BAS

Bookkeeping Tip – Queries for Accountant

Question MarkI just had to share this bookkeeping tip – it’s too good to keep to myself.

If you use Reckon for bookkeeping, you’ve no doubt used the “Find” feature at some stage to track down a past transaction. It’s quick and easy to use and I couldn’t do without it. Ctrl + F are the shortcut keys.

But just using the Find feature isn’t my tip.

Do you have transactions throughout the year that you aren’t 100% sure you have entered correctly and that you want your accountant to have a look over before your financial reports are finalised? Perhaps you have some GST transactions that you want your BAS Agent to look over before they prepare your BAS?

Well when you enter those transactions simply type “??” into the memo field. When it comes time to meet with your accountant or BAS Agent you simply use the Find feature (Advanced tab) to search for those transactions and generate a report. You can either print this off or memorise the report so that your accountant or BAS agent can simply click on each transaction and be taken straight to it.

No more having to stop and write down your queries on scrap pieces of paper or scrambling to remember what it was exactly you had trouble with throughout the year!

I can’t take full credit for coming up with this idea. It’s a gem of advice I picked up when I recently attended a Reckon workshop that I wrote about in my post So I attended a training workshop today.

For more Reckon tips you can read my previous post 4 Reckon Features to Save you Time.

Happy bookkeeping…

What does a Treasurer do?

CommunitySo maybe you are thinking of taking on the role of Treasurer at a not-for-profit organisation. But you want to know what you are getting yourself in for first? Read on for some of the more common tasks of a Treasurer.

It is the Treasurer’s job to keep the finances of an organisation healthy – so the organisation can achieve its mission. It’s an important role and, depending on the size of the organisation, it could involve an hour every month or several hours a week.

You don’t need to have an accounting background to be a good Treasurer. An eye for detail certainly helps, together with a basic knowledge of how the organisation works and knowledge of how money flows in and out of an organisation. If you do have an accounting background, you may like to read my previous post Not-for-profits – 6 ways your bookkeeping differs from other organisations.

You will need good communication skills as you will need to attend meetings and explain financial reports to committee members who may or may not share your enthusiasm or knowledge of financial matters.

Financial Reporting
This includes recording all financial transactions of the organisation and preparing financial statements at regular intervals. It also includes budget preparation and keeping an eye on whether groups are spending within their budgets.

Larger organisations may employ a staff member to record transactions, however the Treasurer will need to keep an overall eye on the finances.

Some organisations may use computer software to record transactions & prepare financial reports, however small organisations may use spreadsheets.

Procedures
Written financial procedures need to be reviewed and updated regularly. Anyone else should be able to walk into the role and pick up where you left off. It is also provides a degree of protection for the organisation and its people.

Correct authorisation of transactions is a key issue, as well as having strong internal control procedures in place to prevent theft or fraud. You may need to assist with audits.

Fundraising
You may be asked to prepare funding proposals for grants, with the assistance of other board members.

Risk minimisation
Part of keeping an eye on the finances of the organisation is alerting board members to potential risks such as low funds or future, large expenses.

Taxes and Industry Specific Legislation
The Treasurer should educate themselves on the main legislation that applies to the particular organisation. For example in Australia this could include GST, PAYG withholding and ACNC requirements.

So that is the basics of what you may be asked to do as a Treasurer. Depending on your work background it may be quite a large learning curve for you, however don’t underestimate the satisfaction you can get from devoting your time to a worthwhile cause. It is also a great opportunity to get together with people who share your interests and passions. Don’t forget to add it to your resume and make use of the networking opportunities that being on a committee can bring.

Have you been a Treasurer before? Was it a positive experience for you – please add your comments below.

Common GST Mistakes

Even though we have had the Goods and Services Tax here in Australia since July 2000 there are some GST rules that are harder to remember than others – particularly if we aren’t entering these transactions on a regular basis. Included here are some of the more common errors.

  • Claiming all of the GST of an expense that is part personal – you can only claim that portion of the expense relating to the business.
  • Claiming GST credits for contractors or suppliers not registered for GST
  • Claiming GST credits for residential rental property expenses
  • Claiming GST on the total of business insurance policies – GST cannot be claimed on the stamp duty component of the premium. For more info on GST and stamp duty, click on the link to my previous article Entering Transactions with GST.
  • Claiming GST credits for bank fees and charges.
  • Not claiming GST credits for credit card merchant fees
  • Claiming GST credits for wages and superannuation
  • Claiming GST credits for fines

If in doubt about the way you are entering any of your GST transactions, it is a good idea to speak to a BAS agent, accountant or to refer to the ATO publications on GST, which can be viewed online or sent out to you via post.

Happy bookkeeping…

Have you heard about cashflow forecasting?

Have you comColourful building block graphe across the term cashflow forecasting whilst skimming through business material? Maybe you have heard about it and thought to yourself that it’s pretty important but I don’t have time to look into it now?

Typically, a cashflow forecast shows your bank balance at the beginning of the period, the money you expect to come in, the money you expect to go out and then your final bank balance at the end of the period.

It gives you a chance to see periods in the year ahead where cash may be tight and periods where you may have extra cash on hand. Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, you can make more informed decisions about when to make your more expensive purchases or when you may need to look for additional finance.

For example – maybe you have kept an eye on your Profit & Loss Statement and your business is making a profit, however you don’t seem to have much cash on hand to pay your bills. You may have been spending money on capital items, have had to pay GST owed to the ATO or have large amounts of outstanding customer invoices – these transactions aren’t reported on your Profit & Loss Statement and are easily overlooked when trying to figure out where your money is going!

Reckon and MYOB both have cashflow forecasting tools. Otherwise a spreadsheet will also do the job. If you have been in business for a while you can use figures from the previous year and build on those.

If you would like to read more cashflow tips, click on the link to my previous article 14 Cashflow tips for small business.

Do you use some form of cashflow forecasting in your business – maybe the MYOB or Reckon tools? What do you think of them – I’d love to hear your thoughts.