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What are Client Accounting Services?

by | May 26, 2020 | Accounting Firm Services

Since all company financials needs to be ultimately submitted to an accountant for tax filing, it makes sense for business to make use of bookkeeping and payroll services in addition to tax filing services. When these client accounting services are offered under one roof, through a fixed retainer arrangement, business owners are assured of error and stress-free financials. It’s cost effective and…best of all…can businesses a huge amount of time and money.

The three most important accounting areas for all businesses are:

Tax Filing

BOOKEEPING falls under Client Accounting Services

Accurate bookkeeping is essential for the preparation of accurate financial reports and statements. While bookkeepers work underneath accountants, they are responsible for precise recording of all financial activities.

All businesses, no matter the size, need bookkeepers. Bookkeeping is the front line for the health of a business. It’s of more value than a list of ‘boring accounting’ tasks – to get the books ready for the ‘real accountant’. Many a small business has struggled unnecessarily because they didn’t appreciate the value of accurate, conscientious, and timely, book-keeping – from day one.

A book-keepers job comprises a set task list, with more tasks possibly added, depending on needs and size of the business. The suite of tasks can run from baseline book-keeping tasks – such as processing invoices – right through to higher level tasks that might otherwise be done by accountants. It depends on the size of the company, and the accounting knowledge and experience that your bookkeeper brings to the table.

However, there’s more to what a bookkeeper does for a business than just a task list, and so what book-keeping contributes to a business. If bookkeepers make mistakes (or intentionally manipulate figures) your accountants will not have the right data to work with. This may result in expensive auditing processes. So, the real value in bookkeeping goes beyond tasks, and even beyond a ‘balanced ledger’. Bookkeeping needs to be error-free, comprehensive (nothing left out), fast, and accurate – and it needs to be done by someone you trust 100% if they have access to your banking. The financial health and future of your business depends on it.

Bookkeeping is often partly or wholly outsourced for smaller businesses anyway. However, many SMME’s can benefit from outsourcing their bookkeeping to their accountants on a retainer basis. This ensure that the bookkeeping is error-free, comprehensive (nothing left out), fast, and accurate – and done by someone you can trust 100%.

It’s also more cost effective for many businesses, especially growing business. It means they don’t need to hire more staff to cover the increasing workload in a time of transition when the cost of that capacity might threaten cash flow.

One of the tasks that bookkeepers do, and that can become particularly burdensome in a growing business is Payroll.

PAYROLL falls under Client Accounting Services

Payroll services ensure that your payroll is on time, accurate, tax and labour regulation compliant. That’s just the basic payroll service. Payroll services can also help you draft contracts, structure how to pay employees in a way that benefits them and your company the most, and help you take care of your employees’ wellbeing with pension, profit-share and incentive schemes.

Payroll is the process of paying of salaries and wages to permanent and temporary employees. It can be done weekly, monthly, contractual or at irregular intervals. Sounds simple enough? It isn’t. There’s a lot to the payroll process, and if you are starting out with a business, you’ll soon learn just how much. You won’t need to be convinced of the benefits of outsourcing your payroll. Payroll services are common, for a reason.

The only question is quality, and the best quality payroll services are offered by accounting firms. This is thanks to the accuracy they provide, integration with other client accounting services – from book-keeping to tax filing and further to high-level financial, tax, legal and business services. It’s also to do with levels of assurance and confidentiality, as well as expertise in accounting and tax legislation, labour and other business compliance regulations.

Outsourced payroll is processed through key steps with each batch of payments or pay cycle. Remote payroll processing through an integrated accounting program and set up, such as the Xero accounting software, ensures that outsourced payroll processing is a hassle-free process for your company.

Payroll can be done once or twice a month, or weekly, or all – depending on your company’s pay cycles. For larger companies with many employees and/or staggered pay cycles, the payroll process can be ongoing. It can (when done in-house) also be more prone to errors creeping in. Errors is turn can increase the administrative and accounting burden of in-house payroll.

Outsourced payroll significantly lessens the administrative and accounting burden of payroll processing, and the chance of errors increasing it.

Done by payroll professionals who really know what they are doing and who are using an integrated software system can reduce the number of payroll related tasks you need to employ capacity for, to next to nothing. Integrated software that gives payroll professionals instant access to the employee records, time-sheet and other salary-related data you upload. They do the rest.

Importantly, they do the (often convoluted) calculations relating to tax, UIF, paid and unpaid leave, pro-rata pay, overtime, accruements, adjustments, benefits etc., as well as the various statutory submissions. It’s all part of Payroll. The important factor is the ease with which they do it, and the level of accuracy. What can be one of the most stressful administrative jobs in a company, and prone to errors that can be either not serious or serious (or become serious) gets taken care of quickly, accurately and with no margin for error. Your employees will like this too. You’ll also like not having knocks on your door from unhappy employees because of a real or perceived error. You’ll also never need to worry about letting your employees down by not submitting their UIF, pension other contributions on time.

For many SMME’s, these aspects of payroll are not just burdensome, they can be complicated and confusing – especially when there are changes in tax or labour regulations, as there often are. Outsourcing payroll to professional payroll services ensures that your payroll is always tax and labour-law compliant. It also ensures that all your payroll and employee-records are up for scrutiny at any time.

Unless you are a very small company with only a one or two employees, paid monthly, or a very large company with in-house HR and payroll department, it will almost always make financial and practical sense to outsource your payroll.

Beside the pay cycle payrolls, payroll services also take care of:
• UIF documentation submission (including ‘movement of employees)
• Monthly PAYE returns (EMP201), and
• Bi-annual IRP reconciliations in August and February

There are a variety of other payroll services you can opt for. These include assistance with salary structuring – with advice and implementation on alternative forms of remuneration (such as awarding shares). Payroll services can also advise on the best insurance and pension schemes for you and your employees and help set them up and manage them. Through your payroll services, you’ll also get access to experts in labour law, labour-related tax regulations, documentation and contracts. In other words – a seamless mix of straightforward payroll accounting and process with and related legal services and risk management services. You might have the best bookkeeper in the world, but you’d have to shell out considerably for such consults on an individual basis. The addition of these kinds of ‘extras’ – available from one team, can potentially add even more to what a company can save through outsourcing payroll.

SARS Tax falls under Client Accounting Services

Tax affairs – monthly to end pf year annual filings – to tax claims and disputes with SARS – are all better in the hands of professional accountants. Tax penalties from late registrations, return flings and payments can be extremely costly. Don’t add to your tax payments by skimping on accounting and tax services.

Income Tax Returns for Individuals:

It’s one of those things we all must do, and we all hate doing it: filing our income tax returns. However, there are ways to ensure that filing tax returns is reduced to a simple process. It starts with accurate accounting and good money management.

For those individuals who find themselves in a time crunch, unprepared for SARS tax filings, with messy financials and even messier bank balances, accounting assistance is urgent. Then you can go from there from the next financial year to ensure that your accounting is done properly from the start, and you are ready to pay SARS what you owe, or show that you have paid what you owe, or get back what they owe you.

It’s a huge weight off your mind if you are ready to file your SARS tax return (or have your accountants file it) on time, and correctly the first time around. However, it’s even better to know that you have professionals on hand and professionally prepared, accurate financials, in the event you need to dispute SARS.

Professional client accounting services are invaluable when it comes to filing tax returns – especially when you have multiple sources of income, investments, pension schemes, tax deductible expenses and other factors that can quickly make a tax return filing quite complex. Apart from the aggravation of having to redo it or go through the process of disputing SARS, accurate tax returns, filed before deadlines, can save you more than you might have thought: it will save on penalties and also very possibly ensure that you get back more from SARS than you might otherwise have got back.

Company Income Tax Filing / Registering for Tax / Tax Returns / PAYE / VAT / Provisional Tax payments:

Company Tax filings are complex by nature and depend on accurate accounting and financial statements throughout the pervious tax year. If you are starting out, and you have been doing everything on your own, you’ll need a professional accountant to have everything sorted out before you file. Because you probably have a lot that needs to get sorted out. You may even be facing penalties already.

Have you registered for Provisional Tax, for example? Did you know that you are supposed to? Did you know you could choose to register for VAT before you hit the R1 Million annual turnover threshold? Are you registered for VAT at all – even though you should be?
With different deadlines and dates for tax registrations, payments, and tax return filing for PAYE tax (already taken care of if you have invested in Payroll services), company end-of-financial year returns, provisional tax payments, claims and VAT payments, it’s essential to have professional tax services do it all for you. It’s good business practice and will save you a great deal of time and money to have all your tax tasks – personal and business – done by one team of accountants. It’s then far less likely that you’ll need to dispute any SARS tax assessments, but if you do, you’ll have that invaluable tax service already on hand.

And when it comes to TAX – you can rest assured that professional accountants do not miss deadlines! No penalties and no interest on tax payments. Payments (including provisional tax payments) made on time, with money that has been made available with good accounting practices, maximised tax exemptions and timely claims on VAT refunds. Professional tax registration and filing services take the misery out of paying tax, save you and your company money, and will most likely save you money on tax payments, and get you back more than you thought you could get back from SARS.

Full client accounting services – right through from basic to advanced bookkeeping services and Payroll, to tax registrations and tax return filing are fundamental to the health of your business. They are accounting foundations on which you can build your business. Outsourcing these basic accounting services together, on a monthly retainer basis, will also allow you and your staff to concentrate on building your business. Outsourced bookkeeping and other onerous, time-consuming accounting tasks frees up capacity and gives business owner’s peace-of-mind.

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Erasmus Pretorius

With over 23 years of unwavering expertise, I am a seasoned Chartered Accountant committed to financial excellence. My journey in the realm of finance has been marked by astute strategic insights, meticulous attention to detail, and an unyielding dedication to precision. Over the years, I’ve navigated the complexities of financial landscapes, providing invaluable counsel to diverse clients. My proficiency extends across auditing, taxation, and financial management, coupled with a profound understanding of regulatory frameworks. As a registered professional, I have consistently upheld the highest standards of integrity and ethics, earning a reputation as a trusted advisor in the dynamic world of finance.