Bookkeeping is not just entering invoices or payments. If it was I think we would be bored by now! What we love is working with such a wide variety of businesses. It is fascinating what people do, the skills and knowledge they have and how their business develops. It makes bookkeeping interesting and provides us with all sorts of challenges.
A day in the life of a bookkeeper is anything but routine – feeding the lambs is just one of the perks!
As businesses grow their bookkeeping moves from fairly basic recording of income and expenditure to finding the best way of taking payments, analysing sales and understanding the VAT implications. Purchases require tight management of cash flow in some businesses particularly where stock and large assets need to be purchased and loan payments have to be made on time.
For some businesses we raise and send sales invoices to their customers. For retail businesses we record their daily or weekly takings and for online sales we have to record sales from various parts of the world (and the VAT complications that go with that!).
But probably one of our most important roles is reconciliation. The term “reconciliation” is used a lot in bookkeeping and accounting and, put simply, means “agreeing the transactions”. So a bank reconciliation is about agreeing the transactions on the bank statement with the bank transactions you have entered into your accounts and therefore expect to go out of your bank account. A bookkeeper will identify the reasons the bank balances do not agree with each other: perhaps because cheques have not yet been cashed so they will be in the accounts but not on the bank statement, or perhaps direct debits which have gone out of the bank which have not been entered into your accounts record.
Reconciliation also applies to other areas of the accounts such as the debtors (the customers who owe you), the creditors (the suppliers you owe), the PAYE account (the amount that is due to HMRC and what you have paid them), the net wages account (ensuring that you have paid all your staff what is due to them and not over or under paid any), the VAT account (ensuring you have paid the due amount on time or received the refund that you are owed). Every section of the accounts needs to be checked and agreed (reconciled) and this is one of the tasks a bookkeeper will do.
We are not accountants. Many bookkeepers are accountants too but we chose not to be because we just prefer bookkeeping and working with our customers on a regular basis. As bookkeepers our role is to prepare accurate accounts to pass to an accountant who will use our figures to produce a self assessment tax return or statutory accounts for submission to Companies House.
We work with the majority of our customers on a monthly basis providing them with up to date and useful information on their business finances. We submit VAT returns monthly for some businesses and quarterly for others and we ensure everything is reconciled and up to date on an ongoing basis. When it comes to the end of the company’s financial year the accounts are reviewed by another bookkeeper who will check the accounts are “tidy” and review the accounts as a whole. Once both bookkeeper and reviewer are happy the accounts are sent to the customer’s accountant.
At the end of every month at least one of our customers will have ended their financial year. On 31st December 16 businesses had their year end and on Friday, just five weeks later, all their accounts have been completed and sent off to their respective accountants. Phew! It wasn’t such a tough job though because if bookkeeping is kept regularly up to date there is nothing more than a final check to be done.
One of the things I like best about being a bookkeeper is seeing the business develop. It is rewarding being able to talk over the business ups and downs with the owner, providing them with relevant information, pointing them in the direction of others when they need help I can’t give and helping them understand what they need to do. It can be lonely being a business owner and it often helps to talk and work things through with someone else who understands.
Whatever stage your business is at a bookkeeper can help you. Its what we love doing. So if you have a business which could do with organisation and up to date reports give us a call to see how we can help you.