When you’re trying to get your business off the ground there is so much to take in. As the founder, you’re trying to play the role of a million different people, so it’s pretty easy to accidentally miss something important.
“The number one mistake we see business owners make is trying to do it all and not asking for help,” explains MYOB Certified Consultant and recent MYOB Partner Awards ‘Young Bookkeeper of the Year’ finalist, Karly Grundy. “They might spend hours or days on something that could have been solved with a five-minute phone call or email to a bookkeeper”.
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Grundy has often seen business owners trying to reconcile their bank accounts without really knowing what they’re doing – a method that can often end in a very big mess.
“A lot of what Accountants and Bookkeepers do is not immediately visible to the general public,” Grundy continues. “[We] have discussions about wealth creation and investments involving shares and property, train our clients on how to best use their accounting programs [and more]”.
“It actually goes much deeper than the activities though. I really value the relationships I have built with my clients and how I’m able to support them in their businesses.”
“One of my clients had been in business for 15 years when we first started working together… I manually entered two years’ worth of bank statements to accurately identify his financial position and through the process, was able to collect over $25,000 in unpaid invoices.”
We asked Grundy how to know when your own business is ready for a bookkeeping upgrade.
1. When Your Personal Relationships Are Becoming Strained
Family relationships and friendships can easily sour and become toxic with the type of pressure that comes with starting a company.
“It can get quite messy and complicated when you have someone you know helping with your books,” Grundy suggests. “[There can also be] scheduling issues finding the time to work together. [Family] usually have their own work commitments, often working for free to help out.”
“Having someone [who is] close to you offering their opinions on what you should be doing can lead to issues in the relationship down the track. Having a professional means you are getting sound, up to date advice.”
2. When Accurate Bookkeeping Is Taking Too Long
If you haven’t trained and practiced as an accountant or bookkeeper, chances are very high that you’re missing important information that a professional wouldn’t. Not to mention it’ll take you a lot longer than someone who knows what they’re doing.
“As this is our job, we can enter and analyse data a lot faster than someone who is self-taught,” explains Grundy. It also means that you can rest assured that your data is always up to date and accurate.
3. When You Haven’t Adopted Online Tools
As with everything else in life these days, your accounting can all be done online, meaning you don’t have to wait until scheduled appointments with your accountant or bookkeeper to know what’s going on anymore.
“All documents can be uploaded directly into the file from the client and we can complete the work without having to wait for information,” Grundy says.
“As a practice we decided that we were going to use MYOB as our main platform for our accounting clients and we have around 95% of our clients on MYOB,” she explains.
“I personally choose to train with MYOB because they are extremely supportive and really want to make sure they are delivering the best products to both the accounting industry and their business clients.”
4. When You’re Stretched Too Thin
If you’re trying to grow your business, you need someone who can constantly monitor the financial side of things. The reality is, as the owner, you usually don’t have this kind of time.
According to Grundy, hiring accountants and bookkeepers means having someone who can provide accurate advice on what you could alter or advance to reach that next level.
“Having an accountant or bookkeeper allows the business owner to focus on running their business, rather than spending all of their time doing paperwork,” explains Grundy.
“It gives them more time to spend with clients and the freedom outside of work to spend time with their family.”
5. When Your Mistakes Are Costing You Money
At first glance, it might seem like managing the books yourself is the cheapest option – but mistakes can be costly and easy to make when you don’t have the right training.
Grundy explains that without an accountant or bookkeeper reviewing the data on a regular basis, large mistakes won’t be noticed until it’s time to create the Business Activity Statements or tax time.
“This means that we have to spend longer correcting the file to fix up the errors… that may have cost the client money. When we are reviewing the file regularly we are able to help find more efficient ways to complete the work, fix up errors as they occur and be able to advise in a timely manner so the business owner can make accurate decisions at the correct time.”
If you’ve been sitting there nodding along, and chances are most of you were, it could be time to hire an accountant or bookkeeper.