the philosophy of outsourcing

Did you know only 10% of our clients actually LOVE to do their own bookkeeping!  Not really a surprising result!

For everything an entrepreneur doesn’t like to do, there is someone who loves to do it and can do it well.  By surrounding yourself with someone who fits your business – whether it’s marketing, bookkeeping, social media, graphic designers – it is money well spent if it means you get to do what you love doing in your business.  More often than not what you love is seeing your business grow, making sales and feeling you are all over your business.

Over the last couple of years our portfolio of clients is bursting with the most amazing businesses and entrepreneurs who have taken the step of outsourcing their bookkeeping.   Why?  Some took the plunge after feeling like a sinking ship every BAS quarter, some were startups at the time and just wanted it done right from the start and some are existing businesses wanting to grow so are setting themselves up and getting it right now.

Whatever your reason, outsourcing can help grow your business but most importantly free you up so you can focus on the things you really need to do.

Can’t get into your MYOB?

Just in case you’ve missed it and are still struggling to get into your MYOB, see below a statement released by MYOB last night.   If your computer is set up like mine, it automatically updates for Windows on a Monday – this has caused issues with the MYOB software.  See below on how to fix this.

I find it interesting that MYOB and Xero both have had issues this month.  When Xero went down at the start of this month and there were MYOB loyals tweeting #justsaying …. those people were very quiet yesterday.  With technology nothing is perfect.  Both accounting packages are fantastic for SME’s, some suit some better than others.  But rubbishing one over the other is not ok.  They are just different and what is working for you might not work for others.  I have clients still on MYOB so I’ve been affected by both issues.  Doesn’t make Xero better than MYOB or vice versa.  The only difference is I actually still have to do something to get my MYOB to work (which I haven’t done yet!).  Xero just fixed the issue and it was working again.

Happy bookkeeping!


ACTION REQUIRED: Microsoft security update & AccountRight

Microsoft has released a Windows security update that is impacting numerous clients worldwide, and may prevent you accessing your AccountRight company files. Microsoft is working to address this issue and will be releasing communications and a fix within the next 24-hours. MYOB have developed a solution to ensure continued access to your company file. WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

  • If you have already installed the Windows update and are having difficulty accessing AccountRight We’ve created a tool that solves this issue. You’ll need to run this tool on all AccountRight company files that you use. Follow our easy step-by-step guide on the MYOB Community Forum .
  • For all other users To maintain access to your company files, go to the Help menu and choose Confirm Company File. You will then be able to apply the Microsoft Windows security update.

Regards, The MYOB Team


Hip hip hooray!  Bookkeeping Mums reached the milestone of Xero Silver Partner a few weeks back.  Coupled with a wonderful account manager at Xero and all of our amazing clients on Xero, we did this together.  Who would have thought the idea of mums bookkeeping and keeping it real could grow so quickly in just such a short time.  I still remember vividly when it was just me and 1 client, then it was 2 and so on.  Organically this niche business is going from strength to strength and improving.

There are a band of Mums now gaining traction with Bookkeeping Mums and it’s a really exciting time for us.  Our kids range from 5months to very mature teenagers!  We are supportive, flexible and love our kids.  Watch this space, I am so excited about what the next chapter will bring.

Get in touch if you are a business that can jump on this bandwagon of quality flexible bookkeeping support, what you need can range from a few hours a month to half a day a week to 1 day a month… nothing is too small!

If you are a bookkeeper with a minimum of a Cert IV in bookkeeping and preferably Xero and/or MYOB experience I’d also like to hear from you if you think we could be the right for you!

Happy days!


2015 Budget helping small business grow

Do you want to start your own business? After the budget announcements recently, this might just be the right time to do it.  The budget announced changes that impact directly on small businesses.  A small business for these purposes is expected to be a business with annual turnover of less than $2 million:

  • From 1 July 2015, business with an annual turnover of less than $2million (and let’s get real, we’d be stoked if we earn $2 million in our first year!) will get a 1.5% tax cut to 28.5% but only if your business structure is a company;
  • Unincorporated businesses with annual turnover less than $2 million, there is a 5% tax discount
  • Starting from budget night, small businesses can immediately receive a tax deduction for any individual assets purchased that cost less than $20,000. In effect, a very accelerated depreciation! It isn’t capped at only one asset, you can apply this rule for all purchases costing less than $20,000. We are not sure how long this will be effective for but at least the next year.
  • There is a removal of fringe benefits tax on mobile devices

The aim of all of this – to encourage small businesses to invest in their businesses.

So if you are a small business, speak to your accountant about how these changes can benefit you!  If you are thinking about setting up your business, this is as good a time as any!


The evolution of bookkeeping

I just got super excited today over the ease at which I could export data and create reports to tell one of my clients just how their business sales were tracking.  At the drop of a hat!  It made me revel in the evolution of bookkeeping from using counting machines, cash book ledgers, calculators, excel, computer based accounting packages and finally the cloud.  At each progressive development stage, the financial clarity we can achieve in a business got clearer and clearer.

Bookkeeping has been around as long as the civilised world with the primary role of keeping track of your numbers.  Bookkeeping and businesses have both evolved to take advantage of the technological advances in accounting.  No one can deny the introduction of the calculator made the job of bookkeeping easier.  But it was the introduction of the computer and accounting software packages that revolutionised the way businesses managed their finances.

We said goodbye to ledger books, writing paper invoices, cheques, pencils, erasers, filing in returns by hand and the trusty calculator.

We said hello to online banking, the cloud, bank feeds, email, filing our taxes online, real time accounting and a paperless way of working.

As accounting technology continues to evolve, keeping track of our money and budgeting has become easier and easier.  Not only that, bookkeeping is now a fast paced and dynamic profession that requires fast paced and progressive people.  With the introduction of the cloud based accounting systems such as Xero, accountability is at an all-time high with Directors, shareholders and managers all having access to the same financial information and in real time.  Businesses are transparent and those that have kept up with the evolution of bookkeeping are seeing the benefits first hand.

With the extensive information accounting systems can now generate, I am finding the role of a bookkeeper and accountant is also evolving to become a business consultant as well.  It’s an exciting time to be in this industry with all the changes!

The advantages of embracing technology has always meant increased speed and efficiency.  If embracing technology means:
  • Fewer mistakes (and mistakes are easier to find)
  • Greater accountability
  • Faster calculations
  • Less hours spent on bookkeeping (and more time in growing your business)
  • More time to interpret data
  • Meeting your compliance deadlines
Why wouldn’t you?!

Converting to Xero is a jog in the park

No doubt you’ve heard of cloud accounting by now. Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks are all in the game. But you still have a data file on your computer because quite frankly the thought of changing accounting systems ranks right up there with running a marathon. It’s outright scary! It’s not just the event itself that’s confusing you, but also the lead up and the training that is required. What if you don’t like it and what if it takes too long?

We are creatures of habit, we like what we know because it works. It might not be the best or perfect but it’s functional.   But does your current accounting data file continue to add value to your business? Unlearning a system is just as hard as learning a new one. But unlearning may also be your undoing.

In the last couple of months I have had the pleasure of working with businesses to convert them to Xero. Watching business owners come to the realization that they worked in the dark for so long is reward enough. The clincher is REAL TIME ACCOUNTING. The ease at which they can manage their finances and see what I can see means they are in touch with their business and can get answers to their questions. The primary one being “what is my bottom line?”

Lately my conversions have had a focus in the hospitality industry. Hospitality operates in an economic environment where you need to keep up to date on how much you owe and what your bottom line is. It can mean the world of difference in making decisions affecting your trading hours, staffing and your menu. Cafe, bar and restaurant owners are finding Xero gives them a snapshot of their business this week, not last quarter and it’s exactly what they need to ensure their survival in a competitive environment.

Here’s my bit of business intelligence to help with your conversion.


You just need to say yes let’s do it.  I’ve had businesses think and think about it some more and really plan the right time.  On the other hand I recently met a client for less than 30 minutes and he on the spot said “Let’s do it”.  And so we did.  The result for both is the same and depends entirely on your business.

To convert any system, your whole team should be engaged to accept the change. From the business owner right down to the bookkeeper.   To alleviate any concerns, try a Xero demonstration or book in training session on how to use Xero once the conversion has happened.

Pick a date to convert

At the end of a quarter or financial year is the best. However have the Xero account set up a couple of weeks before end of quarter so it is ready to go by the 1st of the month and bank feeds will start being automated around the same time.

Choose the right conversion partner

When you make the decision to convert to Xero, make sure you chose the right conversion partner. Ensure they are a certified partner. Ensure their conversion packages also have the option to include training and support should you need it and any ongoing support you might need. Some conversion companies merely convert the file and hand it back without training or additional support so just check beforehand.

Make sure your data file is up to date

Up to the date of conversion, ensure your financial records are complete. This includes reconciled bank accounts, no duplicate contact files, payroll and Chart of Accounts.

Training and ongoing support

Training and education rarely get the attention they deserve in terms of planning the conversion. Many business owners don’t think past the actual conversion. No matter what qualifications your finance team already has, training is important to help manage change and the expectations of business and ensure everyone uses it consistently.  Xero update and improve their software constantly and many users will learn best when explained by someone practically and also when they can get their questions answered in real time.

How long will it take?

You can be up and running within days and from this point your business can invoice and pay bills. Provided you can supply the information your bank accounts can be completely reconciled in 2-3 weeks (depending on how fast your bank feed applications are submitted and activated – most banks say 10 working days from receiving the application but depending on the bank it’s often sooner). You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

I have come across stumbling blocks when businesses or their existing bookkeepers don’t provide the information in a timely fashion, and this only causes delays. Therefore it’s good to make sure in the lead up to converting to the cloud you start preparing your finance team early and get everyone talking to each other.


A conversion to cloud accounting is an achievable goal. With a progressive attitude and the thought of improving your business, you only need to say yes LET’S DO IT!  Don’t think of it as a marathon.  Think of it as a jog in the park, it doesn’t take that long and it makes you feel good.

Bookkeeping mums popular with SMEs

I’ve had a lot of questions about what Bookkeeping Mums is about because hinted throughout our site is the promotion and support for working parents. The name itself is self-explanatory.  Mums and bookkeeping.  But there is so much more to it than that.

Broadly defined, bookkeeping mums are highly skilled and seasoned finance professionals who have diverted their career path in order to dedicate time to raising a family. However, they have also taken the initiative to seek work in the finance sector during hours where family matters do not take precedence.  Rather than seeing their qualifications, skills and talents become redundant, these finance professionals seek ways to continue working while at the same time as maintaining the family obligations.  Take it from me, it’s not easy.  But it does tell you something about the tenacity and dedication of these emerging bookkeeping mums.

This pool of talent is huge with so much untapped potential it’s not a surprise many SMEs have already discovered this market force as a means to improve, become efficient and grow the business.

Bookkeeping mums are not your traditional 9 – 5 full time employee position. No, slightly less conventional is the bookkeeping mum.  There are thousands of qualified, professional mums that are seeking finance work between a window of 9 – 3, or thereabouts.  This window believe it or not is ample time for the carrying out of any business tasks, making a bookkeeping mum the ideal choice for Australian SMEs.

Bookkeeping mums are looking for the kind of flexible employment that allows them to tend to their family needs and their responsibilities – thus are able to put in the hours needed when they are needed, no more and no less. What you get is someone who knows what needs to be done, is qualified to do it and has a time frame in which to complete it.  You get someone efficient and professional.

Match made in heaven

Put aside the mum part. These are accounting and bookkeeping professionals who just want to work with up to 20 hours a week to spare (give or take) .  On the flip side, hard times in our economy has seen existing businesses needing to cut costs and are desperate for flexible and low-cost effective working relationships.  Australia is also the land of start ups.  With intelligent entrepreneurs at the helm, they know they need to start small but do it right.  By offering flexible working conditions, existing businesses and start ups are engaging in working relationships with highly qualified and hands on professionals who get stuck into the nitty gritty of how the business operates at a lower cost.

In addition to being perhaps the most cost-effective value for money option on the market today, the bookkeeping mum also has a level of genuine enthusiasm to work with like-minded businesses.  They essentially have the kind of hours to spare for an SME who doesn’t have a full time gig to offer.  The pairing was meant to be.

The benefits

Well there’s the money. Bookkeeping mums come at a cheaper rate than accountants.  That’s just the plain truth.  Many bookkeeping mums are also registered BAS agents but stop short of becoming a tax agent.  This means there is still the need for bookkeepers to work with accountants with the accountants being happy doing the stuff they love, tax and strategic advisory roles and less of the detailed bookkeeping.

Bookkeeping mums keep their costs low because many work from home and therefore there are less overheads to have to pass on compared to larger accounting firms.

Efficiency and no nonsense. Let’s be honest, mums simply don’t have time to waste let alone a working mum!

The willingness to work and an appreciation for flexible working conditions allows bookkeeping mums to enjoy their work and who they work with.   The stuck in a rut mentality we often find in the conventional jobs rarely exists because bookkeeping mums actually want to work.

Where can you find bookkeeping mums?

Bookkeeping mums seem to be largely through word of mouth so they have been hard to find which is why Bookkeeping Mums Australia is inviting bookkeeping mums all over the country to join its network. To bring more talent to one location will help SMEs make the decision to seek help with their bookkeeping.

Are you a bookkeeping mum?

Do you have time on your hands during the week? This is your opportunity to make the most of your time, meet some amazing businesses and their people.  We invite all bookkeepers to contact us so we can help provide more opportunities to businesses.  Even if you are studying or planning to study to become a bookkeeper we’d love to hear from you and offer what support we can!

Bookkeeping: add value with your chart of accounts

Are your chart of accounts giving you the information you need to grow your business?

Setting up a chart of accounts for your business is one of the first tasks you will be required to do when subscribing to an accounting system whether you do your accounts manually (eg: excel), programmed packages (Xero, MYOB, Quickbooks) or custom made accounting packages.  It is essentially the core of your online filing cabinet for your business finances.

What is the chart of accounts?

The chart of accounts are the foundation level that every transaction in your accounting system is coded to. It is the backbone of your accounting system and believe it or not, it organises your business finances by giving all transactions a category. Transactions are separated into expenditure, revenue, assets and liabilities in order to give parties such as business owners, shareholders, accountants, committees and boards a better understanding of the financial health of the entity.

One of the first things I check in any business is the chart of accounts.  It gives me a good overview for how the business operates before I start reconciling transactions.

A business needs to know where the money is coming from and where it is going.

For example, how many revenue centres has your business got? A landscape gardener who does garden maintenance may want different accounts so he can gauge what he earns from landscape projects and general garden maintenance.

If you are just starting out, grab a pen and paper and jot down how you want your business to make revenue and what expenses you think you will have and then categorize them into small groups. Your bookkeeper or accountant can then tailor your chart of accounts especially for your business.

How the chart of accounts helps your business

A well designed chart of accounts will allow you to extract meaningful reports that will allow you to put your own business under the microscope. You can review which divisions are doing well, which sections have higher percentage of COGS compared to others and where you can streamline operating costs.

This information will give your business an edge, make you competitive and give you the information you need to improve, make changes and grow your business. At the end of the day, figures do not lie.

Can the chart of accounts be changed?

Yes of course! Whether you have an existing data file or are just starting out, accounting packages such as Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks all offer standard chart of accounts to work with depending on your industry and all can be tailored to your business.

We all know every business is unique.

This month one of my clients set up a new Chart of Accounts in hospitality and we needed to add items such as Restaurant Consumables and DJ Contractors. These are accounts you would not see in a landscaping business but you would find Tool Consumables and Protective Clothing.  But you wouldn’t find either of those in my bookkeeping business!

How can you review your chart of accounts?

Speak to your bookkeeper to check you have the chart of accounts working for your business properly. Write down what you want your Profit and Loss to tell you when you look at it.  Design your chart of accounts on what you need not what was programmed! 

The chart of accounts is also the default for the coding of GST on your transactions. To make sure you are compliant for tax purposes, ask your bookkeeper or accountant to check the GST code allocated to the account codes.

Do you want to be a bookkeeper?

I received a query last week from someone in our network looking for advice on how to start a bookkeeping business. The answer isn’t short but it did get me thinking about how I ended up on this journey and I would like to share it {short version – I am known to ramble}.  I am a working mum. One of the greatest pleasures in my life is having the flexibility to be able to take my kids to school, drive them to their multitude of activities and be around in the school holidays.  That’s not to say I always do it, my husband is a pretty good taxi service!

The bookkeeping industry is flourishing at the moment. Many accountants are building alliances with trusted bookkeepers so they can focus on more structure and advisory tasks for their clients.  This is an excellent field for parents who would like to stay at home with their kids. Bookkeeping is my favourite business task because I can work around my kids and adapt as they grow.  It has been my sanity by giving me something to focus on during those mushy toddler years.  Now we are well and truly out of the toddler age, I’m thankful for the little steps I took to build the business even if I couldn’t see it at the time!  And with cloud accounting now in the picture, it’s even better!

How long it takes you is all up to YOU!  I come from a financial background so the transition was logical, however as you know, parenthood has its moments and the thoughts of building a business get jumbled up with the daily grind of bringing up a young family.  It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, one step at a time is all you need and it will be worth it in the end!  If I add:

  • 1 year to think about bookkeeping as a business;
  • 1 year to complete my Cert IV in Financial Services Bookkeeping;
  • 3 years of building a client base through word of mouth and get my BAS registration;
  • 6 months to think about getting my Xero Certification;
  • 6 months thinking I really should get a website; and
  • 6 months to actually launch the site into the public domain

Wow that’s 6 ½ years! Could I have done it faster?  Of course.  But it hasn’t been hard or cumbersome.  Each step has been as my children take extra steps.  My business is like an extra child, growing as my children grow.  Growing as I grow.  There is no fast or slow, it’s all about you and when you’re ready.

If you would like to know how to become a bookkeeper here is a snapshot of the steps to take:

Step 1: Do you really want to be a bookkeeper?

First determine whether you actually like bookkeeping! Don’t do it for the sake of it.  If you really hate numbers, it just might not be a good fit!  Speak to some fellow bookkeepers, read about what is required, look at job advertisements and see if you picture yourself in that field of work.  We offer online assessments that can let you know what industries you’re suited for.  Contact me to find out more.

Step 2: Get qualified

Dabble in a MYOB or Xero short bookkeeping course to give you a feel for what it will be like. You will learn something even if you don’t continue so it won’t be a waste of time.  If it’s still a dream or you already have basic bookkeeping experience; get qualified with the either of the following courses.  These can be done online which is super helpful for parents with young families.

  • Certificate IV in Bookkeeping; or
  • Certificate IV in Financial Services (Accounting).

There is a very fine line between a bookkeeper and BAS Agent. You are required by law to be a BAS Agent when offering BAS services.  These two accredited courses contain the minimum qualification components for registered BAS Agents (as per the Tax Practitioners Board).  You can provide bookkeeping without being a BAS Agent but it is limiting.  Therefore my advice is to have it as a goal to become a BAS Agent when you start your journey.

Step 3: What accounting system to use?

The more systems you know the better, however become an expert in one to start with. I have experience in Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks Online but I learnt one at a time purely based on what my client’s needs were.  My focus is now on cloud bookkeeping to allow me to reduce travel time, work flexible hours and attract clients not based on location, they can be on the other side of the city and it doesn’t matter!

Step 4: Work Experience & BAS Agent

Anyone who is thinking about starting their own bookkeeping business in Australia needs to be aware of the rules regarding BAS Agents, who are eligible to provide Business Activity Statement services for a fee. Any bookkeeper wanting to provide BAS services must be registered as a BAS Agent. To become a registered BAS Agent, a bookkeeper must have 1400 hours of experience and a minimum qualification of a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping or Accounting.

Step 5: Get certified with your accounting package of choice

Once you are a BAS agent, the accounting software companies like Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks do provide bookkeeping memberships that give you additional training and support. You can become aligned to either of these companies and get certified as a partner or advisor.  This is not absolutely necessary to launch your business but it does add credibility to your portfolio and shows you have the gumption to get through the extra training and tests!

So if you have done all these things. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot launch your own bookkeeping business!

Keep count of who owes you money

When I review any business, one of my priorities is how much money people owe you.  I’ve seen Ageing Receivable lists spanning pages!  All small businesses need cash and here are some simple cash flow tools to help you pull that money in.

1. Deposits Upfront

Reserve the right to charge a deposit upfront prior to commencing work.  This may be to cover the value of materials used or simply good business practise.  If you quote, chose for example to ask for a percentage of the quote upfront to secure the job and to ensure you are not left out of pocket.  This is useful for customers you know are late in paying or new clients you don’t know very well.

2. Terms of Trade & Payment Terms

Your terms of trade are how long a customer has to pay you.  Commonly used are 7-days, 14-days or 30 days.  For SME’s I recommend 7-days and 14-days.  Your payment terms should be included on your quotes and your tax invoices.  As soon as the payment term is up, you can follow up on non-payment.

The longer the payment terms, the more likely the customer will put your invoice at the bottom of the “to pay” pile and forget about it.  This means you will have to send a reminder but you will have to wait until those 30 days are up.  By the time you have sent your Statement, it may be 6 weeks before you are paid if not longer.

3. Tailor your Statements in your Accounting Software

You can tailor your Statements and Invoices in your accounting software.  Take the time, 10 minutes spent here will ease the effort of sending Statements to customers at the end of every month.  Even if the terms of trade haven’t expired, it is commonly accepted in business to send Statements to remind customers of their outstanding balance.  Anyone using Xero the Statements are simple to tailor and will only take you 5 minutes.

4. Discounts & Charging Interest

Discounts are not ideal for optimum cash flow.  However they do serve a purposes and you may wish to consider offering a small discount if customers pay by a certain date.  Similarly charging interest to recalcitrant customers is not good for small business relationships (note, do not charge interest unless it is already specified in your trading terms in writing).

5. Client Engagement Letter

Set yourself up right.  Include your expectations and your terms of trade in a Client Engagement Letter or Quote.  Have it signed before you commence work.