What Does Bookkeeping mean?
Bookkeeping is the process of updating and managing a business’s financial records.
The role sits somewhere between an accounts clerical role and an accountant (in terms of job activities).
For example an accounts clerical role might involve paying and recording the bills paid, issuing and recording customer invoices, updating customer payment details and looking after petty cash and banking.
The bookkeeping tasks then follow: posting those transactions to the relevant income and expense accounts; ensuring GST is accounted correctly and working out details for Business Activity Statements. Many also undertake payroll functions and tax remittance for PAYG.
Many accounts clerical roles include aspects of bookkeeping through the use of computerised accounting software that handles some of the posting and calculations. A bookkeeper should however understand what an accounting package is doing, and be able to set one up that meets the needs of a business, and ensures that it complies with tax rules.
The role of an accountant would be to prepare financial statements by for example working out end of period adjustments, ensuring non-financial aspects like depreciation is accounted for; and preparing income tax returns. Many accountants then have a role in analysis of business financial performance.
The Difference Between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant
Many job roles cross over. The main distinction now evolving is the concept that the Bookkeeping qualification best suits those running their own bookkeeping business or working for a bookkeeping business. Whereas the Accounting qualification would best suit those working within a business undertaking bookkeeping and accounting duties.
This distinction is mainly due to the way the government determined Registered BAS Agent status.
BAS Agent Registration Requirements
Bookkeepers must be registered with the government to provide “BAS services” on behalf of clients. BAS services include completing activity statements. A full list is available at the Tax Practitioners Board.
Registration requires a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping or Accounting and an approved GST / BAS course (which is part of the ACCM Certificate IV in Bookkeeping course).
Note that special rules apply if you are seeking the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping by RPL and plan to use the qualification for BAS Agent registration. Please ensure you discuss this request with us before enrolling.
Registered BAS Agents also need relevant 1000 – 1400 hours of relevant experience. Most work in preparing the books and records of a business for the purposes of that business completing their BAS obligations, including their pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and instalment obligations, will be considered to be relevant experience for the purposes of registration as a BAS agent. You could also work under the supervision of a Registered BAS Agent to begin with.
Ways To Obtain BAS Services Experience
By being a member of a recognised BAS association – you will reduce the number of hours needed to 1000.
Recognised associations include:
Association of Accounting Technicians
Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
That still means a lot of hours needed…
Many bookkeepers start their career working within a business. As they work for a business, they don’t need to be registered as a BAS Agent to undertake that businesses BAS activities. So this can count. Have your workplace supervisor complete the required form outlining the range of experience and hours. If your workplace supervisor isn’t themselves a Registered BAS Agent, the onus is on you to prove the relevance of your work in your application form.
Another way to gain the experience and build your clients is to contact existing accounting and bookkeeping practices to see if they need assistance. They can supervise and confirm your hours and range of BAS work undertaken. Some associations offer ways for you to contact members who may be able to assist with work and supervision.
Another option is to contact charities and schools and other bodies that can always do with help. They may appreciate the volunteer work you can offer, and be in a position to verify your involvement in BAS work.
Remember though, unless your work was supervised by a Registered Tax or BAS Agent, the onus is on you to prove that the experience was relevant (and didn’t break rules about providing BAS services when not registered). Go to the Tax Practitioners Board for the rules.
Get the Right Qualification with our Online Bookkeeping Course
There are great reasons to consider a career in bookkeeping.
FNS40215 Certificate IV in Bookkeeping will give you the qualification needed to enter into this in demand career.
Benefit from studying online, but in a supported environment. Enrol now or give us a call to talk about your career goals.