Where to find financial help
While you're responsible for the financial wellbeing of your business, it's important to use professional advice and services when needed. Whether it's getting your financial statements in order or seeking financial advice to get your business on the right track, there are a number of services available.
Financial professionals can help you maintain your books, create and stick to a budget, monitor your cash flow and help you make decisions about opportunities like buying new equipment, expanding your business and leasing or buying a commercial space.
Some of the financial professionals you might consider using include:
- Accountant - accountants can help with a number of your business’s financial needs including preparing financial statements, managing your tax and providing you with financial and business advice.
- Bookkeeper - bookkeepers can keep track of your day-to-day financial transactions, look after your banking, chase overdue payments, pay wages and prepare some financial statements.
- Business Activity Statement (BAS) agent - BAS agents can help you prepare and lodge your BAS to ensure you get it right the first time. They're registered professionals who are specialists in their field. You can find registered BAS agents on the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) register.
An accountant can provide a range of services including preparing financial statements, managing your tax affairs and lodgement, and providing you with financial and business advice.
However, if you want your accountant to lodge your BAS on your behalf, you should check that they're also a registered BAS Agent. Whether you use an accountant depends on your own business needs and budget.
If you decide an accountant is out of your budget, there are alternatives which include:
- hiring a bookkeeper to maintain your day-to-day financial records
- hiring a tax specialist specifically for your tax returns
- managing your own financial records and tax affairs using financial and accounting software and online lodgement services.
The Australian Taxation Office provides comprehensive information on keeping records. Visit their Record keeping for small business page.
Bookkeepers can record and maintain your day-to-day financial transactions. They can also look after your banking, chase up payments, organise staff wages and even prepare your financial statements. However, bookkeepers can't prepare or lodge your Business Activity Statement (BAS) unless they are also a registered BAS agent.
BAS Agents are registered professionals that specialise in providing BAS preparation and lodgement services. To find a registered agent or to check the registration details of a particular agent, you can search the Online BAS Agent Register.
Business assistance program
Register for business assistance at the ATO for help with your tax and super obligations, activity statements and the ATO's digital services.
If you're experiencing financial difficulty, a financial counsellor can help you manage your affairs in the short-term and plan for the future. For a list of financial counsellors near you, visit the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) website.
Rural financial counsellors
The Rural Financial Counselling Service provides free financial counselling to eligible rural businesses experiencing financial hardship. Counsellors can visit your farm or business and provide you with information and referral services.
Free Business Adviser visits
Some advisory services offer free or low cost advice with finances. Search our Advisory Services to search for an adviser in your local area.
What to do...
- Visit the MoneySmart website for help with choosing an accountant.
- Find a business advisor on our Advisory Services.
- Check the Online BAS Agent Register to check the credentials of your agent.
- Contact the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 66, or see their range of online services. They also have information if you are experiencing financial hardship.
- Find your nearest Financial counsellor on the AFSA website.
- Find your nearest Rural Financial Counselling Service on the Department of Agriculture website.
- See how to manage your finances in your state or territory.