The Festival Bookkeeping story



I grew up in small mining towns, attended high school in Whyalla, South Australia, and got my first job as a legal secretary for a law firm there. This was also my first foray into studying at TAFE, where I was introduced to the mysteries of double entry bookkeeping.  (Little did I know this would make an appearance further down the track and become a big part of my life).

Fast forward 22 years and I’m now married with 2 children and living in Adelaide. I’ve studied and gained an Advanced Diploma in Accounting and gained the experience and extra studies required to become a Registered BAS Agent.  In between I’ve worked in accounting and administration for large corporations, for several small businesses, government organisations and a non-profit.  On the side I’ve sold Body Shop products in people’s homes where I first learned to become comfortable standing up and speaking in front of groups of people.  Without knowing it at the time, this equipped me with the confidence and skills needed to teach accounting to students at TAFE in the following years.

So this has all culminated in where I am today – having a small business based in the North Eastern suburbs of Adelaide that enables me to help other local business owners with their finances and also teaching students at TAFE.  Two things I love doing.

And that is basically the Festival Bookkeeping story. I hope that by reading this you have been able to gain an insight into both my personal and business background and why I love to do what I do.

Oh, and the short version of the story:

Country girl turned City Girl. Accounting Nerd. Small business owner helping other small business owners.

Happy bookkeeping…

You can find me on Facebook here: Festival Bookkeeping

And find me on Instagram here: Festival Bookkeeping

Financial Checklists – Help Needed

Financial Checklists

Calling fellow bloggers and readers…

I recently posted Save Time and Remove Doubt With your Bookkeeping and had a question from a follower and small business owner based in the US. She is looking for a good checklist to help her compile her tax records at the end of the financial year. She is a fellow blogger passionate about her industry and improving her business processes.

Are there any readers who can help? Maybe you are a small business owner based in the US.  Or you could be a bookkeeper or accountant based in the US willing to point us in the right direction?

Tax records differ from country to country so it would be interesting to see what information is out there and get some great tips along the way.

Love to hear from you…


Save Time & Remove Doubt with your Bookkeeping

Save Doubt

To remove doubt and streamline processes in your business, why not employ some of the techniques that professional bookkeepers use for their clients?

One of these techniques is using checklists.

Here are some examples:

  • At the end of every financial year you need to get your paperwork organised for your accountant. What was it they needed again?
  • You have hired a new employee. You know they need to fill in some forms – some need to be sent off, some are kept on file and some are given to the employee – and you want to make sure you have all the right ones completed in the correct timeframe.
  • You are completing your Business Activity Statement. You know there are some end of period procedures you should be doing first, and what were those reports you were meant to be looking at? Wasn’t there something you were meant to be reconciling?

Using a checklist will give you confidence

Also, once you have a trusty checklist to refer to you will save time with your bookkeeping. You won’t be going back and forth checking websites, pulling out books or asking other people.

Besides those 2 great reasons to use checklists that I just mentioned – isn’t it fun ticking items off a checklist (or is that just me?).

Side Note: For readers who didn’t think it was possible to use the words “fun” and “bookkeeping” in the same post, I have another post written back when I started blogging a couple of years ago you may like to read:  The post in which I mention bookkeeping and fun in the same sentence.

Checklists have served me well in study as well as in my work and business life. Can you think of some aspect of your business or work life that could be improved by the simple act of creating and using a checklist?

Some more quick tips for the busy small business owner:

Happy bookkeeping…

9 Rights You Have as an Employee

9 rights you have as an employee

There are certain procedures and conditions an employer must have in place for their employees in Australia.

Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for any of these things if they aren’t currently being provided – it may be the case that your employer didn’t know themselves.

  • Payslips – must be provided to you within 1 working day of being paid, even if you are on leave.
  • Holiday and personal leave balances – must be provided to you if you request it.
  • Superannuation – has to be paid into your nominated super fund at least every 3 months.
  • Deductions – if you are under 18 your employer cannot deduct money from your pay unless your parent/guardian has agreed in writing.
  • Jury duty – your employer must give you leave to attend jury selection and jury duty (called community service leave). This includes casual employees. You must give your employer reasonable notice of the leave and, if they ask for it, evidence of the need to attend the community service.
  • Payment Summaries – must be provided to you by 14th July, even if no tax was withheld from your pay.
  • Fair work information statement – must be provided to you before, or as soon as possible after, you begin employment.
  • Extra tax – if you want your employer to deduct extra PAYG withholding tax from your pay then you must both agree in writing.
  • Tax File Number declaration form – must be provided to you when you begin employment, and your employer must submit the completed form to ATO within 14 days of your start date.

These are just some of the rights you have as an employee, but there are a few more that are useful to know. These can be found on the Australian Government’s Fair Work website and the ATO website.

Related posts:

Happy bookkeeping…

4 Easy Ways to go Paperless

Watercolour splash final

I think the first hurdle to going paperless is probably a psychological one – you like knowing that you can physically hold those important pieces of paper and it is hard to change systems that you’ve been using successfully for years.

I’ve recently gone through the process of getting accounting records to an auditor who was interstate. It involved a lot of scanning of supporting paperwork, which was very time consuming. Now that I’ve gone through that process I’ve changed the way I work throughout the year for that organisation so that I will be better prepared for next year’s audit. The added bonus is that more of the organisation’s documents will be saved in soft copy that can be easily backed up with the rest of the accounting information.

Here are 4 easy ways you can go paperless:

1.  Online banking

This is probably the easiest and most readers have probably already embraced this one. Pretty much everything can be paid by electronic funds transfer, credit card or PayPal. If other people are responsible for making payments in your business, don’t forget to protect your hard-earned cash by having 2 separate people responsible for authorising online payments.

2.  Emailing customer invoices and statements

No need to print them out and post them – email them from your accounting software instead.

3.  Cloud accounting software

If you don’t have reliable internet, then cloud accounting software may not suit your business. However cloud accounting software providers are introducing more and more features to help you move towards having a paperless office. For example, you can have bank transaction info fed into your accounting program direct from the bank. Another example is saving copies of documents that have been sent to you straight into your software without having to print them off first. Whilst entering transactions in Xero I can use my laptop’s webcam to take a photo of supporting documents and attach them right then and there. Very cool!

Australian businesses have the option of keeping electronic copies of source documents instead of hard copies, as long as these copies meet the requirements outlined by the Australian Taxation Office. Be sure to check the record keeping requirements applicable to your country.

4.  Paperless Reporting

For those of us Down Under, the Australian Taxation Office is very much moving towards paper-less reporting. I’m sure the tax authority in your own respective country is either offering options for paperless reporting, or will be in the near future. For example, Business Activity Statements can be lodged electronically using the Business Portal. You can get a nice little reminder email when the next one is available to complete and lodge, as well as direct confirmation that your BAS have been received (no more posting it in the mail and hoping they receive it on the other end).

These tools are just the tip of the

I’m not suggesting everyone jump in the deep end and eliminate every piece of paper in the office – one step at a time is great and will give you a chance to get used to new ways of working without being overwhelmed. On the other hand, you might be an all-or-nothing person that wants to jump right in and embrace the concept fully.

I wish you well in your quest to go paperless!

What tools do you love that have helped you go paperless? Don’t be shy – I would love to hear your ideas in the comments section below!

My 3 most popular posts of 2015

My 3 most popular postsPosts about not-for-profit bookkeeping have topped my list of most viewed posts of the past year.  Followed closely by my more general bookkeeping posts.

In case you missed them (or would like a re-cap) here they are:

  1. Not-for-profits – 6 Ways Your Bookkeeping Differs from Other Organisations
  2. What Does a Treasurer Do?
  3. 4 Common Bookkeeping Mistakes

Thanks for your support throughout the past year.  I’m looking forward to providing more information and insight into not-for-profit and small business bookkeeping in 2016. Hope you can come along for the ride.

Happy bookkeeping…




2015 – The year that was for Cloud Accounting Software

As a small business owner or non-profit are you contemplating moving your accounting software to the cloud, or thinking of changing which product you use?

This is a really great round-up of significant improvements and changes in cloud accounting software throughout 2015, as well as some insights into where accounting software may be headed in 2016. Margaret of Cloud Accounting Buzz knows her stuff when it comes to accounting software, so I hope you might be able to get something out of this post. Enjoy!

Source: 2015 – The year that was for Cloud Accounting Software

Tip for Small Business – Better Cashflow # 2

Phone call business





You may have read my previous tip on improving cashflow in your small business, found here Better Cashflow # 1. I have another idea you can easily implement in your small business to help boost your bank account and have more money available when you need it.

It revolves around the following fact:

The sooner you contact an overdue customer, the more likely you are to get paid.

So improve your chances of being paid on time by having a collections policy.

A collections policy is basically deciding on the steps you are going to take when a customer hasn’t paid their invoice by the due date and putting those steps in writing.

For example:

  • Invoice 1 week overdue. Send a friendly reminder by email
  • Invoice 2 weeks overdue. Phone the customer. Discuss why overdue.
  • Invoice 3 weeks overdue. Phone the customer. Discuss payment plan if needed.

You can still be flexible and use your judgement on a case by case basis. But overall you will lay down the framework for what action to take and when. You set aside time on a regular basis to sit down and work through outstanding invoices – you make it a priority.

An important part of your collections policy is to keep track of who you have contacted and when. This helps whether you have an in-house bookkeeper, outsource your bookkeeping or whether you are responsible for your own business accounts.

You will find that over time your customers will start to pay you sooner. If they need to decide what invoices get paid this week, you are more likely to be at the top of their list.

You are not being rude by following up outstanding invoices – you are simply a business owner running your business in a professional manner.

You can find more helpful tips on customer invoicing in Keeping on top of customer payments and also 14 Cashflow Tips for Small Business

Have you run a report lately to see how much your customers owe you and how overdue those invoices are? How much more cash would be in your bank account helping to cover your own expenses if those customer had paid on time?