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Want your bookkeeper to prepare & lodge your BAS? Better ask these 3 questions first!

So you have an awesome bookkeeper who keeps your business accounts super organised. S/he keeps on top of slow paying customers, reminds you to pay your bills, provides some pretty slick-looking reports and has those boring conversations with your accountant that you always avoid. Sounds like you’re onto a winner – good for you! Now you’ve decided to go one step further and you’re going to ask your bookkeeper to prepare and lodge your BAS on your behalf. Okay, well before you do, you’d better ask him/her these 3 key questions:

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8 bookkeepers you should follow on Twitter

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I’ve been a Twitter user for some years now and absolutely love it! I find Twitter to be a great source of information for my business and a wonderful way to meet other bookkeepers (and other connections too!). Because I’ve been on Twitter for a while now, I’ve been lucky enough to “meet” several fantastic bookkeepers who are exceptional in their field. These guys are very generous both in terms of sharing fantastic content and being very approachable on Twitter and because of this, I believe that you should follow them too. Here’s my list of awesome bookkeepers you should follow:

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How to use Dropbox with your bookkeeper

One of the most useful online apps I include in my “bookkeeper’s toolbox” is Dropbox. Dropbox allows users to upload and share files with others regardless of location. This is a wonderful tool considering most of my clients are interstate. What I find however, is that some clients use it successfully with me and others, well, not so much! Those who use it successfully follow a specific procedure and today I am going to share that procedure with you so that you too can use Dropbox with your bookkeeper more effectively.

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How to pay your bookkeeper much less

Does your bookkeeper charge you an arm and a leg for his/her services? Are you sick of receiving bookkeeping bills that make your stomach turn and steam come out of your ears? Never fear, there is a way to pay your bookkeeper much less but still ensure your accounts are kept in tip top shape! The answer lies in the concept of TIME. In short, the more time your bookkeeper has to spend on your books, the more you will pay. Obvious right? So how can you help your bookkeeper save time and in turn save you money? Here are 6 tips to get you started:

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How to choose the right accounting software in 5 easy steps

So you’re at a point in your business journey where you think you might need accounting software. That’s great but how do you choose the software that’s right for your business? Here is an easy-to-follow five-step process to help you make an informed decision.

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How to make journals in Saasu & Xero more useful

One of the most useful features found in cloud-based accounting software such as Xero and Saasu is the ability to upload and attach documents to various transactions. This is great because it means that not only are you complying with your record keeping requirements, but you can also verify your purchases with others. By “others” I mean your accountant, bookkeeper and yes, the ATO should they ask for supporting evidence. Most Saasu and Xero users will be aware that they can upload and attach source documents to sales and purchase invoices. What they may not be aware of is that you can also attach documents to journal transactions. Today I will show you how this done in Saasu.

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How to Work with Virtual Bookkeeper

Many SMEs are outsourcing their bookkeeping and BAS tasks to professional bookkeepers. This frees them up to get on with running their businesses and gives them peace of mind that their bookkeeping is correct and compliant. It’s a great thing to do especially if you loathe bookkeeping! While some SMEs prefer to employ an on-site bookkeeper, many are turning to virtual bookkeepers for assistance. So just what is a virtual bookkeeper and how do you work with one?

What’s a Virtual Bookkeeper?

A virtual bookkeeper is someone who works remotely, utilising current technologies and the internet to complete bookkeeping and other tasks for his clients. Virtual bookkeeping is not location-dependent. A virtual bookkeeper can offer services to clients Australia-wide (or perhaps worldwide), without leaving his office. The internet, current technologies, and cloud services all make this possible.

How to Work with a Virtual Bookkeeper

Some business owners are hesitant to use a virtual bookkeeper because they just don’t understand how the whole process works. They can’t get their heads around using a bookkeeper who lives in another town or state for their bookkeeping needs. So just how does this virtual thing work? For the virtual relationship to be successful and beneficial, the virtual bookkeeper must have a proven system in place which nurtures this success. Here is the virtual bookkeeping system we use at e-BAS Accounts:

1. First Consultation

After the initial contact with a new client, an appointment is set for the first consultation. This meeting can be held via telephone, Zoom, Google Meet, and other video conferencing apps e.g. Any Meeting. At this meeting, the client’s bookkeeping assignment is discussed in-depth and created.

A client and confidentiality agreement is drafted and sent to the client via email, mail, or fax for signing. Once the agreement is signed, the bookkeeping can begin! Some practices call this an engagement letter.

3. Accounting Software

Clients can choose between desktop-based platforms like MYOB or QuickBooks and cloud-based software like XeroSaasu, or MYOB Live Accounts. Desktop data files can be emailed (file size dependent), shared via Dropbox, uploaded to our secure online storage facility, and/or sent via mail on a USB drive or CD format. Cloud-based software files are shared with us via an invitation that the client sends to us to become a user of their file online.

4. How Clients Send us Source Documents

Firstly, we send our clients a checklist to help them prepare their source documents for us. We list all data required and provide guidance on how to organise this data before sending it. Clients use various methods to send their bookkeeping documents to us! These include:

  • Our free secure online transfer system via our website. Clients are provided with login details and can upload/download their files to us anytime. This of course means that some data needs to be scanned first by the client in order to create files for upload. Many new printers/scanners can scan documents quickly and in bulk and we recommend that our clients purchase one of these machines in order to do their scanning. If clients don't want to do this then we also recommend that they use Shoe-boxed, an online scanning service. Files created by Shoe-boxed also have the added advantage of being able to sync across to online accounting platforms like Xero and Saasu which is a great time-saver!
  • Adding their documents to Dropbox. Dropbox is an online storage facility that users can share with others as required. Clients simply share their accounts folders with us and we can access the information from the Dropbox account on our computers. Another online sharing service is Box - this is an alternative to Dropbox but works in a similar fashion. Google has announced their file storage offering called Google Drive which works in a similar fashion to Dropbox - another option!
  • Posting their documents to us via Australia Post's Express Post. Some clients also choose a courier service to send documents if they have lots of documents. Some client simply fax their data across to us although this becoming less common.
  • Emailing data. (Some files are too large to be emailed so other methods such as those mentioned above are used instead).
5. The Bookkeeping Stage

Once we receive the client’s documents, we get to work! We will process the data into the client’s chosen accounting software whether this is cloud-based or desktop-based. Clients are kept up to date with the progress of their bookkeeping assignments on a regular basis via email and/or telephone.

6. The Reporting Stage

Once all bookkeeping is complete, we process various financial reports for the client. We then send these reports via email or share them via the client’s chosen method e.g. Dropbox.

7. Monthly Meetings

Every client is required to attend a monthly meeting at which the previous month’s bookkeeping is discussed. This is compulsory as communication is the key to a successful virtual bookkeeping relationship. Because we do not see or visit our clients regularly (sometimes never!) in person, it is possible for the virtual relationship to fall over – “out of sight, out of mind” as the saying goes. Not only are these meetings necessary to ensure that nothing is forgotten or misinterpreted in relation to a client’s accounts, but they also ensure there is a personal level of contact maintained between the bookkeeper and client, something that no amount of emailing and texting can accomplish!

8. Returning Data to Clients

Data that is posted to us is posted back to clients at no cost to them. Data that is shared with us via Dropbox (or another sharing app) is retained in the shared folder at the discretion of the client and data which has been uploaded to our secure online storage facility remains in the client’s account until such time as the client may wish to terminate the bookkeeping agreement.

So that’s how we make virtual bookkeeping work at e-BAS Accounts! Does this work 100% of the time? No of course not! Things do go wrong but most of the time this system is fail-safe. It allows us to operate a successful virtual bookkeeping business that is not location-dependent all from the comfort of our lovely seaside office here in Torquay, Victoria! Perfect!

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