Preparing your books for your Accountant

Small Business

The more work you can do before handing your books over to your accountant, the less donkey work they have to before getting down to the important work of saving you money on
your taxes:

  • If your accountant is doing your monthly book-keeping you should try to make sure you are handing them over records that are well organised
  • Ask them to give you a checklist of all the records they will need each month – that way you know what is expected of you
    • Have all your bank statements together in order
    • List out all cheque payments and make sure all lodgements into your business account are easily identified – REMEMBER – the person preparing your accounts can’t read your mind.
    • Make sure you have all your supplier invoices and receipts as orderly as possible – if you can get your suppliers to give you regular statements even better
    • Have clear records of your sales. If your sales are mostly cash-sales your records will need to be impecable. If your sales are credit sales, you should supply all your sales invoices and details of payments received.
  • If you are doing your monthly book-keeping yourself and just handing over your accounts at the end of the year, then how you keep your records is really up to you
  • Your record keeping will depend on a number of considerations:
    • How methodical you are at keeping your book-keeping up to date
    • How complicated your business transactions are
    • If your business is a straight forward cash in / cash out (or as most businesses … Cash out / Cash out); then spreadsheet records are enough.
    • Whether you can afford to buy accounting software to help keep your purchases and sales records
    • Do some research to find the best software to suit your time and abilities –some are designed especially for small business owners with limited time.

Appointing your Accountant

  • Don’t choose based on price alone – there won’t be a huge difference between firms charge rates these days
  • A lot of firms now have set-fee pricing structures – this way you know exactly how much you are going to pay for the job – they also quite often allow clients to pay the bills on a monthly basis making your cashflow easier to keep on top of
  • Look for referrals from fellow businesspeople you trust – if they are happy with their accountant, chances are you will be too. Their opinion will save you lots of legwork
  • Meet a few different accountants and choose the accountant you feel comfortable with, someone who speaks to you in a language you can understand without making you feel like a fool
  • If you feel they have your interests at heart, you’ll be onto a winner
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