Benefits To A Business In Using An Online Bookkeeping Service

How to choose a bookkeeper you can trust

Tradies are always pushed for time when running their own business. Hiring a bookkeeper to keep your accounts in line is a good idea so you have one less problem to worry about. Here are some tips to help you choose a bookkeeper you can trust.

Know what you need

The first thing you need to do is to assess your business needs so you know what sort of bookkeeper you need. As a tradie you have unique needs. Consider how many transactions you make and the services you require to keep your business on track.

Hire a bookkeeper that offers a full service

When you hire a bookkeeper that offers a full service, it can save you money. A business that offers a full service does everything from bookkeeping and invoicing to preparing and lodging BAS statements. They should use good software and give you good advice about the best accounting methods for your business and what expenses you can claim as a tradie.

Do they have industry experience?

The single most important thing is to hire a bookkeeper with experience working with tradies. This way they know how you operate and exactly what expenses you can claim. A bookkeeper with industry experience will easily understand your business and what it takes to do a good job. A good bookkeeper can give you good advice on how to improve your business operations to help it grow and become more successful.

Avoid hiring the cheapest bookkeeper

Cheap is not always the best. As a tradie you would already know this. Sure, you are working within a budget but you get what you pay for. If you think hiring an experienced bookkeeper that understands your industry is expensive, hiring a bad bookkeeper will cost you more. Can you afford that?

The beginner’s guide to bookkeeping

While the days of dusty ledgers and paper receipts are becoming a thing of the past, bookkeeping is here to stay. From better budgeting and tax preparation, to planning and peace of mind, good bookkeeping equals good business. But it’s so much more than writing down numbers in a ledger or a software program and tracking money in and out.

Bookkeeping 101

The short answer is that a bookkeeper tracks and records all of a business’ day-to-day financial transactions. That includes handling customer receipts, invoices, payments to suppliers, client billing, payroll, tracking and maintaining budgets, recording depreciation and reporting issues as they arise.

What’s the difference between accountants and bookkeepers?

At this point you may be asking yourself “isn’t that what accountants do?” Well, no. Bookkeepers are primarily concerned with the daily transactions of a business and handle more of the financial administration, while accountants take a more “big picture” approach to your financials, offering insights and information based on what bookkeepers do. Moreover, accountants often help business owners with tax strategy and planning, completing tax returns and financial forecasting. 

Do I need to hire a bookkeeper?

That depends. Because bookkeepers and accountants work in tandem to provide you with a clear picture of your business, having both on staff is important as your operations grow. Initially, many small businesses opt to do it themselves or hire a bookkeeper part-time. 

Get a good bookkeeping program

Explore the types of bookkeeping options available to you, which range from handwritten ledgers to Excel spreadsheets to automated systems, and choose the right solution for the way you work. If you can hire a part-time bookkeeper, talk to them about what they’ve used for similar clients and allow them to help you select the best option for your business.

How to Choose an Accounting Degree Program

Many people consider accounting the language of business. This age-old field remains a vital part of the modern commercial world. Companies across the nation need individuals who can understand numbers and make sense of their bottom line. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accounting jobs can expect steady growth across the next decade. The BLS projects that employment of accountants will grow at a rate of about 6% from 2018-2028, the average rate of growth for all occupations in the U.S. Accounting plays an integral role in the economy, and the profession continues to evolve.

Below, we cover everything you need to know to select the right accounting or finance degree for today’s business world. We explore the different accounting degrees available to accounting majors and examine the many factors to consider when selecting a degree program. We also explore what to look for in an accounting degree curriculum and the various specializations students can pursue. Additionally, we highlight the many accounting degree career paths open to new graduates, as well as the salaries that accountants typically earn in the modern economy. This guide concludes with answers to frequently asked questions about becoming an accountant.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE

Earning a degree in accounting prepares you to enter a growing field that features robust demand. Every organization — whether it is a government, nonprofit, or for-profit entity — needs to know the state of its finances, which makes financial jobs on pace to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

Information and data drive today’s economy, and accountants hold the key to an organization’s financial information. Accountants often find themselves moving beyond bookkeeping and into boardrooms to help make decisions that propel companies forward. Some accountants also direct and develop accounting information systems, while others use their expertise to uncover fraud as forensic accountants. In short, an accounting degree opens an array of career possibilities.

HOW TO KNOW WHICH PROGRAM IS RIGHT FOR YOU

Finding the right accounting program requires that you first consider your personal and professional goals. Like other college majors, accounting programs encompass a broad range of topics, and each university boasts its own features and areas of expertise.

Bookkeeper or Accountant?

There is often confusion about the difference between bookkeepers and accountants, but any business requires both bookkeeping and accounting. Bookkeeping is the foundation of accounting and while there is often an overlap between what bookkeepers and accountants do, it’s not a matter of one versus the other. Both have specialised experience and knowledge for the tasks they perform

What is the difference between Bookkeepers and Accountants?

Generally speaking, bookkeepers are across the business accounts on a more regular basis than accountants, as their job is to manage the day-to-day financial applications of the business. At the end of the financial year, they hand over a tidy set of accounts to the accountant.

Having a bookkeeper involved makes the job of an accountant a whole lot easier, as they take what the bookkeeper has done, make year-end adjustments for things like depreciation, FBT, home office expenses etc., and prepare tax returns and financial reports

Anything income tax or business structure related is usually the domain of an accountant. One of their responsibilities is to make sure you are meeting your tax obligations. They ensure that the business’s accounts accurately reflect the position of the business, and that you are claiming everything you are legally entitled to. They may also analyse the business’s financial reports, discuss with you its financial health and viability, and advise on how to improve business performance.

Many business owners love the business they are really good at and love what they do.  But, the bookkeeping side of their business often becomes a dreaded chore and is usually not the best use of their valuable time. In contrast, bookkeepers love keeping your books tidy and will do everything they can to lighten your load.  Plus, bookkeepers are much more efficient in processing data because that is their profession.

Ways to Make Bookkeeping Easier

When first starting a business, you’re asked to quickly absorb information on new topics and handle many tasks that you have probably never done before. And, unless you have previous experience with business financials, dealing with the economic side of a business will likely be new to you. With this in mind, we’ve put together tips to make the process simpler for you!

Keep Business and Personal Separate

Maintaining your businesses bookkeeping will be challenging enough without mingling your personal income and expenses. You need to keep your business receipts and invoices for five years, and sorting through a big pile trying to remember if that expense four months ago was personal or business is a waste of your valuable time. Establishing separate files, budgeting systems and bank accounts for your business expenses and income makes tracking and reporting much easier.

Choose the Right Bookkeeping Method for You

If your business is small enough, an Excel spreadsheet might meet your accounting needs for a while. But when your business begins to grow, you’ll need a more powerful solution. Accounting software can be a huge help by organizing your invoices, cataloguing receipts and generating the reports you need to make solid financial decisions with the click of a mouse.

And Keep up With It!

Bookkeeping is like any chore: the longer you procrastinate, the longer it takes to catch up. Unfortunately, ignoring that pile of statements and invoices won’t make them go away! Eventually, you’ll be forced to waste a day that you could be spending with friends or family entering numbers and sending late invoice reminders. Bookkeeping doesn’t have to be a daily chore, but don’t wait until the end of each quarter to pull all that data together.

Pick the Right Time

If you’re most productive and creative first thing in the morning, don’t use that time on your bookkeeping tasks. Determine a time of day or week when you can focus, but don’t need optimal brain function to work. That’s when you should catch up on your bookkeeping. Set this as an appointment in your schedule, and keep to it! If you’re finding this difficult, and that you are behind no matter what, it may be time to add a professional bookkeeper to your support team!

Outsourcing Your Payroll Service As A Small Business Owner

How to Choose a Payroll Service

Choosing the best payroll service for your needs can help you save you time and money. A good payroll service will pay employees and file and pay payroll taxes.

The only thing more conventional than “keeping the books” is screwing them up. In fact, the two typically go hand-in-hand, as the IRS penalizes about one out of every three business owners for payroll errors. Choosing the best payroll service for your needs can help you to reduce bookkeeping and other errors.

Even if mistakes weren’t so commonplace, doing your own payroll can still cost you. The valuable time and energy you spend figuring out how much money you have to give away could be spent actually making money.  That’s why so many businesses are turning to outsourced payroll services.

“One of my rules is if you have one employee, get a payroll service,” says Rhonda Abrams, president of the business services site The Planning Shop and author of the guidebook Hire Your First Employee. “The penalties for screwing up are so much more expensive than the cost for payroll.”

A good payroll service will, at the very least, get checks to both the IRS and your employees on time, taking most of the weight off your shoulders — but not all of it. The paychecks themselves may be out of your hands, but this is still sensitive information that’s immensely important to your company, so it’s critical that you pick the right service for your small business.

Tips for Choosing a Payroll Service

When payday rolls around employees automatically assume they will not only be paid but be paid the correct amount. An easy way to ensure everyone is receiving payment and the IRS is not on your back is to use a payroll service. Use these tips to evaluate and choose a payroll company to handle your small business needs

Recommendations:

One way to find a payroll service is to ask other small businesses for their recommendations. A recommendation from someone you know means that chances are they will be honest about their level of satisfaction with the company. Once you have a few services you are interested in ask if they can provide you with two or three references from clients who have businesses similar to your own. Recommendations are the best way to discover the reputation and quality of the firm.

Also find out how long the company has been in business, and check their reputation with the Better Business Bureau, as well as by searching online for the term, reviews, along with the name of the payroll company. These are important facts to know because ultimately it’s your company, not the payroll company that’s responsible for reporting and paying in payroll taxes. Should a payroll company you deal with fail to remit your payroll taxes to the government (and perhaps go out of business), you will have to pay the money owed to the government yourself, even though the payroll company took it out of your account

Prices and Hidden Fees:

The first question on everyone’s mind and the first question that need to be asked is: How much? They may charge a flat-fee with an additional charge per check or a charge based on the frequency of payroll. You may want to pay your employees every week but find that every other week will save you money. This is something that should be taken into consideration. Also, be sure to see a detailed breakdown of the bill to discover those hidden fees that some companies may “forget” to mention. For example simply changing an employee to direct deposit or adding a new employee might accrue additional charges. You may also want to ask if the charges and fees you were quoted are subject to change and if so, do they increase frequently?

Special Services:

In addition to paychecks, payroll services often offer other special services for businesses. These special services include direct deposit, customized reports, as well as the administering of employee benefits, retirement plans, and pre-tax deductions for medical insurance or childcare. Some companies are capable of developing customized software tailored to your specific needs. If you have employees in different states you must make sure the company has national coverage capabilities.

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A PAYROLL PROVIDER

Are you considering converting to a new payroll provider, but hesitant to make a change? You may be concerned about missing payroll periods or data errors during the transition, but it doesn’t have to be chaotic. The key to a successful payroll conversion is a streamlined conversion process that meets the unique needs of your company while minimizing the amount of work required to get started. When you’re ready to make the switch, here are six things to consider when choosing a payroll provider.

TIMING OF A PAYROLL CONVERSION

Deciding when to implement a new payroll solution is important. If you are considering a mid-year conversion, Quarter 2 is a good time to start the process. Another option is to convert at the end of the year. The ideal time to begin a year-end conversion is October so it doesn’t conflict with any year-end processing you need to handle.

DATA CONVERSION

When considering a conversion, it’s important to also look at whether the payroll system is unified with core HR and attendance. When payroll, core HR, and time tracking data are stored in a centralized database, this provides many benefits

Look for a provider who assigns a dedicated implementation manager with the experience to translate the differences in the systems and suggest improvements that will increase productivity, reduce the potential for errors, and drive down costs

DATA INTEGRATION CAPABILITIES

Many companies have existing business investments for benefits, such as general ledger software, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and retirement packages. The ability to integrate these existing systems with an online payroll system is a huge benefit as all of the data is accurate and up-to-date.

How to Choose the Right Payroll Service

Consider factors like cost, features, ease of use, and more as you shop for a payroll system. Running payroll might not be your forte, but it’s a necessary part of being an employer. To ease your responsibilities, you could try a payroll service, a type of software as a service (SaaS).

How much do I know about payroll?

If you aren’t a payroll expert, you need an easy-to-use software solution. Payroll software automates a complex process, and the point of automation is to free your time, not take it up.

Which basic features should a payroll software have?

First, let’s go over the key parts of running payroll. Running payroll is the process of entering the hours employees worked during a pay period, calculating their gross wages, determining deductions, and giving employees their net pay.

Payroll software saves you from manually running payroll. Here are a few basic features you should keep an eye out for when shopping for payroll software:

Taxes: Payroll software automatically withholds taxes from each employee’s paychecks. If you want the software to go a step farther and file taxes for you, opt for a full-service payroll software.

Accuracy: Mistakes on payroll result in penalties for your business. Find a provider that guarantees accuracy.

Multiple payment options: If you want the option of paying employees with direct deposit or paychecks, find a provider that accommodates both and offers free direct deposit. According to the National Automated Clearing House Association(link is external) (NACHA), 82% of workers receive their wages via direct deposit, so try to offer this payment method.

Time and attendance integration: Some software providers offer a time and attendance add-on to help with attendance management. This lets employees enter the hours they worked. All you need to do is approve their hours.

How much do I want to spend?

Deciding how much to spend on payroll is challenging since many factors go into the cost. To get started, learn what other businesses spend on payroll services.

Considerations to Make While Choosing A Payroll Service

Determining how to choose a payroll service for your business can be difficult. There are many payroll software providers and features from which you can choose. Whether this is your first time looking for payroll software or you want to switch software programs, you need to know what to consider. Knowing what to look for in a payroll service can help you make a good purchase.

What will you find in this guide about how to choose a payroll service?

Our guide includes 10 points you should consider while choosing a payroll software solution. A few of the points you can learn about in this guide include types of payroll software, software costs, and software security.

In each of the 10 sections, we provide you with a list of questions to ask yourself. The questions are helpful tools to assist you in thinking about your needs and what type of software will work best for your business.

At the end of the guide, there are related articles about small business payroll service options. You can use the articles to further your learning and improve your business’s payroll program

When you download and read our guide to choosing payroll software, you can prevent a bad payroll software decision. You don’t want to be locked into a contract or discover hidden fees for the features you need. You should purchase payroll software that you like on the first try.