COVID-19 or not, bookkeeping is a taxing but necessary endeavor for any business. Regardless of scale, businesses need to know the current state of their finances. Company owners and management members should at least have a working knowledge of the most commonly-used accounting jargon. This way, they can make decisions and allocate resources with an eye on maintaining and building the company’s financial health.
The following is a short list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on bookkeeping in the Philippines. It includes answers to general questions like “What is bookkeeping?” to more specific questions like “What is the difference between bookkeeper and accountant?”. We hope that this list can help you answer some of your most common questions when it comes to bookkeeping.
Q: What is bookkeeping?
Bookkeeping includes recording, storing, and retrieving financial transactions for an entity such as a business, nonprofit organization, individual, etc. It also requires knowledge of basic financial accounting concepts such as debits and credits, balance sheets, and income statements. It is part of the full business accounting process.
On the other hand, accounting refers to recording, organizing, and understanding your company’s financial records. Accounting can tell you which parts of the business actually makes you money and whether your business is making a profit or not.
Q: What’s the difference between bookkeeper and accountant?
A bookkeeper is the one who keeps, records, and gathers financial data, while an accountant summarizes, interprets and communicates this data for financial decisions. The two roles are very similar, but still very different.
While an accountant can do bookkeeping tasks (but usually don’t), they are better suited to consulting work, such as preparing your financial reports and helping you understand the financial impact of your previous (and upcoming) decisions.
Q: What are some examples of bookkeeping tasks?
Typical bookkeeping tasks include:
- Processing employee payroll and related governmental reports
- Billing for goods sold/services provided to clients
- Recording receipts from customers
- Monitoring individual accounts receivable
- Providing financial reports
- Paying suppliers
- Verifying and recording invoices received from suppliers
- Recording depreciation and other adjusting entries
Q: What makes a good bookkeeper?
A good bookkeeper will help improve business cash flow, maximize tax exemptions, and free you up to focus on growing your business.
Q: Can I do the bookkeeping myself?
Yes, but you need to ask yourself if this is really the best use of your time. For many business owners, time is their most valuable asset. Consider if you have other business tasks that need attending to. A good rule of thumb is that if you can outsource or delegate it to someone else, then do so.
We can only do so much in a day, so your limited time is better spent on pursuing high-leverage tasks and ideas. In the long run, you may also find that it costs more money to do the bookkeeping yourself—especially if you don’t have the necessary experience or interest
Q: Should I outsource my bookkeeping?
Yes, but it also depends on how much you’d like to micromanage.
If you like having a tight rein over your company’s finances, being your own bookkeeper might work for you. However, our general recommendation is to outsource as it saves your time, money, and energy. Hiring a professional bookkeeper or accountant is always the better choice, as it can save you from making mistakes that could eventually cost you a lot.
Q: Will I save time and money if I outsource accounting or bookkeeping?
Yes to both! Your time is better off spent on tasks that will grow your business the most, like strategizing and planning for business growth. Some benefits of outsourcing business bookkeeping and accounting include:
- Reduced operational costs (e.g. payroll, office space, equipment)
- Lesser risk of paying penalties and fines for non-compliance
- Improved Cash Flow
- More time spent on core business competencies
- Better insights with which to boost your internal systems and processes
- Allows you to easily scale up as needed
Q: Where can I find a bookkeeping firm in Makati?
DAYANAN Business Consultancy offers bookkeeping services and is located in the heart of the Philippines’ business district. You may contact us at telephone number +632 7576-8476 or visit us at LG1, Cityland III, V.A. Rufino corner Esteban Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City.
Q: What are some examples of bookkeeping and/or accounting software?
While a spreadsheet program like MS Excel or Google Sheets may be useful for businesses with a tight budget, it’s still limited compared to specialized bookkeeping software such as Quickbooks.
Q: What bookkeeping records must be maintained by businesses in the Philippines and what are they for?
According to the Philippines’ Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), there are six books that every business should keep and maintain regularly:
- General Ledger
- Cash Receipts Book
- Cash Disbursements Book
- Subsidiaries Sales Journal
- Subsidiaries Purchases Journal
1. Journal – Accounting entries are recorded here in chronological order before the transactions are posted to the General Ledger.
2. General Ledger – It holds account information needed to prepare the company’s financial statements. Data in the general ledger is segregated by type into accounts for revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, and equity.
3. Cash receipts book – It is a detailed record of all cash inflows to a business, such as cash sales and collections of accounts receivable.
4. Cash disbursements book – This is a record of all financial expenditures made by a company before they are posted to the general ledger. It includes disbursements for cash purchases and payments of payables.
5. Subsidiary Sales Journal – It is a record of the details of all sales transactions. The information stored in this journal is a summary of customer-issued invoices. This journal only stores receivables; this means that sales made in cash are not recorded in the sales journal.
6. Subsidiary Purchases Journal – This contains all cash and credit purchases of goods and services. A Subsidiary Purchases Journal contains information about purchasing transactions. All types of purchases made on credit are recorded here.
The BIR also mandates businesses to keep other accounting records such as registers, invoices, receipts, vouchers, returns, and other source documents that support entries in the books of accounts.
Q: For how long does a company have to store its accounting books and records?
10 years per RR 17-2013 and RR 05-2014 issued by BIR. This is because Section 203 of the National Revenue Code provides that in pending cases relating to tax evasion or failure to file returns, the BIR has the authority to examine tax documents for up to 10 years after the discovery of fraud or omission.
Q: What are the common mistakes or misconceptions about bookkeeping that people should be aware of?
There are two common misconceptions when it comes to bookkeeping and accounting. The first is regarding the start of operations and the second is about when to file tax returns.
- Businesses should only start operating AFTER it obtains necessary permits and licenses from the relevant government offices, either the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for corporations and partnerships or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for sole proprietors. Aside from these, permits and licenses from local government units and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) must also be obtained.
- Once the BIR has issued the Certificate of Registration, tax returns MUST be filed, EVEN IF there are no transactions to report. Not doing so will incur you some penalties.
Q: What are the BIR tax reports/requirements that we need to maintain? How often do we submit them to BIR?
The taxpayer needs to regularly file tax returns. What these returns are will depend on the tax types indicated in the BIR Certificate of Registration (COR). Generally speaking though, tax returns need to be filed monthly, quarterly, and yearly, as follows:
- Withholding Taxes – filed monthly and annually
- Value Added Tax – filed monthly and quarterly
- Income Tax – filed quarterly and annually
Aside from tax returns, licenses and permits should be renewed annually, while annual reports should be filed and paid.
Q: Do I need to comply with BIR reports if I already have a registered entity in the Philippines but it’s not yet operational?
Once the BIR issues the Certificate of Registration, you must file, even if no transactions have taken place. Otherwise, you will be charged penalties for non-compliance.
Q: Are there any additional tax requirements for foreign businesses registered in the Philippines?
There are NO additional tax compliance requirements for foreign businesses, but there may be additional tax filings that are unique to foreign entities. An example is the branch profit remittance tax on profits remitted by a Philippine Branch to its Head Office.
Q: What happens if we don’t comply with the mandated accounting/bookkeeping requirements?
The SEC and BIR can impose penalties for failure to submit financial statements and tax returns on time. While the exact fines and penalties vary on a case to case basis, complying with basic accounting/bookkeeping requirements is always a good idea.
Thanks for reading this article on frequently asked questions for bookkeeping in the Philippines. If you want to grow your business, outsourcing is generally the way to go. If you need bookkeeping services in Makati or are searching for a bookkeeping firm in Makati, we at DAYANAN can help you! You may contact us here for any inquiries and our team of experts will gladly assist you.