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What is bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping involves recording and classifying all the financial transactions in your business. It's keeping track of what your business spends and what your business receives.

These tasks used to be managed using books and ledgers, hence the name 'bookkeeping'. Originally the transactions would be recorded in daybooks, cashbooks, or journals and then transferred to a ledger.

Bookkeeping software has now pretty much replaced the need for physical books.

Why do small businesses need bookkeeping?

An accurate, well-kept set of books is a great start to running a successful business. Here's why:

  • You can check that you're making more money than you're spending.
  • You'll have reliable financial information for planning and budgeting decisions.

  • You can see if a cash crunch is coming and take steps to avoid it, by watching when you need to pay suppliers, and when you can expect payment from customers.

  • You're more likely to find incorrect payments (or even fraud) that might cost you money.

  • You can complete accurate tax returns.   

  • Having your financial information organised makes it easier for you to work with other parties such as lenders, investors, and accountants.

How to do bookkeeping

The two most important tasks in accurate small business bookkeeping are recording and reconciliation. Let's break them down.

Recording every transaction
Record your sales. This was traditionally done by writing them into a cashbook or punching them into a spreadsheet. Business owners are now more likely to download sales data directly into their books from point-of-sale or invoicing software.

Record your transactions. Every business-related purchase needs to be noted. You should also hold onto the proof of purchase if you plan to claim that expense as a tax deduction. Again, you can write these details into a book or spreadsheet. Or you can automate the task so  all the debits from your business bank account stream into your bookkeeping software.

You can record income and expenses at different times depending on whether you do cash or accrual accounting.

Reconciling every transaction
Reconciliation involves regularly cross-referencing your business books against your bank statements to check that the transactions and balances match – and identifying the reasons if they don't. Often bank fees, interest payments, deposits, and payments that haven't yet hit your bank accounts will need to be accounted for.

You might do bank reconciliation daily, weekly, monthly, or less often, depending on the number of transactions going through your business. However, you will probably be required to reconcile your books before submitting tax returns at the very least.

The sooner you reconcile transactions, the sooner errors can be found and corrected. It's better to do it often – even daily – so the work doesn't pile up. You can learn more in our guide on how to do bank reconciliation.

Other small business bookkeeping duties
If you're acting as bookkeeper for a small business, you may also be responsible for:

  • accounts receivable (issuing invoices and making sure they're paid)

  • accounts payable (paying bills on time)

  • payroll (paying employees)

Professional bookkeepers also provide other services, like helping with financial reports (profit-and-loss, balance sheet, cash flow report), and measuring business performance. Bookkeepers are also often BAS agents and can help file your taxes.

How software can help

Many small businesses use online bookkeeping software to speed up these jobs, and cut down the chances for human data-entry errors. These tools can:

  • pull transaction data straight from point-of-sale (POS) system, invoicing software, and banks

  • dramatically speed up bank reconciliation

  • automatically pay bills

  • send automated invoice reminders to people who owe you money

  • tell you when sales invoices have been paid

  • allow you to check cash flow from your phone

Outsourcing small business bookkeeping

If you're too busy to do the bookkeeping for your small business, then you can find someone to do it for you. Bookkeepers often allow you to choose different service levels depending on your budget. That means you can start out with basic bookkeeping at a modest cost and ladder up to more advanced services as your business grows. You can find bookkeepers in the Xero advisor directory.

MYOB New STP products

New STP products


The new STP payroll products have just rolled out for MYOB and this option may suit many clients with 4 employees or less.


By choosing to go on an STP compliant software you will not have to do your 2019 PAYG summaries the old way.  This STP software includes the ability to send the ATO Year To Date information and will save you from being caught in the May or June rush.  This period if often really busy and due to the new systems required by the ATO various issues or delays may occur.


If you would like to take up any of the new options (or the $15CDF Offer)  Clarke McEwan can liaise with MYOB to setup the file for you.


Interested?   Read on for details.


+ MYOB launched 2 new payroll products in Australia on 1st April 2019

+ Essentials Payroll: A stand-alone payroll only $10/month (limited to 4 employees)

+ Essentials Connected Ledger plus Payroll: $30/month (limited to 4 employees)


$10 Payroll only Product features:

·         Process payroll for employees

·         Keep and share timesheets

·         Manage PAYG

·         Flexible wage categories

·         Automatically calculate leave

·         Capture expenses and deductions

·         Automatically calculate and pay super to your employees

·         Automatically calculate payroll tax and receive automatic updates for payroll tax tables every financial year

·         Report Single Touch Payroll directly to the ATO with 1 click

·         Complete EOY payroll tasks

·         Print or email payslips

·         Employees can access payslips and timesheets online, or on mobile


Reports include:

·         Journals

·         General Ledger Details

·         Past Pay Runs

·         Payroll Summary & Details

·         PAYG Payment Summaries

·         Pay Items Report


In Tray features include:

·         Save documents against banking and spend money transactions

·         Clients can email documents directly to the software

·         Capture receipts and automatically send to the In Tray via the app (coming soon)


Extra features from Connected Ledger + Payroll product ($30/m)

·         Cashbook Features

·         Save time and ensure accurate data by automatically importing bank transactions from your client's bank

·         View, add, edit and delete accounts from the chart of accounts

·         Client Dashboard - Drill down into your client's file directly from the dashboard & Greater coding efficiencies and improved workflows

·         Additional Reports

·   Budget Management

·   Profit and Loss

·   Balance Sheet

·   GST reports

·   Banking Reconciliation and Transactions


MYOB clarifies plans for its desktop product

Accounting software provider MYOB has clarified the situation around its plans to cease support for its desktop product, amid some confusion and frustration at the move.

A number of My Business readers have expressed concerns at the situation, including about how the transition is being managed, why it is being done and what they have (or have not) been told about it.

MYOB's general manager of clients, Nick Burkett, told My Business that the decision to stop supporting its Version 19 desktop accounting software was driven by a desire to deliver more value for its customers.

"We vehemently believe that the move to online is really beneficial for clients and industry in general, and we can see from the people who have made that move already that they have seen really large benefits from doing so," he said.

"We're seeing a range of benefits … the first thing I would say is that by using online, they've got a number of features that they can use that aren't available on the desktop software. That's everything from bank fees, which enables them to reconcile and save lots of time within their business, through to online invoicing, which enables them to track whether people have received the invoices, take online payments etc … and the ability for multiple people to collaborate [among employees from different locations as well as with the business' accountant or bookkeeper].

"There are a huge number of benefits of moving online, and in fact the people who have moved say those benefits are pretty large."

Business owners and MYOB customers had raised the following concerns and frustrations, to which Mr Burkett has directly responded:

My Business reader: "I was told by the MYOB Melbourne office … that my product was no longer supported."

"That's not accurate," Mr Burkett replied.

"That is in a year's time, so September next year [2019] is the point at which MYOB will no longer be supporting version 19."

My Business reader: "For many years, I was assured that desktop would continue without an end date."

"The v19 [Version 19] software, while it has been a good set of software, is coming to the end of the road," said Mr Burkett.

"And while that's true, people can continue to enjoy using that software for as long as they want, we just won't support it anymore.

"As an example, if Microsoft were to release a new operating system, we will not be doing work to make sure that the version 19 product is compatible with that. It may continue to work, we can't guarantee that it will not, but we will not be supporting the product any longer [past September 2019]."

 Mr Burkett added that anyone who bought a desktop product has purchased a "perpetual license", meaning they are able to continue using it for as long as they choose to do so.

My Business reader: "I run a manufacturing business in a rural area where NBN is not available and ADSL2 is so slow. I could never operate on a cloud-based product."

"Version 19 is not the only product that can work in desktop mode," Mr Burkett replied.

"AccountRight Live, which is the product that people can move to very easily, also works in desktop mode, and customers who are in areas with poor internet connectivity could use that product as a replacement.

"It has an identical feature set to version 19 [and] a very similar user interface, and so that, we believe, is a very easy transition for customers to make."

My Business reader: "People that have paid good money for the full desktop version (non-subscription) are effectively being forced to hand over MORE money by MYOB intentionally disabling their files."

Mr Burkett said that such an experience sounds extreme, and suggested it could actually be caused by fraudulent access or unlicensed software.

"That is in no way, shape or form linked to people being required to upgrade," he explained.

"Anyone who has had an experience like that … they should reach out to MYOB and we will look into that really closely.

"There is a feature in all of our desktop products – and it's a feature that has existed for a long, long time – called 'activation and confirmation', and that is really an anti-piracy process.

"Because desktop software can be installed on multiple computers, that process ensures that people are licensed appropriately and have not, for example, installed it on a thousand computers and are using it freely.

"So the software can lockout [users] and require you to call in an ID. What should happen is that, if you're licensed appropriately, you should be turned straight back on and be up and running again."

My Business readers' concerns around pushy sales tactics and misinformation being supplied by MYOB's call centres.

Mr Burkett urged any customer who has specific questions, or who is unhappy with their experience in dealing with MYOB, to contact the company directly.

"We pride ourselves on delivering great customer experiences in our local call centres. If anyone has any concerns about interactions with MYOB, they should contact us directly and we will look into those matters very seriously," he said.

"To my knowledge, we haven't had any of this feedback directly, which is why I would encourage anyone who has had experiences like this to reach out to MYOB … so that we can investigate it and come up with a solution."

According to Mr Burkett, MYOB has already been actively engaged with customers impacted by the transition – and will continue to do so in the lead up to September 2019 – through a series of emails, running webinars, visibility on its website and announcements at its Partner Connect events.

Editor:  If you would like some assistance in determining a course of action for your desktop MYOB product, please contact us for a confidential discussion of your options.

Transitioning to the Cloud

Cloud Accounting systems have become mainstream and MYOB is moving toward switching users to the cloud.  Clarke McEwan is presently assisting clients in making the change.

All users should be aware that from September 2019, the DESKTOP version of the software will no longer be supported by MYOB. 

As a Professional Partner, Clarke McEwan is able to assist your practice with its transition to the cloud.

If you aren't sure what clouding computing actually involves, have a look at the attached YouTube video

The incentives of accessing your software via the cloud environment for computing are many and varied depending on your existing set up and requirements. Some of the more obvious advantages are:
- You can do your processing anywhere, anytime you have internet access
- You will be able to inter-connect directly to your favourite business tools
- Your accountant and bookkeeper can log in, do the books and log out
- You'll be able to make business decisions faster with real-time data
- There will be no more stress over the possibility of losing your data, the size of your server or the cost of maintaining it.

If you haven't made a choice yet as to software, let us help you decide which cloud accounting system is for you?     Bit (Business IT) provides a lot of insight as to choice with its review of the top 6 by Stephen Withers.
"While the third-party app ecosystem has become increasingly important part of choosing accounting software, its core functions still have to suit your needs, as well as being quick, convenient and easy to use. So to help you with your decision, we've tested and reviewed six of Australia's major small business cloud applications:

MYOB Essentials QuickBooks Plus Online Reckon One Saasu Sage Xero
Quoting Y Y Y Y Y Y
Invoicing Y Y Y Y Y Y
Online quotes/ invoices N Y N N N Y
Purchases Y Y Y Y Y Y
Purchase orders N Y N Y Y Y
Inventory N Y N Y Y Y
Payment gateways Y Y Y Y Y Y
Bank feeds Y Y Y Y Y Y
Payroll Y Y Y Y Y Y
Time tracking N Y Y (mobile app) N Y N
Document storage (attached to transactions Y Y (mobile app) N Y Y Y
Third-party add-ons 50+ 180+ 10 50+ 5 500+
Mobile app available Y Y Y Y Y Y
More info Review Review Review Review Review Review
Website Website Website Website Website Website
Pricing/ plans $27 (1 employee, 25 bank transactions, 5 invoices) $15 (Simple Start) Core system $5, plus: $15 (1000 transactions a year, 3 bank feeds) $20 $25 (5 invoices and quotes, 5 bills, 20 bank transactions, payroll for 1 employee)
$45 (unlimited transactions, 1 employee) $25 (Essentials: adds data import and multiple currencies) $3 for invoicing ($5 with approvals) $40 (20,000 transactions, 5 bank feeds; adds payroll for 20 employees, inventory, multicurrency) Additional users $3 $50 (unlimited invoices, quotes, bank transactions)
$55 (unlimited transaction and employees) $35 (Plus, adds inventory) $3 for bank feed (up to 100 transactions) or $5 (up to 250) or $7 (for up to 500) $70 (40,000 transactions, 10 bank feeds, 40 employees; adds inventory attributes and P&L consolidation) Bank feeds $7 $60 (up to 5 employees; adds auto- superannuation and multicurrency)

$3 for payroll ($5 with SuperStream output)

$3 for projects ($5 with enhanced features)

$3 for time and expenses ($5 with enhanced features)

Still confused?..  Just Ask a CPA....  Contact us