The Australian Small Business Blog

Friday, November 29, 2013

Things to ask your Bookkeeper before the weekend...

by Tim Johnston

It’s great to have someone that has their finger on the pulse of your business. While your Tax Accountant keeps there eye on the “big Picture,” your Bookkeeper knows exactly where you stand financially today! Some clients comment how they don’t know how we can stand number-crunching for a living. However it’s not the bean counting side of things that we love but being able to sit down with a business owner and help them understand their business.

Of course your bookkeeper should know who owes you and who you owe. But they should also be able to tell you things like:

- Who is your most profitable client?
- What is your most profitable product line or service?
- How’s the cash flow looking to cover the next BAS payment?

You’re probably used to your bookkeeper rushing to finish everything off at the end of the week then rush out the door. Try to set aside 30 minutes before they leave each week to tap their brain while everything is fresh and up to date. Here’s a draft agenda for your Weekly Bookkeeper Meeting:

- Weekly bank and credit card reconciliations- this should be the first thing tabled at the end of the week. All of your other reports are meaningless unless this is up to date. Keeping a weekly bank rec is also your primary tool for picking up any fraudulent transactions.

- Weekly Revenue and Margin Analysis- Unless you bill weekly, detailed net profit analysis may need to be left till month end. However you can still easily track your revenue and gross margin on a weekly basis through Work in Progress (WIP) reporting.

- Weekly Cash-flow Analysis can be a crucial tool for any business. While most accounting software is quite weak in this regard, there are some great and inexpensive add-on solutions that automatically link up to the data in your accounting software to give you detailed cashflow projections factoring in things like BAS’s and Superannuation payments.

These are just starting points for your Weekly Bookkeeper Meeting. Your bookkeeper may be hesitant and not want to appear to tell you how to run your business. On the other hand if you as the business owner don’t have an accounting background it can be difficult to know what questions to ask. By sitting down together on a weekly basis you will both get to know which information is crucial for monitoring the performance of your business.

So book in some time with your bookkeeper- they will appreciate it and with more answers than questions in your head, you’ll enjoy your weekends a lot more!

Tim Johnston is a CPA and previous BRW Fast Starter. For more bookkeeping tips check www.booksonsite.com.au

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