Bookkeeper Vs BAS Agent: What Is The Difference

Tuesday, 25 Jun 2019

Any job which is related to number crunching and finance management gets termed as accounting or bookkeeping by most people. However, we make a grave mistake by categorising accountants, bookkeepers, BAS agents and tax agents in the same league.

They all have different job functions, qualifications and authorities extended to them by the legislation in Australia. An important thing to remember is that you need both bookkeepers in Melbourne and BAS agents to keep the books in order and handle the work which can be managed by a registered agent to follow the guidelines and abide by the rules.

If you want to know how these two can prove helpful for your business and what their importance is, let us discuss their similarities and differences in detail. All of them need certifications and training to start working as bookkeepers, accountants and BAS agents.

Role And Responsibilities Of A Bookkeeper

If you have a dedicated person employed to take care of the books, then you have a bookkeeper in place for your business in Melbourne. They are involved in keeping up-to-date financial records for every quarter and at the end of the fiscal year.

A bookkeeper must have acquired the Certificate IV qualification to be trusted as being eligible for the job. The primary responsibilities of an efficient bookkeeper in Melbourne are tracking the incomings and outgoings of the business. They can process, reconcile and report transactions taking place.

On the other hand, anybody with a background in finance and an accounting degree can be termed as an accountant, and they can share the same responsibilities. However, accountants who have CPA or CA qualifications are considered to be highly competent and capable of playing a significant role in financial management.

They are seasoned enough to advise on a plethora of matters and take charge of them such as sales planning, cash flow predictions, budgeting, profit and loss assessment and much more. So these highly qualified accountants in Melbourne are rated a notch higher than bookkeepers.

Here is a rundown of the daily responsibilities of a bookkeeper:

Keeping a record of all the financial transactions with the help of accounting software that reduces the possibilities of human error and supplies the management with real-time data.

Preparing and sending out invoices on time, every time and following up with the defaulters as well as sending receipts to debtors in Melbourne.

Processing payroll, preserving employee records and managing entitlements

Conducting bank reconciliations.

Reporting accurately for the preparation of the Business Activity Statement.

Finding any slip-ups in the data and bringing it to the notice of the management.

Taking care of the balance sheets, income statements and financial documents.

Do All Bookkeepers Need To Be BAS Agents?

No, all bookkeepers don’t need to become BAS agents. However, if a business in Melbourne needs BAS services and is hiring a third party for it, they must ensure that they are registered BAS agents and tax agents to comply with the code. A registered BAS agent must have the required qualifications and experience as stated in the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 (TASR).

A bookkeeper can choose to become a BAS agent which needs registration with the Tax Practitioners Board. A BAS agent is qualified to provide a host of services which are beyond the capacity of a bookkeeper. However, a bookkeeper can also process transactions which involve GST and payroll, if they are supervised by a BAS agent.

This supervision becomes mandatory as the TPB is particular about checking the control exerted on the tasks being performed by a bookkeeping company in Melbourne.

Why Does A Business Need A BAS Agent?

A BAS agent is required by every business to provide assistance and advice and represent the entity in front of the ATO. The BAS agents have to maintain their registration through the completion of various educational requirements, and they have to comply with the Code of Professional Conduct at all times.

Additionally, they have to maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance. They can perform all the duties of a bookkeeper and a multitude of other functions within an organisation in Melbourne, such as:

They prepare and lodge the Business Activity Statement and provide recommendations on BAS and payroll obligations which must involve the liabilities and entitlements.

They design, supervise, check and advise on the compliance system around GST, indirect taxes on the BAS and payroll systems.

They assess the financial reports to offer far-sighted advice and certainty around GST, indirect taxes on the BAS and payroll systems.

They take care of everything that needs to be presented to the ATO regarding BAS provisions and payroll matters such as providing payment summaries, Tax file number, report superannuation, and submitting an application for Australian Business Number in Melbourne, etc.

As a result, BAS agents can assist businesses in GST, fuel tax, FBT, luxury car taxes, withholding tax amounts, and PAYG dues.

Who Are Tax Agents?

The fourth category which is known as tax agents can offer tax-related services which involve ascertaining, providing advice and representing the business to income tax matters.

Thus they are eligible to perform everything that a BAS agent does in addition to taking care of income tax matters. They are registered with the Tax Practitioners Board and are licensed to do taxes. They assist in determining the right amount of tax to be paid by an entity in Melbourne. They have the following responsibilities:

Working out liabilities, obligations and entitlements under the taxation law.

Representing the business in front of the Commissioner of Taxation

Assisting organisations in satisfying obligations or liabilities or claiming entitlements under the taxation law.


Now that you know the functions performed by each service provider, you are in a better position to hire the right person for your business in Melbourne. Depending on the needs of your organisation and the qualifications of the individual, you can make an informed decision about the financial assistance required.

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