Bookkeepers and accountants working together
We’re often asked about the bookkeeper accountant relationship. Generally we see the two offering different services and by working together the client gets the best of both worlds.
For Toni the best outcome is achieved when the incoming information her accounting practice receives is accurate and fully reconciled. “This gives us the scope to focus the real issues at hand for the clients such as growth of the business, profit and cashflow,” she says.
Taking the bookkeeper perspective, Briohny says: “Whenever I get an accountant to review work for end-of-year, I always ask for feedback (yes positive and negative). Having an open relationship between the accountant, bookkeeper and client makes everyone’s life easier”.
How it can work
To explain how the bookkeeper accountant relationship can work, Melanie Morris of Bookkeeping and Beyond Ltd offers this overview:
- Generally day-to-day accounts functions can be undertaken by bookkeeper at a more cost effective rate than accountant such as Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, GST/ BAS returns.
- Bookkeepers can notify and defer to an accountant on tricky transactions that require a higher level of expertise and which may have tax implications.
- Accountants have a better understanding of the tax returns and get the best outcome for clients in terms of company set up, large purchases and depreciation.
- Bookkeepers will bring any issues to the accountant throughout the year rather than wait until year-end.
- The year-end work (undertaken by the accountant) should be more streamlined if accounts have been prepared by a good bookkeeper rather than someone without specialist knowledge in this area.
- Accountants can outsource their overflow accounts work to a bookkeeper.
- If the bookkeeper is taking care of the day-to-day accounts and base compliance, the accountant’s time is freed up to undertake the trusted financial advisor role by working with the client on business growth, strategic planning and cashflow budgeting.
Sometimes we hear about friction between the two groups but I believe this stems from the lack of visibility and transparency inherent when using desktop accounting systems, resulting in a lag in completing a client’s accounts. Products like Xero are paving the way for better collaboration between bookkeepers and accountants because both sides can now be working on the same set of data for their mutual clients.
We have always tried to support the relationship between bookkeepers and accountants beyond providing the software that allows it, so it was gratifying to hear Toni’s perspective on this. “Xero has a hands on approach to working with both partners and the events, webinars and Xerocon not only provide a collaborative environment but both parties are encouraged to attend which is great for networking. Account managers also invest in both for success.”
We’d love to hear how you’ve found the bookkeeper accountant relationship – as a client or as one of these professionals. What works and what doesn’t?
Read more about Accountants
27 April 2012 #