Starting any business can seem very complicated if you have only ever worked as an employee and these are the most common questions we get asked about the National Bookkeeping Contractor opportunity.
1. Can I work from home?
Where you work depends on who you work for. With skills in Xero, Quickbooks Online and now even MYOB AccountRight you can work on a customers books from anywhere (remote working) but small business owners will usually want to meet you and get to know you better before allowing you to work from your home. It’s also important to have the self motivation to work from your own home given that there may be distractions and diversions that can make you less productive.
2. Which area can I work in?
If you don’t want to take advantage of our non-exclusive licencing model you may be eligible to work with us as a contractor. There are no territory restrictions that are associated with some franchises and we prefer to find bookkeepers clients where you can work from home as much as possible.
3. Do I need to be qualified?
If you want to lodge BAS’s on behalf of your clients you will need to be a registered BAS agent, but there are many bookkeeping tasks you can perform without this registration. Remember that the more qualified and certified you are the more complicated work you can do and hence your hourly rate can increase.
4. Do I have to pay a percentage of my earnings to you?
The contractor model means that we need to pay you at a wholesale rate and charge you out at a retail rate and we do this with selected bookkeepers. The rate that we charge you out at varies depending on the services provided and even from client to client sometimes. We’d prefer you join our system as a licencee and take advantage of our group collaborative digital marketing.
5. Do I have to keep paying you every year?
Our goal is to add value and help independent bookkeepers run a great business. As soon as we accept you as a contract bookkeeper we start working on our digital marketing to include your skills and resources as available and there is a considerable overall cost that we spend so that it can be spread between our members. The rate for a contractor is very low but it’s a commitment that we need to include you and your details in our marketing. If you feel you no longer need our services you are free to cancel at any time. Contract memberships are paid annually and no refunds are issued if you cancel half way through a year.
6. Can I cancel my membership?
Yes, you can cancel any time you want, but if you do cancel you lose the member benefits of being a contractor member.
7. Can I keep using the National Bookkeeping logo if I cancel?
No, you are ONLY allowed to use brand collateral if you are a LICENCEE member of National Bookkeeping.
8. Do I owe you money if I sell my business?
No, we are not a franchise and so we don’t ask for a right of first refusal or a percentage of the sale price of your business. If the new owner isn’t interested in joining National Bookkeeping they are not obligated to.
9. Is my membership transferable?
Your membership and profile is personal and you may not on sell or transfer it to any other person. They can simply apply to join to create their own profile.
10. Do I get an exclusive area?
No, we have priced the National Bookkeeping opportunity to be as cost effective as possible so there is no exclusivity in any aspect of the licence.
11. Can someone else sign up in my area?
Because a licence is non-exclusive another bookkeeper may start their business in your area or suburb and although some people are scared of competition we believe that small businesses will work with bookkeepers they know, like and trust. You may find that you can work together as a great team.
12. Can I choose what to put on my online profile?
We design each online profile to try to attract small business who are looking for a bookkeeper and an important aspect of that is ensuring just the right amount of information is on your profile and on the site. You are welcome to request changes and highlights but the content is an important part of our digital marketing so we make all the changes. When a prospect makes contact with you, you can give them any information you want to give.
13. How much should I charge for the work I do?
How much you charge for your services is completely up to you and will most likely depend on the work you do, your skill level and your confidence in your rates within your area. Although we identify indicative rates for some bookkeeping tasks, rates are often based on what competition you have, your education and your experience.
14. What kind of clients will I get?
Your client base is completely up to you and it makes sense to work this out in your business plan. If you are a payroll expert you may want to find primarily larger companies with lots of staff because they’ll value your expertise. If you are starting out and have basic skills you may have more clients for whom you do more basic data entry type tasks.
15. Is there a market for contract bookkeeping?
This is a question we get asked a lot and the answer is yes. For many small businesses bookkeeping and accounting are specialist skills and their existing staff don’t have them. Some businesses want to have an impartial 3rd party (someone independent) doing their payroll and other sensitive accounting tasks. Bookkeeping is often not a full time role.
16. Isn’t bookkeeping something the accountant does?
An accountant is usually tertiary trained and their focus is on either tax or management accounting. This means that they focus on the end of period (month/quarter/year) lodging of information and decision making either before the end of these periods or after lodgement. They also charge a much higher rate for their services.
17. Can I modify the business plan template you provide?
The business plan template is only available to licencees and Yes, it was designed by our Registered BAS agent, Jacci when she went through the small business management course and uses an example of a scenario that is relevant to her. You are free to modify it as and when you please.
18. Can I earn money if I refer someone to you?
There is an opportunity to earn money if you agree to help that person get up to speed quickly and start to build a successful business from home.
19. Can I offer other services?
As long as you continue to offer bookkeeping services you are then able to promote any other services that you offer. We do not restrict which services you offer and in fact encourage licensees to broaden their skill base as much as possible to make them as valuable as possible to their clients. We find that bookkeepers usually progress in one of two ways:
- Deepen their knowledge and understanding about accounting, finance and tax to become a Registered BAS Agent and more, or
- Widen their knowledge so that they can help in other administration and management areas of the business
The direction you take is completely up to you.
20. What if a client complains?
We have a code of conduct and we stand by that. It is very important to have professional standards and expectations so we actually encourage customers to contact us if they have an issue with anyone in the group. We’ve discovered that everyone is different and that people’s circumstances change and that it’s at these times when issues or complaints occur. Our role in this area is to ensure that any problem is identified and resolved to the best outcome for both parties.
21. What if I need help with my business?
If you need help in any aspect of your business we have a network of experts that we can call on. If the solution to the problem is something that could benefit the group we’ll share it to the group otherwise you can work with the solution provider directly as a rate negotiated with them.
22. Do you offer an earnings guarantee?
An earnings guarantee is a guaranteed income over an initial period of your business licence and is offered only to approved licencees after pre qualifying for levels where the guarantee is available. The offer of an earnings guarantee is made where an authorising officer at National Bookkeeping believes you will be a great fit for our system. Learn more about earnings guarantees.
23. Do I have to wear a uniform?
No there is no mandatory uniform, just wear something smart and professional when you are going to a customers work place.
24. What is the minimum qualification required to work as a bookkeeper?
The term bookkeeper is used by close to 250,000 workers in Australia but many of these are employees and may perform a wide range of tasks. Many of these bookkeepers don’t have any financial qualifications and unless you are actually lodging a BAS or end of year Tax Return none is required. There are however minimum requirements for those who do lodge BAS returns on behalf of their clients – Registered BAS Agents.
25. Are all bookkeepers providing BAS services registered and qualified?
If you lodge the BAS on behalf of a client then you need to be a registered BAS agent but if you do the data entry, accounts receivable, payable and many other tasks you don’t official need to be qualified.
26. If I make an honest mistake in my work, can I get sued by my client?
This depends on your relationship with your client and the level of service you offer. If you are being given the instructions and are not providing advice and recommendations about how the information should be treated it’s most likely you won’t get sued. If you are a Registered BAS Agent there is a level of expectation regarding your knowledge and skills and one of the requirements is that you have Professional Indemnity insurance in the event that you are sued.
27. What do accountants look for in a good bookkeeper?
Accountants look for bookkeepers who understand tax, how expenses and income needs to be treated and to feel safe that the bookkeeper knows how to treat each transaction. This is the case because they are ultimately responsible to sign off on the information before it is lodged with the Australian Taxation Office.
28. How do you help promote & market my services?
As a central website for many different bookkeepers we are able to leverage our online marketing to benefit many bookkeepers and not just one or two. We have a background in online services and a finely tuned and evolving online marketing “digital” strategy with a significant goal to come up the top of Google’s organic search results. You get these benefits by being in the directory.
If you want help in marketing your services you can take advantage of a marketing pack where your bookkeeper manager will work with you to increase your exposure on the site. This ensures you get noticed but the other service that may interest you is the sales pack where we work with a leading sales trainer to home your selling skills to win new clients and get referrals.
29. Do I need to let you know of my clients?
No, you don’t need to let us know about any of your clients or anything about them but we make ourselves available to your clients if they feel they need to speak to someone about your performance. Your bookkeeper manager will then act to work through our dispute resolution process and ensure the quality of our network by making sure you are upholding our professional code of conduct.
30. What if I have more questions?
Feel free to make contact with us with any questions you have.
Being an Independent Contractor is not for everyone and it’s as important for us to have the right team members as it is for you to find the right system to be apart of. By Pre-Qualifying you’re letting us know a bit about you and how you like to work.