Frequently Asked Questions

Read through our frequently asked questions

What is Bookkeeping?

Every business is required to keep a record of its business transactions. A bookkeeper is the person who typically assists in recording the financial transactions of the business. This process often involves the use of a computerised accounting system such Xero or MYOB. It can also be done manually using Microsoft Excel.

The primary purpose of bookkeeping is for the bookkeeper to record, classify and report information about a business’ financial transactions. A bookkeeper prepares a set of books (usually called the “accounts”) for the business owner. Bookkeeping is therefore the process of identifying, measuring and recording business transactions. This is typically done on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the volume of transactions as well as the size and complexity of the business. Accountants typically prepare end of year financial statements and tax returns.

What is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?

Once these accounts have been prepared by the bookkeeper, they are usually passed onto and are reviewed by an accountant. The accountant checks the accounts makes any relevant adjustments and prepares a set of financial statements in accordance with relevant Accounting Standards.

The external accountant or tax agent also uses these financial statements as the basis for preparing the annual income tax return of the business for filing with Inland Revenue. Sometimes bookkeepers perform accounting work and accountants will sometimes perform bookkeeping work.

Despite the formal distinction between bookkeeping and accounting noted above, in practice, bookkeepers and accountants often work closely together, sharing information relating to the financial affairs of the business.

The overall objective of both bookkeeping and accounting is to ensure that the financial transactions of the business are accurately recorded and that the information (in the form of financial statements) is presented to users (both internal and external) so that these users can make sound and informed decisions.

As bookkeeping and accounting are so closely aligned, it is essential that bookkeepers develop a solid understanding of accounting doctrines and principles. Regardless of whether the business is a listed public company, a small business, a government department, a non-profit organisation, a family trust or an individual trading as a sole trader, bookkeeping principles apply universally across each type of business entity. All of these entities engage in business activities, and hence users require financial information that is reliable, relevant, understandable and timely.

What is Xero?

Xero is a New Zealand-based software company that has developed a cloud-based accounting program for small and medium-sized businesses. Its products are based on the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and sold by subscription. There are a range of subscription options available that you can view here – Xero Pricing Plans

Xero was founded by Rod Drury as an alternative to traditional desktop accounting software which he felt had become outdated. Xero was officially formed in 2006 in Wellington, New Zealand where the global headquarters are still located. Unlike traditional desktop software (think Microsoft Excel) where all your data is stored locally (on the computer you use the software on) with cloud software, your data lives online, so it’s always accessible from anywhere at any time if you have an internet connection.

Xero has created a short easy to understand guide to understanding cloud accounting.  So if you are a little unsure about what this really means then please have a look at the Xero site now and read through the information – Xero’s Guide to understanding Cloud Accounting.

What is MYOB?

MYOB is an accounting software program suited to small and medium business owners who need to process invoices, quotes, manage inventory and process payroll.

There are two MYOB versions available: MYOB AccountRight and MYOB Essentials. MYOB AccountRight is desktop-based software and MYOB Essentials is online accounting software.

With MYOB you can:

Link your Bank Accounts – automatically bring in transactions made on your bank and credit card accounts and match them to your MYOB Essentials transactions. This means you’ll spend less time entering data.

See a Snapshot of your Business – follow what’s happening in your business. See the latest transactions and invoice payments, money coming in and going out, who owes you money and who you owe money to, bank and credit card account details, linked bank account details and more—all from the one summary page.

Keep Track of your GST – always know the amount of GST you owe and be reminded when your next tax return is due.

Manage Invoices and Expenses – send invoices to customers, record expenses, and keep track of these payments.

Pay your Employees – calculate wages, tax, leave, and any additions or deductions from your employees’ pay.

Reports – produce accurate reports about any area of your business. You can view them on your screen, print them, or save them as PDFs for your records and later reprint.

Can I use the NZQBA badge once I join as a member?

Yes, you can use the NZQBA student, certified or qualified Bookkeeper badge once you are a member. Many of our members use this badge on their email signature, business cards, website and LinkedIn profiles. You must follow the branding guidelines when using the NZQBA badge.

Download the branding guidelines here

Will I get a Certificate once I am a Certified and/or Qualified Bookkeeper?

Yes, you will receive a Certificate once you are approved for membership. You can view a sample certificate here:

Download a sample Certified Bookkeeper Certificate

Download a sample Qualified Bookkeeper Certificate

Am I subject to any code of conduct or Code of ethics as a member?

Yes, all members of NZQBA are required to comply with the Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.

A copy of this can be requested from the NZQBA Membership manager at any time by emailing info@nzqba.co.nz

Is it possible to purchase a Bookkeeping Franchise instead of starting a Bookkeeping Business from scratch?

Yes, we recommend you talk to Number Nurses if you are looking and purchasing a Bookkeeping Franchise. View the Franchise options available

Do I have to do Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours as a member?

Yes, Certified Bookkeepers are required to complete 20 hours of CPD each year and Qualified Bookkeepers are required to complete 25 hours per year. CPD hours can accumulate through completing online courses, attending webinars, conferences or reading Bookkeeping newsletters or text books. One hour of learning equals 1 CPD point. You will need to keep track of your CPD hours and submit an annual CPD declaration via The Bookkeepers Hub at the end of each year.

Can I be a qualified Bookkeeper without a Diploma or Degree?

Yes, AAT offers the AATQB membership to those that have completed The Career Academy Certificate in Bookkeeping and AAT Qualified Bookkeepers Assessment of Competence. This is a preferred, cost effective and fast track way than studying a full Diploma or Degree.

Do bookkeepers do payroll?

Yes, Bookkeepers do both payroll and Payroll processing

What a bookkeeper should know?

Bookkeepers should know the following:

  • Duties and responsibilities of a bookkeeper
  • Understanding financial transactions
  • How to process transactions, receipts and payments
  • Learn bookkeeping processes
  • How to execute the principles of double-entry bookkeeping
  • Understand journals, control accounts and trial balances
  • Preparation of financial statements for SMEs
  • Payroll legislation and processing payroll
  • Understand and application of GST legislation & Completing GST Returns

How can I learn bookkeeping at home?

We recommend that you contact several different training providers to see which one suits your needs the best. We recommend you use an AAT Approved training provider. Once you have agreed to sign up with a provider and you are registered with AAT you can access both online resources that gives you a platform at home to study online at your own leisure.

How long does it take to become a Qualified Bookkeeper?

With AAT, you can become a Qualified Bookkeeper within six months to a year, however this does depend on the method of study such as classroom or distance learning. Having completed The Career Academy Certificate in Bookkeeping and AAT Qualified Bookkeeper Assessment of Competence,  you can apply for Qualified Bookkeeper membership with AAT straight away.

Should I get Insurance if I start a Bookkeeping Business?

Yes. When you provide a professional service to someone in exchange for a fee, or even without a fee, you have a duty of care to deliver on the services you committed to and to do so to a certain standard. Any failure to provide a certain level of service can create a potential liability that can be founded on one of three grounds; under contractual law, statutory law or a tort. NZQBA have a partnership with BizCover who offer NZQBA members heavily discounted rates on insurance. 

Does Inland Revenue recognise the value and status of the bookkeeping profession in New Zealand?

Yes, New Zealand bookkeepers can become Bookkeeper Agents with Inland Revenue. See the full press release here

How do the NZQBA membership monthly fees work?

NZQBA uses a company called Debitsuccess. They will process your membership payments monthly through their secure portal. By registering as a member of NZQBA, you are deemed to have accepted Debitsuccess terms and conditions here.

Who founded NZQBA and who manages it?

Daniel Hunt, director of TCA set up NZQBA and partnered with the well-established Bookkeepers Hub. NZQBA is an association designed specifically to support members and develop the Bookkeeping profession in New Zealand. It was established specifically to offer high quality connections and excellent benefits to members of the Bookkeeping profession.

While NZQBA is owned by TCA’s director Daniel Hunt, it is controlled and managed by experienced Bookkeepers. Members also have a large input into the key decisions the association makes. You can view the NZQBA Management team here

How do I make a complaint about a member of NZQBA?

The public are able to complain to NZQBA about a member’s alleged breach of the Code of Ethics. You can make a complaint by contacting info@nzqba.co.nz

If a compliant is received:

    1. A person empowered to do so by the Executive of NZQBA will promptly investigate the complaint;
    2. The member must cooperate with the investigation, including providing NZQBA with any information reasonably necessary to enable them to investigate the complaint; and
    3. If the complaint is upheld, or if the member fails to cooperate with the investigation, their membership may be suspended or terminated