How to Become a BAS Agent

BAS agent reviewing financial activities


Do you want to take on a new career? Becoming a qualified BAS agent has several advantages. It’s an excellent alternative for individuals searching for a steady and well-paying employment with some flexibility. BAS agent jobs are located all throughout Australia, and they come in part-time configurations with adjustable parameters. Plus, you could also freelance or contract your professional services if you have the appropriate expertise.

What is the Difference Between a Bookkeeper and a BAS Agent

There is a lot and also very little difference between the two titles.

You can be a bookkeeper with no formal bookkeeping qualification, but it will require 2-3 years on-the-job experience and training to develop your skills and knowledge. The services that you would perform would include data entry, bank reconciliations, Debtor and Creditor management, supplier payments and potentially basic payroll tasks.

To gain recognition as a bookkeeper through a professional body such as the ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers), you need to have completed (as a minimum) a Cert IV in Accounting & Bookkeeping (FNS40217), or its equivalent. This course runs for approximately 12 months and covers the main elements of bookkeeping duties, including:

  • Maintain Payroll
  • Complete BAS Return
  • Use Computerized Accounting System
  • Administer Subsidiary Ledgers

A BAS Agent on the other hand, can advertise and undertake ‘BAS Agent Services’ for financial reward and other than as an employee of a trading entity.

concept of requirements

BAS Agent Qualifications and Requirements

To become a BAS Agent you need to evidence both formal qualification and ‘on-the-job’ experience. To provide the full range of bookkeeping services, specifically BAS Agent and GST services, you are required to be approved by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). The educational requirement of the TPB to register you as a BAS Agent are core/compulsory units of competency contained withing the qualification Cert IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping (FNS40217). There are also additional experience requirements that a BAS Agent must meet or evidence. For further information you can visit the TPB webpage here: These requirements can be summarized as follows:

  • Fit & Proper Person
    In deciding whether an individual is a fit and proper person, we must consider:

    • is of good fame, integrity and character
    • whether during the previous five years:
      • the individual has been convicted of a serious taxation offence or fraud.
      • the individual has had the status of an undischarged bankrupt
      • the individual has been sentenced or served a term of imprisonment.
  • Must have been awarded a Certificate IV or a higher qualification (for example, a diploma, Advanced diploma or degree) in bookkeeping or accounting. The qualification must have been obtained from a registered training organisation or an equivalent institution.
  • Evidence 1000-1400 hours of experience subject to your qualification:
Regulation Item Educational Qualification Amount of Relevant Experience
101 Tertiary qualifications in accountancy 1,400 hours in the past four years
102 Membership of a professional association 1,000 hours in the past four years
  • Be able to hold and evidence valid Professional Indemnity cover.

Bookkeepers who have been hired/employed do not require this qualification to be able to prepare and lodge BAS returns on the companies deliver bookkeeping services and become a Bookkeeper actually has low entry requirements, for those who are committed to the process.

So while a large part of bookkeeping services offered are unregulated, meaning that you do not need any formal qualification to undertake this work, in reality, the minimum level of qualification required is a Cert IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping (FNS40217). If you are considering a career in accounting or bookkeeping, this should be your starting point.

The Australian Institute of Finance Training offers online self-paced courses in Business, Entrepreneurship and Accounting. Targeted at students looking to enter the bookkeeping industry, start or scale their own business and those looking to simply upskill. We have a suite of targeted Nationally Recognised qualifications alongside specific skill-based ‘how to’ style short courses where you can learn practical skills for everyday use.

For more information please contact us at (07) 3556 3831 or via email at [email protected].