A necessary part of running any business is keeping the books. A bookkeeper can help provide timely financial records, management reports and cash flows used in ongoing business decisions. However as your business grows so may what you are outlaying on bookkeeping fees. Here are 6 tips you can implement to potentially reduce your bookkeeping fees:
Feedback: Actively ask members of the financial team if they can identify areas to reduce bookkeeping charges. Both the bookkeeper and the accountant may offer up suggestions for trimming waste.
Communication: Encourage the bookkeeper and accountant to share contact details and have an open relationship, so queries can be dealt with in a timely basis minimising headaches down the track.
Time Tracking: Track time spent on each task to assist in identifying inefficiencies that in turn can be addressed. Use paper, a spread sheet or an online time tracking system like minutedock < https://minutedock.com>. Track the time it takes to complete typical bookkeeping duties; Filing, data entry, paying bills, chasing debts, payroll, producing reports. Address excessive time spent on tasks by reviewing and re-developing existing processes and / or further training.
Training: Up skill staff with specialised training to improve productivity. There’s a variety of training available; there is training manuals, online and classroom training for leading versions of accounting software companies. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) run free business information sessions on a regular basis. Also consider investing in an intensive one-on-one session with an expert to review current processes and recognise areas for improvement.
In-House: Outsourcing bookkeeping as your business grows allows you to leverage your time, but if the bill is now sizeable you may consider bringing the bookkeeping in-house and employing someone to undertake the duties. In-house bookkeepers are considerably cheaper than outsourcing, and they are a resource available for other areas of your business. Don’t however just end the contract with the outsourced bookkeeper — reduce their hours but keep them as part of the Finance support team support, available to empower your in-house bookkeeper as needed.
Technology: Review efficiencies of existing accounting systems, is it time to upgrade to an automated cloud based accounting solution? Businesses are experiencing significant reduction in processing time moving to cloud based systems – ask your accountant if it suits your business model. Is there capacity to make improvements to the processing speed of computers, in-house networks, and the Internet connection? A network specialist can assess the speed of technology in the office and offer suggestions for improvement.
Finally if your bookkeeper isn’t already doing it, get him or her to set-up and utilise the ATO business portal to submit Activity Statements and communicate with the ATO on a timely basis.
Paper Flow: Review efficiencies of managing paperwork to ensure that source documents are correctly dated and filed. As the paperless office is still some distant future dream, we still need to ensure that document management systems are in place to capture these important records. You need files and procedures to store the following paperwork:
- Purchase Agreements
- Lease Agreements
- Invoices – PDF or Paper
- OH&S and other regulatory documents
- Terms and Conditions
- Test & Tag Data Sheets
- Manufacturers Warranties
(tip: photocopy parring receipts and other receipts printed on thermal paper, as these will fade over time, and will not be accepted by the ATO)
Guest post written by Heather Smith, author of ‘Xero for Dummies’; watch and subscribe to her free Xero videos on YouTube, listen to her Cloud Stories podcast, or join the Xero MasterMind FaceBook group: for advanced Xero heroes!
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