We frequently receive phone calls from business owners who are in need of a part-time or full-time bookkeeper, but while they feel they “need” a bookkeeper, they’re frequently reluctant participants who would much rather if they didn’t have to pay for this “necessary evil”. They’re only doing it because they’re backed into a corner by the ATO and their compliance obligations, and frequently the catalyst for the call is because they’ve fallen behind on their paperwork and can’t seem to keep on top of it with all the other daily responsibilities of running a company.
Naturally, first-time customers are worried that we’ll have a vested interest in working as slowly as we can and charging them for as much time as we can. But as we work with them we demonstrate through our commitment that it’s actually in everyone’s best interests, including ours, to be super-efficient, proactive, and add value to their company.
There are thousands of bookkeepers in Australia and, as with any industry, you will encounter bookkeepers who have varying degrees of work ethic, experience, and passion for their job. At Top Class Accounts, we’ve always been driven by an intense desire to be the best bookkeepers in Australia, bar none. From our early days over ten years ago, we were already focussed on employing only the very best bookkeepers, providing them with exceptional training and support, transferring the lessons we learned into improved processes and documented systems, and continually focussing on improving the quality of our service.
With this kind of ethos underpinning all our client engagements, it has been our experience that a bookkeeper actually becomes an invaluable asset and secret weapon in the management and growth of the companies we deal with.
Unfortunately it is often human nature to avoid unpleasantness and problems that we don’t want to face. Particularly when it comes to GST, PAYG, Superannuation, and tax compliance, it is possible to string things out for months if not years before the ATO comes knocking – but eventually, they do. As much as we’d like to think we can avoid them forever, the ATO is systematic and methodical and will invariably catch up with you if you’ve not been lodging your BAS and paying your liabilities. And when they do, they have far-reaching powers you may not be aware of.
In the first instance, the ATO will start charging you penalties. They can charge penalties for non-lodgement or late lodgement of your BAS/IAS. They can also charge penalties for late or non-payment of the amounts due to the ATO. But if you haven’t lodged your BAS or your Company Tax Return, they may also start deeming your liability based on industry data or your past history. In this case, they may assume you have a debt to them far in excess of the reality.
Once these debts mount far enough, the ATO can also issue a Garnishee Order to your Bank and seize money directly out of your bank account. If stress about your late payments wasn’t already enough, this can sink your business then and there. If you were to arrive at the office tomorrow and find there’s no money left in your bank account, how much longer could you keep trading?
The ATO also has the power to issue a ‘wind up’ notice. This is most frequently done as a last resort, so it may come after you’ve defaulted on payment arrangements. At this point, they’re highly unlikely to negotiate at all. You’ll either need to find enough money to pay your entire debt to them immediately, or your business will be wound up.
By contrast with all these stressful situations, if you have a proactive bookkeeper keeping your financial records up-to-date, providing monthly reports and offering insights into the financial condition of your business, reminding you of upcoming obligations, preparing cashflow forecasts, improving your Accounts Receivable collections, and monitoring your liabilities and obligations, you are now in a position where you can focus on developing your business and growing your client base, without needing to stress about the financial health of your company.
A Top Class bookkeeper will help you stay on top of the financial management of your business and ensure that, even when you’re under pressure in other areas of the business, you never need to worry that the financial health of your company is being neglected.