Accountants and Your Family Business

Why your bookkeeper should also be a registered BAS agent

Business owners in Australia are required to generate Business Activity Statements (BAS), which are then used for purposes of calculating and reporting the business's tax obligations such as GST (Goods and Service Tax) and PAYG (Pay As You Go – for employees). There are fines for getting your BASs wrong, which is why you need a professional to do it.

These professionals are bookkeepers who have additional qualifications as BAS agents. If you're wondering why you should hire a registered BAS bookkeeper for your business, here are a few reasons to make the case:

1. Your bookkeeper already knows your business

Even if you hire a bookkeeper without BAS qualifications, you will need to bring in a registered BAS consultant to do your BA statements, which will cost you double. However, hiring a bookkeeper with BAS registration halves your work since they record the daily business transactions of your business. When it's time to prepare the BA statements, who would be better to handle them, than the person who intimately knows your financial transactions? 

If your business is too small to directly employ a bookkeeper on a fulltime basis, you can outsource the bookkeeping to a bookkeeping firm or contract bookkeeper. However, ensure that whoever is assigned to your accounts is a registered BAS agent, whether individual, partnership or company. 

2. BAS bookkeepers bring something extra to your business

Before a bookkeeper can be registered at a BAS agent, there are stringent requirements that they must fulfil, including completing approved BAS and GST courses and having the necessary experience that allows them to perform their job properly. Such agents are also bound to remain up-to-date with professional training, so your business activity statements will always be in line with the currently applicable laws. They can advise you about how to minimize your obligations and improve your bottom-line without breaking the law.   

3. Registered BAS agents will protect your business

If you select a BAS-registered bookkeeper, you can be sure that you and your business are protected from losses (they must be insured against professional indemnity). If the agent makes a mistake which costs your business money, you can make a claim with their insurer. In addition, the law protects you from liability for penalties in case your BAS agent makes mistakes like failing to submit documents in time or falsifying a statement resulting in a tax shortfall.

However, you must confirm that your BAS agent's registration is valid, or else none of these protections will cover you. Ask the agent for his/her registration information and counter check against the register maintained by the Tax Practitioners Board.