Turning bookkeepers into superheroes

Lisa Martin and Tania Hayes see bookkeeping as a skilled profession that promises a high-flying career

• Many people believe bookkeepers just have to be a bit good with numbers.

• In many SME businesses, the role of bookkeeper will fall to the business owner, a family member or someone in the office admin team.

• Typically, these people have not had any training and do not hold a professional bookkeeping qualification.

• Their bookkeeping tasks often involve the complexities of payroll, HR administration, invoicing, GST returns, tax preparation as well as profit/loss projections. Much of this work must comply with legal requirements.

• Without on-going professional development bookkeepers will make mistakes.

In 2005, Lisa Martin decided it was time to help businesses with their bookkeeping obligations. Working as a fully qualified Bookkeeper herself, Lisa had already spent several years watching companies struggle with bookkeeping tasks.

She saw that the problem was two-fold:

1) Bookkeeping as a profession was not being taken seriously. Instead, it was being viewed as an unskilled occupation that anyone could do.
2) There was a lack of training and professional development for Bookkeepers, which meant companies were finding themselves with inaccurate accounts and out-of-date ledgers.

Lisa knew that shifting the perception of the role of Bookkeepers was going to take time; but she also knew that she could not let companies continue down the potentially law-breaking path of leaving financial administration in the hands of untrained staff. Armed with a passion for accounting, a penchant for excellent customer service and a mantra of ‘because you didn’t go into business to be a Bookkeeper, but I did’, Lisa launched GoFi8ure.

Her clients called her a superhero – racing to their rescue; saving them from financial disaster. Lisa took this as a branding idea and – flew with it.

In 2010, GoFi8ure helped launch the Bookkeepers Association (NZBAI) – a national forum for bookkeepers offering help and guidance, professional development and an accreditation programme. The NBAI teamed up with the Career Academy to create the Certificate in Bookkeeping.

In 2015, GoFi8ure merged with Hutt Valley firm, ActiveAdmin and Tania Hayes (ActiveAdmin’s CEO) was appointed as the new MD for GoFi8ure.

Together with their team of qualified bookkeepers Lisa and Tania work hard to educate SME businesses about the importance of accurate bookkeeping – and how good, financial data is key to the success of any company. They stress that ‘keeping the books’ isn’t something business owners should be doing themselves.

They also work hard to push bookkeeping as a valuable, and financially rewarding, career choice. “It’s a profession where you have to keep on your toes,” says Tania. “Technology, cloud apps and financial software systems, like Xero, are constantly evolving. This means on-going training and up-skilling is essential.”

For both Lisa and Tania, their careers didn’t stop with bookkeeping. Their bookkeeping qualifications have lead them to further study. Tania, already a Chartered Accountant has recently gained a Bachelor of Business degree, for which Lisa is currently studying.

Importantly, GoFi8ure believes that finance can be fun. As bookkeepers, accountants and financial advisors they work hard – their branding provides light relief. “Our clients love our superhero image. They think its great when we wear our cloaks and give them superhero branded thank you gifts. And, our life-size telephone box is always a hit at exhibitions,” says Lisa.

GoFi8ure was recently endorsed as a ‘Perfect Bookkeeper’ by Xero.

Planning for End of Financial Year

Planning before EOFY can mean significant savings – but leaving it until the last minute or, worse still, submitting your accounts late can be very costly. The following tips are important for business owners to consider prior to the 31st March 2015.

Fixed Assets – Do you have any assets that you no longer use or don’t intend to use in future? It is important to review your fixed assets now to see if they can be written off.

Creditors – We recommend you pay as many creditors as possible by 31 March to claim the GST in the final return. You will also need any personal expenditure receipts to journal in to claim GST in this final return.

Debtors – Do you have any bad debts? Now is the time where you need to either chase your debtors for payment or decide to write them off by 31 March.

Home Office Expenses – A proportion of your mortgage interest, telephone, insurance and rates can be deducted. You can only claim the expenses that relate to the area set aside for business. Work out the percentage of the work area, compared to the total floor area of the house. Then apply this percentage to the total house expenses.

Accounting Software – If you are thinking of changing accounting packages, now is the time to make the move. With the New Year upon us, your Accountant or Bookkeeper can help you get set up for the 1.4.2015 Tax year.

If you would like some help getting your financial paperwork up to date for the New Financial Year – get in touch with the team from GoFi8ure. To find out more send us an email to: enquiries@gofi8ure.co.nz and one of our consultants will be in touch.

“Say it Like it Is”

When you start or grow a business, one of the first and most important things you will think about is how to keep a record of your accounts. Whether your business uses a Bookkeeper or an Accounts Assistant/Manager, you should have an effective accounts management system in place. Unless you have a very small hobby business, an excel spreadsheet just won’t cut it. So if you want your business to run successfully, it is important to choose an accounting system that best suits your needs.

There are a lot of systems out there so which one is the most efficient and best suited for your business?
At GoFi8ure we’ve used every type of accounting package out there, so when clients ask which system will save time, money and is easy to use we highly recommend Xero.

You’ve probably heard other business owners talk about it; you might have even tried it, or seen it advertised somewhere and thought about moving over. Well now is the best time to make the move! Xero is a multi-functional accounting package that helps business owners – BIG and small run their financial data easily, accurately and without any hassle.

So why would Xero be a great solution for your business?
– Reconciliation time gets cut in half saving you or your staff time each week.
– You can invoice as well as apply credit notes with the click of a button.
– GST has never been easier. Gone are the manual reconciliations and checking everything three times for accuracy.
– You can easily update fixed assets & depreciation schedules for accurate reporting.
– Xero offers pay runs and track wage expenses and can connect with your payroll system.

Getting a little bit tempted? What if we told you Xero could…?
– Save you time – no more long hours slaving over your accounts.
– Save you money – Time = money, so spending time on what you REALLY want.
– Lower your Accountants bill – If you have spreadsheets or an older accounting system, it takes more time to reconcile and prepare. Xero has everything at a click of a button so you save time instantly.
– Give you peace of mind – If you didn’t go into business to do accounts then simplify your life by using a clean and effective accounting package today.

So now we have your attention – how can GoFi8ure help you?
– We offer one-on-one training for business owners and their staff.
– We are Xero Gold Partners so we can help get you set up on Xero.
– If you don’t want to be doing your own accounts, we can do them for you. Awarded Xero’s Bookkeeping Partner of the Year 2013, we are experts in our field.

Take the stress out of your accounts by getting onto Xero and start doing beautiful business today! To sign up to Xero and book your training email us at xero@gofi8ure.co.nz or call 0800 463 488.