Although I have been posting about bookkeepers in general, I wish to use this time to stress that there are 'bookkeepers' and then there are 'qualified bookkeepers'. So what's the difference?
Up until about a decade ago the financial services industry was largely unregulated. Bookkeeping itself required no qualification meaning anyone could do it, regardless of expertise. With the implementation of GST, ever-changing tax laws and only the law of increasing disorder to adhere to, the financial services industry descended into the Wild West - full of incompetent and shonky bookkeepers, accountants and financial advisors.
But in 2009 the government introduced legislation outlining certain standards and regulations that those in the financial services industry must abide by as well as sanctions to discipline and hold accountability to agents who did not adhere to this Code.
One such requirement put in place for bookkeepers is that any bookkeeper who is not working for you directly as an employee must be registered as a BAS or Tax Agent with the Tax Practitioners Board. Although this might seem like a technicality, it is very important when it comes to the reporting of your financial information. If you have a bookkeeper who is lodging your BAS’s and IAS’s on your behalf and they are not registered, then YOU are solely responsible for the information that is being supplied to the ATO. Using a Registered BAS Agent means that the Agent is responsible for your lodgements and assumes a level of responsibility to the accuracy of the information that is being presented.
To be a Registered BAS Agent, you must have a bookkeeping qualification and meet a certain level of experience as well as maintaining a minimum level of continuing professional education (CPE). You must also agree and adhere to the Code of Conduct which states that an agent be competent, honest, abide by all Tax Laws and act in the best interest of their client.
To read more about the Tax Practitioners Board and required Registrations, click here
To check if your bookkeeper is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board, click here
A bookkeeper can be registered as an individual or under their practice or business name. You can also search via their registration number if they have it listed on their website, business card, etc.
Do not be afraid to ask your bookkeeper about their qualifications. It’s better to be safe than sorry!