So you're running a business - exciting and daunting. You know every business produces accounts - but you're not a NZ accountant, so what do you do? There are two main options:
- Do your own accounts within your business (yourself or an employee)
- Get someone to do accounts for you outside of your business (i.e. a book-keeping service)
Either way, there are pitfalls to be aware of.
Do your own accounts
If you do it yourself, you either
- use a package to record everything, or
- do it manually (including via a spreadsheet or database).
We recommend using an accounting package. But the major problem is keeping things correct and up to date. Make use of any training offered on your package. We only deal with clients who run a NZ accounting package.
There is plenty of information available on the internet for most business issues but how reliable and up to date is that information for NZ conditions. So if you're doing it yourself, be careful out there.
Get someone to do accounts for you
Getting someone else to do it does not take the responsibility off you. If they make mistakes, IRD will still expect you to make it right - along with penalties and interest. So every business owner should keep their eye on the accounts and GST returns produced for them.
How to choose someone? An obvious difference is price, but the price cannot tell you how much you can rely on someone. We're biased - but as professional accountants who belong to one of the two professional bodies in NZ, we suggest that is a good starting point as disagreements can be taken to our professional body. They take complaints seriously, take action against unprofessional members, and they maintain standards. Also if professionals get things wrong resulting in additional IRD charges, they'll offer compensation.
Of course, not everybody who's reliable is a member of an accounting body. The quality of these is variable. Also, some are aligned with a particular accounting package - which is limiting if you decide to change. Some lack the training and systems in place to ensure the reliable quality of their work. So, be careful out there.
A third path
We offer a third path. You do your own accounts in the package of your choice, and we help you get it right. There will still be some extra work at year end - but end-of-year adjustments will be fed back into your system. That way your system agrees with the accounts used in the tax return, and you also learn for the future how to keep it right.