What is the Difference between BAS Agent and Bookkeeper

Businesses frequently hire accountants and auditors to take care of their financial records and make sure they pay their taxes on time. Among these workers, bookkeepers and BAS agents are two of the most common.

Both are essential to the smooth operation of a company’s finances, although they operate in quite different ways. Here we’ll compare and contrast BAS agents and bookkeepers in terms of roles, skills, and duties.

Key Takeaways

  1. BAS agents and bookkeepers play crucial roles in managing a business’s financial affairs, but they have distinct responsibilities.
  2. BAS agents specialize in providing tax-related services, including preparing and lodging activity statements, while bookkeepers focus on recording financial transactions and maintaining accurate records.
  3. BAS agents are registered with the Tax Practitioners Board and have in-depth knowledge of tax legislation to ensure compliance with regulations.
  4. Bookkeepers are not authorized to provide tax advice or prepare and lodge activity statements.
  5. BAS agents require specific qualifications and licensing, while bookkeepers may choose to obtain relevant certifications to enhance their skills and credibility.
  6. The scope of work for BAS agents primarily revolves around tax compliance, while bookkeepers have a broader range of financial management responsibilities.
  7. Both professionals utilize accounting software and technology to streamline their work and generate accurate reports.
  8. The cost of engaging a BAS agent or bookkeeper can vary based on factors such as the complexity of the business’s financial transactions and the experience of the professional.
  9. Collaboration with other professionals, such as accountants and business consultants, is common for both BAS agents and bookkeepers to provide comprehensive financial management solutions.
  10. When choosing between a BAS agent and a bookkeeper, consider the specific needs of your business, the scope of work required, qualifications, licensing, and collaboration potential.

Duties of a BAS Agent

Agents for BAS (Business Activity Statements) in Australia must be licenced by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). Providing BAS services to companies is their main function. In regards to goods and services tax (GST), pay as you go (PAYG), and other duties, BAS agents are authorised to produce and lodge activity statements on behalf of their clients.

When it comes to tax law, BAS agents are well-versed and always up-to-date on any new developments from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). They help firms stay in line with the law, guide them through the BAS reporting process, and offer counsel on tax issues.

A Bookkeeper’s Duties

In contrast, a bookkeeper’s job is to keep the company’s financial records in order. Data input, bank reconciliations, payroll processing, A/P/R, and report generation are all part of their remit.

To this end, bookkeepers collaborate closely with business owners and accountants to maintain all financial records in order. Financial statement preparers can get help from BAS agents, however unlike BAS agents, they can’t give tax advice or compile and file activity statements.

Competencies and Permits

The Tax Practitioners Board has established rigorous educational and professional standards for those who wish to become registered BAS agents. The applicant must meet the fit and proper person standards, have a relevant qualification in accounting or bookkeeping, and complete a certain number of years of experience in providing BAS services.

Although bookkeepers are not mandated to be licenced, many voluntarily pursue it to boost their credibility and marketability. Bookkeeping and accounting credentials from reputable organisations qualify as such certifications.

Project Scope

While bookkeeping and BAS agent duties may cross over to some extent, the two jobs are fundamentally different. BAS agents specialise in helping their clients with their tax needs, particularly with the creation and submission of their BASs. They have a more in-depth knowledge of tax legislation and keep up with any changes to guarantee they are followed.

However, bookkeepers’ responsibilities extend beyond simply documenting transactions to also include keeping records, balancing finances, and writing reports. They frequently collaborate with BAS agents and accountants to guarantee the reliability of financial records.

Technology and Software

Bookkeepers and BAS agents both benefit from the use of technological advancements in the field of accounting. These instruments facilitate streamlined financial procedures, automated calculations, and reliable reports.

QuickBooks, Xero, MYOB, and Sage are just some of the most popular options in accounting software. Bookkeepers and BAS agents that want to give their customers the best service possible need to keep up with the newest technological developments.

Thinking About the Price

Factors like as the volume of work, the expertise and skills of the professional, and the complexity of the business’ financial activities can affect the price of hiring a BAS agent or bookkeeper.

Since BAS agents are uniquely qualified to assist their clients with their taxes, they are able to command a greater rate for their expertise. Depending on the parameters agreed upon, bookkeepers may charge an hourly rate or a flat monthly cost.

Working Together with Colleagues in the Field

To provide thorough financial administration for organisations, BAS agents and bookkeepers frequently collaborate with other specialists. They may coordinate with other professionals including CPAs, tax experts, and business advisors to deliver comprehensive services and improve financial outcomes.

Working together, these experts can ensure reliable financial reporting, reduce tax obligations, and spot expansion prospects for their companies.

How to Decide Between a Bookkeeper and a BAS Agent

Whether you should hire a BAS agent or a bookkeeper is determined by your company’s unique circumstances. A BAS agent with expertise in tax law is the best option if your company wants tax-related services, such as compiling and lodging activity statements.

However, a bookkeeper is a better fit if you need broader financial management services, such as regular bookkeeping, financial reporting, and record-keeping. You should evaluate your company’s requirements by thinking about things like the intricacy of your financial dealings, your available funds, and the level of competence you’ll need.


In conclusion, bookkeepers and BAS agents each perform important but complimentary functions in any organisation. BAS agents are tax professionals who help businesses with tax planning, compliance monitoring, and the creation and submission of BASs.

On the other hand, bookkeepers are responsible for keeping track of money, ensuring accuracy, and creating financial reports. Your company’s unique circumstances will determine whether you need a bookkeeper or a BAS agent.

Think about things like what has to be done, who needs to be involved, what kind of expertise is required, what kind of software is needed, and how comfortable everyone is working together. Proper financial management and compliance can be ensured by hiring the correct specialist.


Should I hire a BAS agent in addition to a bookkeeper?

The complexity and type of your business’s financial operations will determine the need for both professionals. Hiring a BAS agent is a good idea if your company needs help with taxes or has questions about regulatory compliance. However, a bookkeeper can meet your needs for both comprehensive financial management and day-to-day bookkeeping.

Second, can an accountant file activity statements?

Despite popular belief, accountants are not allowed to file activity statements. BAS agents are tasked with this duty, and they must be certified by the Tax Practitioners Board.

Thirdly, how frequently should I use a BAS agent or bookkeeper?

Your company’s needs will determine how often you should hire a BAS agent or bookkeeper. Depending on their needs, firms may hire these experts on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. It’s ideal to talk to the professional you employ about your needs and come up with a plan together.

Do accountants and BAS agents have to offer clients tax advice?

Agents registered with the BAS are able to give tax advice and check for adherence to tax laws. But bookkeepers can’t provide you legal advice about your taxes. Accurate record-keeping and the documenting of financial transactions is their primary concern.

What should I look for when hiring a BAS agent or bookkeeper?

You can identify a competent expert by asking around among other business owners, checking with trade groups or directories, or looking them up on the internet. It’s crucial to double-check their credentials before making a final choice.

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Hello, my name is Musa, and I am a writer specialising in business accounting and news. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, I have established myself as a knowledgeable and reliable source of information in the field.

I graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Accounting and finance and went on to work in various accounting firms, where I gained valuable experience in financial analysis, auditing, and taxation. However, I soon realised that my true passion lay in writing about the world of business.

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