CFO, Accountant, Bookkeeper, what the hell is the difference? Read our knowledgebase to learn about the three main accounting roles, and what they do inside your business.

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Accurate accounting can make the difference when operating a successful business. Having access to professionally prepared financial reports and information on things like tax minimization can help you make the most of your revenue and make informed decisions that will allow you to grow your business. Getting accurate data regarding your business can be time consuming, with NextClimb you’ll have access to all of your important financial information in a timely fashion and be able to make snap decisions with the confidence they will positively benefit your business outcomes. Having this information readily available, along with a skilled professional to help you interpret it can also save your business from issues with compliance and regulatory obligations, which can result in massive fines and penalties in interest. Overall, it’s important to ensure your accounting processes are in check and there’s no easier or more effective way to do that than partnering with NextClimb Accounting.

Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is the process of recording, analyzing, and interpreting the financial transactions of a business or individual. This accounts for a large proportion of the accounting process and is the basis of your accounting and financial planning. A bookkeepers duty is to set up financial statements so that an accountant can easily perform legal and tax management in a timely manner. By hiring a skilled bookkeeper you are ensuring that tax and other obligations will be met, your business planning will be more efficient, and you will have easy access to a range of financial reporting documents.

Although bookkeepers aren’t required to have a license to practice, it’s extremely important that you have a skilled and experienced individual handling your business transactions. Ensure that your bookkeeper is registered as a BAS agent with the tax practitioner’s board. We only work with highly skilled and accomplished bookkeepers that understand the importance of the documents they handle on a daily basis. This also guarantees that documents will be well prepared and in order

Just like any professional there are some basic skills that you would expect a bookkeeper to have, these include reconciling bank accounts, processing payroll, handling both accounts payable and receivable, and tracking that information appropriately. You should be able to expect your bookkeeper to do all of these with a high level of quality. However, having bookkeepers that can complete specialised tasks such as communicating important information and generating easy to understand reports can set you apart and streamline your accounting activities more effectively.

While there are some universal elements to bookkeeping, there are definitely industry-specific skills and knowledge that your bookkeeper needs to be aware of. For example, a bookkeeper that specialises in photographers is going to have a slightly different skill set than a bookkeeper that’s great at working for general contractors. Ultimately a bookkeeper that is experienced in your field might be a better option than a generalist who just understands the basics.

After hiring a bookkeeper, you should expect them to keep in close contact and have good communication skills, which enable them to correspond important information to you. It’s not as simple as set it and forget it. You want someone who will engage with your business and be there to discuss and review business transactions including what’s coming up and what’s late. It’s important to note how they communicate as well as do they respond quickly to emails or call clients back promptly? And how this affects their pricing. Hiring a bookkeeper is an expense; know what you’re getting in return!

Your bookkeeper will have access to all of your business’ financials so it’s important they come with stellar reviews. If your prospective bookkeeper has client reviews, get them and go through them thoroughly, if they don’t move on to the next applicant. Getting references from industries that are similar to yours can also be extremely beneficial, that way you have a basis point to gage what their former clients are saying. It’s important to discuss their skills but also their accountability, their ethics, and their commitment. It’s also important to make sure you address non-disclosure and privacy issues and are able to trust who you are hiring.

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ACCOUNTING

In a nutshell, accounting is the recording of financial transactions and involves storing, sorting, retrieving, summarizing, and presenting relevant information in various reports and analysis. All of this helps you run your business effectively and ensure everything you’re doing is above board. It goes without saying that having a qualified accountant who understands the importance of all of these processes and knows how to do them well, is extremely important. By having relevant information on hand at any time you can ensure that you’re making positive business decisions and investing wisely in your financial future at all times.

Our fees are based on how much work we do. If your books are in a satisfactory state, and the amount of time to review and verify the general leger balances is brief, it will cost you less overall. This is because it will take us less time to prepare financial reports and complete tax returns, which results in a lower fee. However if the general ledgers are not reconciled, we end up having to spend our time investigating and reconciling the GLs. This does incur an increased cost, however it can greatly benefit you in the future, ensuring that any mistakes that have been made are rectified.

Working on an agreed fees basis is possible once we review the state of your bookkeeping. However, we do offer monthly packages which can benefit you in having access to accurate financial reports on an ongoing basis. This gives you control over your annual accounting fees, which can also be a cash flow benefit as you are paying us monthly rather than in a lump sum.

Even though you may feel comfortable managing your books you may not necessarily realize that you are missing essential aspects of review and reconciliation of various account balances. Reconciliation of various other accounts such as GST, Payroll, and Superannuation, are also needed. The ability to recognize this is something that comes with years of training and experience. In addition, trained accountants can complete other activities such as reviewing various non-cash journals such as depreciation of assets, updating the asset register, updating the hire purchase liabilities, and amortising any borrowing or formation costs for the business.

At NextClimb we take pride in being aware of and involved in all of our clients’ businesses. It is important for us to know you and your business well enough that we can regularly keep you aware of – and swiftly react to – an array of factors that could effect your bottom line, for better or worse. Our accountants are well versed in a range of disciplines and can assist you in weighing the financial ramifications of certain decisions, like whether or not to hire an independent contractor or a full-time employee, buy or rent office space, or rent or lease a company care, amongst other things. We also work collaboratively with you in a way that makes it easy for you to consider and understand actions you’re taking now, and will need to take in the future, without the usual confusing accounting jargon.

Properly projecting your business’s cash flow is an essential part on running a profitable business. Detailed and accurate cash flow projections aren’t easy to wrangle, but they’re our specialty. We help you develop an organised, effective cash flow model that allows you to adjust your operations so as to help you survive shortfalls as well as improve receivables and manage payables. As you progress as a long term client of ours, our projections will only get more accurate and will help you reach your business goals sooner.

This may seem like an arbitrary question, but clear, effective, and frequent communication is the key to a successful business relationship. Early on we establish how often we’ll connect with you, either in person, on the phone, or online. We will also devise whether its best to meet weekly, monthly, or bimonthly, depending on the services your business requires.

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CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

A CFO differs from an accountant or bookkeeper, because their assistance extends beyond day-to-day administration. They are responsible for driving the overall business strategy and ensuring that the business maximises its financial advantages and minuses its financial risk. Our CFOs look beyond the numbers and ensure business owners understand their finances and can make informed decisions. Being heavily involved in your finances means we are also able to sit in on planning and management for your entire business, taking a bit of the stress and responsibility off of you.

A CFO will help you manage your business by taking control of finance requirements to eliminate concern about who is responsible for your accounting function. Implement processes to streamline your accounting function. Implement cloud accounting to enable the business owner to access accounting records on any device, at anytime, anywhere. And implement basic reporting, so the owner understands how the business is performing.

As your business grows overseeing a bookkeeper whilst coordinating other accounting functions can become overwhelming. A CFO will be able to provide advice about your increasing financial responsibilities and business direction, they will also help streamline accounting functions by ensuring the correct systems and processes for your particular business are in place. Our CFOs can also implement a reporting framework including KPI dashboard to assist in monitoring business performance, implement and monitor cash flow forecasting models and review payroll compliance ensuring all record keeping is in place. Overall a CFO will provide you with the expert advice and services your growing business needs to ensure it thrives for years to come.

Having an employed bookkeeper and accountant can signal that your business is growing or getting ready to do so, and a CFO can offer services that the previous two can’t. CFO’s offer support during expansion and will work with your business and build a budget/forecast for the financial period ahead. This budget will include a profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement (known as the three-way model) to give you unparalleled understanding of your current financials. We assist in developing your financial strategic plan during expansion, including 3-5 year financial models and also help to source finance via banks or potential investors and act as your adviser in these transactions. Having a professional handle these sorts of activities means you have the best chance of success and will get it right the first time. We’re here to help your business grow and that’s exactly what our CFO’s will do.

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