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Bookkeeper vs. BAS Agent: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between a bookkeeper and a BAS agent?

 

 

When managing your business’ bookkeeping, you might wonder if you need a bookkeeper, a BAS agent, or both.

While their roles may seem similar, there are significant differences.

 

 

 Key Differences:

  • Bookkeeper: This person manages financial records, bank reconciliations, accounts receivable/payable, and financial reporting and may assist with payroll and HR functions.
  • BAS Agent: A registered professional who handles BAS services, interacts with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), and advises on tax liabilities and obligations under BAS provisions. A BAS Agent must hold professional indemnity insurance, maintain a level of CPD learning annually and brings additional protection to clients in the form of safe harbour should they cause harm to their clients

What is a BAS Service?

  • Ascertaining the withholding obligations for employees of clients, including preparing income statements
  • Calculating leave payments and determining the withholding
  • Applying for an ABN on behalf of a client
  • Advising a client on fuel tax credits
  • Installing computer accounting software and determining default GST and other codes tailored to clients
  • Reconciling BAS provision data entry to ascertain the figures to be included on a client’s activity statement
  • Providing advice about a client’s withholding tax obligations
  • And more…. See https://www.tpb.gov.au/tpbi-382023-what-bas-service

Can a Bookkeeper Provide BAS Services?
Only registered BAS agents can offer BAS services and interact with the ATO on behalf of a business unless they are direct employees. Some bookkeepers are also registered BAS agents and can perform both roles.

To verify if a BAS agent is registered, look for the registered practitioner symbol or check the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) register.

Bookkeeper Responsibilities:

  • Document financial transactions
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Manage bank statements
  • Handle accounts receivable and payable
  • Prepare financial reports
  • Work with tax agents or accountants to ensure tax compliance
  • Assist with payroll and HR functions

A Bookkeeper can’t

  • Decide on GST codes to apply to transactions
  • Allow someone to rely on their figures in their BAS lodgement

BAS Agent Responsibilities:

Defined by the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA), BAS services include:

  • Advising on tax liabilities and obligations under BAS provisions
  • Representing clients in dealings with the ATO about BAS services only
  • Ensuring compliance with the Code of Professional Conduct, including honesty, integrity, independence, confidentiality, and competence
  • Continuing professional education

Services may include:

  • ABN, TFN, GST, and PAYG registration
  • Software setup and training
  • Single Touch Payroll (STP) processing and reporting
  • Superannuation end-of-year reporting
  • Annual taxable payments reporting
  • Monthly or quarterly BAS/IAS return preparation and submission
  • Complex budgeting and reporting

A BAS agent can perform all bookkeeping tasks and has advanced knowledge and experience.

A BAS Agent Can’t

  • Get involved with any issues relating to Income Tax provisions.

If you’re seeking professional help with your bookkeeping or BAS services, ensure you’re working with a registered expert. Visit the TPB website to verify your bookkeeper’s credentials.

Ask Valerie is a qualified BAS agent, so please get in touch to see if we are the right fit for your business. Don’t leave your financial management to chance—secure the expertise you need to stay compliant and efficient!

 

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