A Guide for Melbourne Business Owners on Effective Bookkeeping Practices 

May 21, 2024

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If you’re a small business owner in Melbourne, or anywhere in Australia for that matter, it is essential to have effective business bookkeeping practices in place. 


Because effective business bookkeeping services help business owners to:

  • accurately assess the financial health of their business, 
  • make informed decisions, comply with tax laws, and 
  • better manage their cash flow. 

Effective bookkeeping also allows you to better track trends within your business and identify potential areas for growth, enabling you to scale your business over time. 

In this comprehensive guide for Melbourne business owners, we take a look at what effective bookkeeping really means and why some business owners struggle to find the time to make it happen. 

We also explore outsourcing as a potential option for busy business owners who need some help, the costs involved, and how to find a great bookkeeper in Melbourne that will be an asset to your business. 

What is effective bookkeeping?

So what actually is effective bookkeeping? To get it right when it comes to managing the books of your small business, you need to focus on:


Have you ever heard of garbage in, garbage out? 

When it comes to your business bookkeeping, it’s so important that data input into your financial records is accurate. Otherwise, you could find yourself making important business decisions based on incorrect information.


You have to ask yourself, what is the best bookkeeping method for small or medium businesses?

Bookkeeping systems and processes provide you with a solid structure for your small business finances. Organise your finances and ensure information about your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities is recorded in a logical way and easy to retrieve by way of reports when you need them. 


Any financial transactions should be recorded in a timely manner to ensure your bookkeeping system has the most up-to-date information available. 


Ensure your bookkeeping complies with Australian accounting standards and tax laws. Also, ensure any required taxes (for example GST and PAYG) and payments such as payroll and superannuation are made on time to avoid penalties. 


Ensure your IT systems are protected from cyber attacks. This means ensuring your software is up-to-date, not using unsecured WIFI connections, password-protecting your IT systems, and using multi-factor authentication. 

Are you struggling to keep up with effective bookkeeping in your small business? 

It can be hard to keep up with compliance and changing tax laws, while also monitoring cash flow, and trying not to miss deductions that you’re entitled to. 

If you are like most small business owners who struggle with: 

  • Accounts payable
  • Cash flow management
  • Preparing for tax returns

…and generally keeping up with effective bookkeeping in your business, please know that you’re certainly not alone. Many small businesses in Australia struggle too.

After all, managing a small business is not for the faint of heart. You have to focus on not only your core business but all the other peripheral matters that are part of managing a successful business–the business finances, marketing, human resources, business’s financial performance and so much more. 

Unfortunately, proper bookkeeping can easily fall by the wayside when you’re a business owner being pulled in a hundred different directions. 

How outsourcing bookkeeping services helps free up your time

There is real value in outsourcing bookkeeping services for your small business when either:

  1. You’re struggling for time to get it done
  2. You lack the in-house expertise to do it
  3. You want to focus on your core business 
  4. You’d rather have someone who is an expert at business bookkeeping services doing it rather than yourself, who is already spread thinly across various functions.

Outsourcing bookkeeping services frees up your time to focus on other important things in your small business. 

Plus, you can always get some professional advice, or maybe even tax planning from your bookkeeper to help you in strategic decision-making.

How to outsource bookkeeping services successfully for your small business

To outsource bookkeeping services successfully, it’s important to, first, identify exactly what you need help with. Establish the scope of assistance with the services you might need like documenting financial transactions and getting the financial reports you need. 

For example, when it comes to bookkeeping, do you need someone to also manage your GST returns? Or, do you need assistance with payroll?

If you decide to outsource, make sure you invest some time and effort in your onboarding process for your bookkeeper so they will be clear about your expectations and the scope of assistance you need. That means an in-depth initial meeting to discuss your small business, financial process, pain points, goals, and the current state of your financial records. 

By taking the time to thoroughly onboard your new bookkeeping partners, you’re maximising the value they provide to business bookkeeping services. 

While engaging a bookkeeper will 100% free up your time, you are still the owner and you should schedule regular check-ins and review the partnership from time to time. 

What is the cost of hiring small business bookkeepers in Melbourne?

Costs for small business bookkeeping in Melbourne vary and will depend on the expertise, qualifications, and experience that a bookkeeper has. Every bookkeeper will set their own rates and there are not standard rates Australia-wide. 

Typically, bookkeeping services in Melbourne have a range from between $50-150 per hour. You will most likely find the range of costs for bookkeeping rates are similar, whether you’re in Melbourne, Sydney, or someplace else in Australia. 

Monthly retainers are also common where there is ongoing and consistent work for a bookkeeper to help you in your small business. Many small businesses use them. You should also ask your chosen bookkeeper to offer some bookkeeping packages or tailor a package of services just for you.

Can I afford to hire a bookkeeper? 

When you’re weighing up the costs for bookkeeping services, take into consideration how much your bookkeeping is actually taking now. 

Also, consider the opportunity cost of continuing to do your own bookkeeping and factor in the risks of potentially being non-compliant if you accidentally miss something crucial. 

You should also factor in how much you’ll save on accounting services at the end of the year, by keeping your books clean. After all, accounting services are more expensive than bookkeeping services. These are very costly mistakes for your business on which you can save money. You’ll find more useful information about this in this blog.

Where can I find a reliable and experienced bookkeeper in Melbourne? 

There are many benefits of engaging a bookkeeper in your city. A local bookkeeper is familiar with the unique business landscape you’re operating within. 

Having a bookkeeper in the same timezone offers practical benefits. You’re likely to experience faster response times and more convenience when it comes to setting up meetings if you need to collaborate. 

If you’re looking for qualified bookkeepers in Melbourne, First Class Accounts has 16 expert small business bookkeepers available for you to choose from. 

Our experienced bookkeepers in Melbourne understand the unique dynamics of the local market and they can help you to effectively manage your books. You can focus on keeping your business running smoothly, and rest easy knowing your bookkeeping and financial matters are settled.

For a hassle-free experience with outsourcing your bookkeeping services, contact a Melbourne Bookkeeper near you.

Not in Melbourne? No problem. We have 140+ bookkeepers across Australia so it’s easy to find a First Class Accounts bookkeeper near you.

Bookkeeping Financial Management Small Business