How to Do Bookkeeping: Basics Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know

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tax preparation

If you wait until the end of the year to reconcile or get your financial transactions in order, you won’t know if you or your bank made a mistake until you’re buried in paperwork at tax time. Regularly organizing and updating your books can help you catch that erroneous overdraft fee today, rather than six months from now, when it’s too late to bring up. You want to spend less time on record-keeping and more time on your business. Companies also have to set up their computerized accounting systems when they set up bookkeeping for their businesses. Most companies use computer software to keep track of their accounting journal with their bookkeeping entries. Very small firms may use a basic spreadsheet, like Microsoft Excel. Larger businesses adopt more sophisticated software to keep track of their accounting journals.

Excel is useful for several applications, including bookkeeping. Businesses around the world use the spreadsheet-based program. Training on using Excel is also readily available online to get you and your employees up to speed if required.

You can do this manually using pen and paper or through old-fashioned ledger books; however, there are also modern software programs designed specifically for businesses . These programs make it easier for you to keep track of all relevant financial data without having to spend tons of time doing calculations yourself.

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In order to have a viable and valuable company, revenues must exceed expenses. Accounts is needed for every transaction – so at least one account is debited and at least one account is credited. For now, let’s demystify the five – yup, just five – basic account types necessary for bookkeeping. Then, businesses need to list their accounts by creating a general ledger – called a Chart of Accounts – which we’ll cover more in a bit. Bookkeepers and accountants here so you know when to hire each. Accountants have a bachelor’s degree in accounting – or a finance degree considered an adequate substitute – and interpret, classify, analyze, report and summarize financial data.

This is all the cash that flows out from your business, such as utilities and employee salaries. Learn how to automate your small business, and stop devoting your time to boring tasks. Here are 12 areas of your business you can automate today. If Bench does your bookkeeping, you can also upload and store as many digital receipts and documents as you’d like in the Bench app.

Bookkeeping Basics: A Beginner’s Guide for Businesses

You can either do it every month or at the end of every quarter. If you’re afraid you might procrastinate, or get caught up in other aspects of running your business, it can help to have a dedicated person do this for you. If they don’t match, you’ll have to go through your bookkeeping record to find the error or missing entries. Jesus Morales is an Enrolled Agent and has 7 years of bookkeeping and tax experience. Register today to learn how to manage your money and assets. Use a journal and general ledger to document business financials. Beyond bookkeeping, you can also make life easier by ensuring every email you ever send from your business will feature your professional email signature.

  • Our bookkeepers here at Bench can do your books for you entirely online.
  • Whether you keep them as digital or hard copies is up to you, although there is a growing shift towards digitizing all records.
  • When you keep track of your financial transactions, it’s easy to create and monitor budgets that optimize expenses for healthy business cash flow.
  • Bookkeeping enables you to keep track of your expenses so you can budget better.
  • Depending on the type of accounting system used by the business, each financial transaction is recorded based on supporting documentation.

Make sure to tackle your books when your mind is fresh and engaged—say, at the start of the day before you open your doors rather than late at night, after you’ve closed up shop. You want to be at your best when you’re looking at figures that explain your business’s profitability and help you chart a course for progress. Good bookkeeping is foundational to running a profitable business. After all, if you don’t know how much you’re making or where that money is going, you’ll have a hard time finding ways to expand your profitability. Now that you’ve reconciled – or balanced – your books, you need to take a closer look to holistically understand your company’s financial health.

Purchasing account

Bookkeeping is important because accurate accounting records are essential to a company’s sustainability. Accurate bookkeeping helps a business manage its cash flow, meet its financial obligations and plan its investments. At least once a week, record all financial transactions, including incoming invoices, bill payments, sales, and purchases. And make it a priority to close your books regularly too. You may do this every month, but at the very least, balance and close your books every quarter.

Keeping a close watch on your cash flow can help you avoid running out of funds and incurring expensive bank fees. Keep a record of all receipts – this is your proof of how you’ve spent funds throughout the year and can be invaluable if you’re audited. To understand the financial health of your business, you need to have precise bookkeeping. Promote your business accounting or bookkeeping practice. Choose accounting software that meets the needs of your business and your clients.

The Accounting Process

Learn the eight steps in the cycle process to complete… A debtor is a person or company that owes your business money.

When do I need extra bookkeeping help?

If you’re a small-business owner, you’re probably used to doing everything yourself. You’ve used your entrepreneurial prowess to produce a product or service that your customers need. And avoiding spending any money when you think you can just take care of a task yourself is tempting.But bookkeeping mistakes are costly and threaten success. For instance, ever looked at your bank statements and thought, Where is all the money we made this month? Then it’s time to get help with bookkeeping.As a small-business owner, you have a few cost-effective bookkeeping solutions:Hiring an in-house accountant or bookkeeperInvesting in bookkeeping or accounting softwareOutsourcing your bookkeeping to a third-party company

However, for the novice, the introduction of bookkeeping-specific vocabulary and the rules that govern proper bookkeeping processes can be overwhelming. With this insight, you could hit pause on less profitable services, and focus on freelance coaching to make more money. Your low overhead means your deductions are limited (there’s only so much a laptop and work desk can deduct…), so make sure you set aside enough money for tax season. Many beginners often mix up bookkeeping with accounting, but these two fields couldn’t be more different. The greatest distinction between these two lies in its goal.

For example, if you prepare and post an invoice in the amount of $150 to John Brown for consulting, you’ll need to record that information in a journal entry. If you want to know what’s happening in your business and make the right financial decisions, bookkeeping should be a non-negotiable part of your business. It’s extremely tedious trying to go through 365 days worth of invoices in your inbox. To avoid this annoying hassle, set a date every month to do your bookkeeping and COMMIT to it. At this stage, you will want to invest in a quality bookkeeping software. Yes… this software would require you to spend more money, but the features easily make up for it. Fast forward just six months, we had restructured the agency across the world.


Assets can also be intangible, such as intellectual property. 5) Establish business credibility and professionalism – You always want to ensure your business is credible in the eyes of the public, lenders, creditors, and everyone else. Keeping personal and business accounts separate demonstrates that you can be trusted by suppliers and clients. 3) Leave a clear audit trail – When you use a separate bank account for your business, you are more likely to avoid audits. When business transactions are separate, there will be a clear audit trail that makes any potential audits much less painful. 2) Enjoy more efficient tax returns – Tax returns will be more accurate.

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