When you decide to start a business, you typically think about your passions, whether you’re a baker ready to share your award-winning baked goods or a tech guru passionate about creating new computer solutions. What you may not be as eager to think about is the accounting aspect of running a business. As a small-business owner, it’s your job to make sure you manage your company’s money correctly. But if you’re an ideas person and not a numbers person, you may not be all that excited about handling the books. You can make your job as your own business accountant a little easier with a few tips.
Learn Bookkeeping Basics
Bookkeeping can seem unfamiliar when you first start your business if you don’t have any experience with financial reports or keeping books. Investing a little time into learning the basics of bookkeeping makes the concepts easier to understand, and it makes your workload easier. Many community colleges and professional accountants offer free or reasonably priced online courses that teach the necessary skills. Why not spend a few hours learning some basic bookkeeping strategies? It could prove to be a wise investment of your time.
You can also take a self-study approach with available resources and learning opportunities. Some of those options include:
- Online collections of informational articles, such as the QuickBooks Small Business Centre
- Webinars from accountants
- Classes and seminars from business associations
- Books about accounting
- Videos showing basic accounting concepts
- Tutorials for accounting software you use
- In-person session with an accountant to learn the basics
Choose the Right Accounting Software
Keeping your business finances straight is much easier when you have the right tools. Accounting software programs like QuickBooks Online help small-business owners save time, reduce errors, and provide a backup of data. For example, QuickBooks lets you log transactions, invoice customers, and create custom reports with ease. QuickBooks always uses the latest accounting and tax rules, so you know your information remains compliant. The system handles calculations for you, which reduces the chances of errors in your math.
Choose the right accounting software for your business by figuring out which features you need and comparing the available options. Ease of use is a high priority if you’re not familiar with bookkeeping. Most small business owners need the basics to start out. That includes expense tracking, income tracking, and invoicing. Having the option to add payroll to your program is helpful as you expand and add employees. QuickBooks also works with many apps that help you run your business with tasks such as inventory management, detailed expense tracking, CRM, time tracking, and project management. When you use a compatible app, the data transfers automatically to your QuickBooks records, simplifying the process even more.
Organize Financial Records
Effective bookkeeping requires keeping accurate records. Choosing a method that fits with your work habits and your company’s workflow makes the system easier to use. Some entrepreneurs find it useful to create a physical or digital folder for storing receipts and other information, and then they designate a time each week to update their books. Others use a readily accessible in-basket for employees to turn in receipts and paid invoices. If you keep paper copies of financial documents, create a filing system with clear labels to keep those items neat and organized.
If you prefer digital management, QuickBooks lets you keep all of your digital financial records in one spot for easy organization and access when you need the records. You can easily search for the records you need. Plus, you cut down on how much physical space you need to store the records for the minimum six-year document storage period recommended by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Hire Professional Accounting Help
Consider enlisting a bookkeeper or an accountant to set up your bookkeeping system. An accountant can evaluate your business needs and recommend a method of tracking your expenses that makes the process easy, efficient, and effective. Once the financial pro gets the system running, you can handle the day-to-day bookkeeping tasks by entering the information into QuickBooks. A professional can also answer any questions you have. Even if you have a grasp on accounting basics, you may eventually have questions or new situations that arise. Your accountant can answer those questions or help you reconfigure your accounting system as your business grows and changes. You can even have your accountant review your books at a later date to make sure you’re on track. If paying a seasoned pro doesn’t fit your budget, you can hire a college student who’s majoring in accounting to assist you.
No matter how you feel about accounting, staying on top of the books and creating an efficient, effective accounting system helps keep your finances on track. Keep your books accurate and up-to-date automatically. Change the way you manage your finances now.