage their own bookkeeping, however those trading as professionals may take on further studies for a more comprehensive understanding of the subject.

    Accountants generally need to undertake much more rigorous training and education and their expertise can cover a much broader range of financial services including taxation and compliance issues.

    Think of it this way: an accountant can do all bookkeeping tasks, but a bookkeeper can’t necessarily do all accounting tasks (although they can prepare your work so you accountant doesn’t need to spend so long on it).

    If your business needs are fairly straightforward, you may only require a bookkeeper and that’s probably the best place to start – they can probably advise whether you need the services of an accountant.

    You can also check Google for bookkeepers who have accreditations or belong to associations. Generally ongoing training is required to maintain these accreditations or memberships, so you’ll usually find someone who’s fairly reputable this way.

    Cheers,
    Anna

    #1043390
    Anonymous
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,465

    sorry for hogging the thread..

    Kate.H, post: 52828 wrote:
    Hi Hannah

    A bookkeeper is responsible for setting up an accounting system, sometimes with an accountants help and usually using a program such as MYOB or quickbooks. A bookkeeper will then record transactions in this system and should produce management reports, as well as undertaking other admin functions if required by the business owner (such as payment of accounts, training, filing etc – the list is endless). Bookkeepers who are registered can also lodge BAS. A bookkeeper can work onsite at your business, or work remotely from their office. Bookkeepers usually charge from $35 – $80 / hour. A “cheap” bookkeeper may be okay, but please be aware that if there are problems and work needs to be redone, a cheap bookkeeper can be very expenseive indeed! A good bookkeeper will give you significant savings in accountancy fees.

    Kate Harris
    B Bus CPA
    affinitybusiness@internode.on.net

    By this explanation my wife should be at the higher end of the scale LOL.
    (currently unpaid and been doing these things for 21 years where applicable ie bas only started in 2000.) she organises the BAS, wages, reconciles the accounts, organises the insurance, organised business to meet state regs.

    hhmmm pity she cant get a job that actually pays (maybe she will after she does the last 4 subjects of her course)..

    #1043391
    StellarScott
    Member
    • Total posts: 239

    A book keeper looks at your feet… an accountant looks at their own :)

    There’s a great couple of articles under finance on the home page about what to look for in an accountant or book keeper.

    When running a micro business you need a switched on book keeper who will answer your questions and not turn the clock on for every accountant like the accountant probably will. Business savvy book keepers will offer a package deal dependent on your business needs.

    As for me I just like feet

    #1043392
    Hannah@AudreyBlue
    Member
    • Total posts: 5

    Hi all

    Thank you for your very helpful replies — it certainly clarified things and made things a lot less scary!

    On a completely unrelated note, Anna (from Copy Chick), I checked out your website and it looks fantastic. I notice that you got it designed by Magic Dust? What are they like? Would you recommend them?

    Best wishes to all…

    Hannah

    #1043393
    The Copy Chick
    Member
    • Total posts: 963
    Hannah@AudreyBlue, post: 52910 wrote:
    On a completely unrelated note, Anna (from Copy Chick), I checked out your website and it looks fantastic. I notice that you got it designed by Magic Dust? What are they like? Would you recommend them?

    Hi Hanna – glad you like the site (feel free to recommend it to everyone you know..!! (heh heh)), I think they did a pretty good job too.

    I’ve sent you a PM about Magicdust.

    Cheers,
    Anna

    #1043394
    Dardee
    Member
    • Total posts: 430

    I just wanted to clear up a few things.

    The Copy Chick, post: 52830 wrote:
    Generally bookkeepers don’t need any official training – many small business owners can manage their own bookkeeping, however those trading as professionals may take on further studies for a more comprehensive understanding of the subject.

    This is incorrect. To be a registered BAS Agent (which all bookkeepers need to be to work with clients with GST transactions) they need a minimum Cerificate IV in Financial Services. The difference between a good bookkeeper with experience and qualifications and one that doesn’t is huge.

    The Copy Chick, post: 52830 wrote:
    Accountants generally need to undertake much more rigorous training and education and their expertise can cover a much broader range of financial services including taxation and compliance issues.

    This is true in part. It depends what you class as an accountant? To prepare tax returns as a Tax Agent and operate a practice you just need to satidfy the ATO’s requirements for Tax Agents. But if you wish to have an “accounting practise” with one of the accounting bodies then you need to have the required tertiary qualifications and have undertaken their own learning programs to obtain the required membership level.

    But, similar requirements are in place for some of the bookkeeping associations (eg Institute of Certified Bookkeepers).

    The Copy Chick, post: 52830 wrote:
    Think of it this way: an accountant can do all bookkeeping tasks, but a bookkeeper can’t necessarily do all accounting tasks (although they can prepare your work so you accountant doesn’t need to spend so long on it

    If your business needs are fairly straightforward, you may only require a bookkeeper and that’s probably the best place to start – they can probably advise whether you need the services of an accountant.).

    True that accountants can do all bookkeeping tasks (if they wanted do) and that bookkeepers don’t normally have the knowledge to do all the accounting functions (depends if your including tax in here).

    I would advise EVERY person in business no matter what the structure to have a good accountant. Without one you are playing with fire and there is a good chance that you are doing yourself a disservice come tax time.

    The Copy Chick, post: 52830 wrote:
    You can also check Google for bookkeepers who have accreditations or belong to associations. Generally ongoing training is required to maintain these accreditations or memberships, so you’ll usually find someone who’s fairly reputable this way.

    Agree 100%. Use a bookkeeper who is with a professional association which means that they are required to undertake ongoing training. This ensures they are up to date with the latest regulations.

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