Amanda Gome

Amanda Gome

Thursday, 31 March 2011 14:18

Do I do the books myself or outsource?

I am starting a business and have been advised that I should do the books so I can keep a very close eye on all the costs. But I am no good at the numbers and it will take a lot of my time. Do I do the books myself or outsource?


I had a very similar experience when I started SmartCompany. A director advised me to do the books so that I truly understood the costs of the business. I was horrified and refused.


Instead the first person I hired was a bookkeeper for $50 an hour. While I hired journalists to produce a high quality publication and went out to the marketplace and negotiated $100,000 deals with advertisers, she spent three hours a week ($150) paying wages and invoices, implemented MYOB and made sure we set up proper financial records.


She also did other really useful things. She would often bring nuggets of information from other jobs.


She also became the office bitch, questioning any excessive cost even after I had given it the okay.  And she kept a very close eye on our cashflow. But there was one particular afternoon I will never forget.


The phone rang and it was the friendly taxman.  Just a call, he said, to make sure I had registered for such and such and were paying such and such because there were penalties, didn't I know.

My heart flew into my mouth as I struggled to think back. I couldn't remember registering for anything. I had been so busy!


And then I remembered. I had a bookkeeper who had done all that. Just a second, I said. I will put you through to the person who looks after that.

My advice to anyone, whether they are good with figures or not, is to hire a bookkeeper or an accountant.


They will do in an hour what you will do in an afternoon. They will do it properly. You will not. And while it is their job, it is not your job.


You should be selling, networking, strategising, creating and driving your business forward.

Amanda Gome is the CEO of online publishing company Private Media, which owns, and Crikey. She is also the founder and publisher of and She is also an adjunct professor of business at RMIT University. Previously, Amanda was an editor and senior writer at BRW magazine.


Ask Amanda or any other StartupSmart Mentor a question here.

Comments (1)

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Having a good bookkeeper in your business should be seen as asset to your business not an overhead.
A bookkeeper with all the right skills should be able to tell you how to read your Profit and Loss and assist in Budgetting and Cash Flow Reporting.

For all those small business owners and entrepeneurs out there, you start a business because you beleive you are good at it, but you can not be everything to everyone, investing in sound financial reporting is one of the early investments that you should be making in your Business.

Knowing how much it costs you to get Widget X made and to market is fundamental to running your business. Once you have your key costs set its a matter of judement as to the sale price of each item.

Deciding on your accouting software is also important. You base this decision on how big your business is, do you have employee's and what reporting do you want from your software, and how big do you aim to your business, do you need retail eftpos. All these matters need to be considered.

Melinda Koth
Business Figures Pty Ltd
Ph: 1300 940 140
Busfig , March 31, 2011
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