Keeping track of your finances is an essential part of getting your business off to a strong start. Handling those duties yourself saves you money, but it can also take a large chunk of time, especially if you don’t have a strong background in accounting. Simple changes to how you handle your small business bookkeeping can streamline the process to leave more time for your other responsibilities.
Consult With an Accountant
Even if you plan to do your accounting yourself, it can be helpful to consult with an accountant to help you get started. An accountant can advise you on how to handle your day-to-day bookkeeping to streamline the process, and they can help you set up accounting software that makes the job easier. It’s also important to comply with all regulations, which your accountant can help you understand. Once you have the key pieces in place, you can take over the accounting process.
Create Standard Accounting Procedures
Like any business process, your accounting improves when you have standard procedures established. Having written procedures helps to ensure you follow basic bookkeeping and accounting principles without missing any important steps. A checklist that covers those standard procedures makes the job easier when you sit down to do your accounting. Standard processes also create consistency if different people handling accounting duties. That’s helpful if the person who normally handles the duties is gone or leaves the company. Reviewing those processes and updating them regularly can help you remain efficient and continue streamlining your processes. This is especially important as your business grows and the bookkeeping tasks become more complex.
Store Documents Efficiently
To comply with Canadian business law, you need to keep records to satisfy your reporting obligations to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The financial documents you need to keep include paper and electronic receipts, detailed records of expenses and sales, payroll details, and taxes you collect and pay. Keep the records for six years starting from the end of the tax year in which you reported them, because they can save you time and money should the CRA audit your business. In case of an audit, efficient bookkeeping is vital to your small business’s continued good health.
You should organize these records in a way that’s easy to understand in case you need them later. For hard copies, you need a safe place to store the documents where they stay protected. Using file folders with clear labels helps you sort out the documents so they’re easy to find. You can also digitize your documents to save physical storage space. It’s a good idea to back up your digital financial records in case something happens to the originals.
Use Online Accounting Systems
Online accounting programs such as QuickBooks Online take lots of the guesswork out of doing your own bookkeeping. These programs help you create electronic invoices and store and record electronic receipts, so you get paid faster while keeping your finances organized.
This sort of virtual bookkeeping works especially well when you have a mobile business, because it gives you easy access to your accounts from your tablet or smartphone and takes the hassle out of remote sales. Virtual bookkeeping also helps you track changing tax rates, create reports with just a click, and download and organize your banking transactions.
If you work with an accountant for filing taxes or other financial tasks, online accounting makes it easier to share your financial documents. Hundreds of online apps work with QuickBooks, so you can make a system that suits the needs of your small business without facing a steep learning curve. If you need help calculating customer discounts or job costs, the desktop version of QuickBooks has you covered.
Automate Your Accounting Processes
Automated accounting saves you time and energy when balancing your books. Tools such as automated data entry remove the costly mistakes that come from human error while also cutting down on accounting redundancy to streamline your bookkeeping. Artificial intelligence in accounting can help you suss out valuable business insights from your business transactions. When you combine automated accounting with AI, you can better see spots where your business is losing money and identify top-selling inventory items, so you can plug financial leaks quickly and plan inventory purchases well in advance. Online accounting programs such as QuickBooks also let you share data with your accountant automatically, such as by sending out pre-scheduled invoices for reoccurring bills. These programs also back up data as soon as you enter it.
Handle Accounting Consistently
Getting into a routine with your accounting helps create consistency. You may be tempted to put off bookkeeping and do it all at once, but it’s usually easier to do it more frequently. If you wait too long, you may miss issues, such as bounced checks. Regular bookkeeping also helps you spot overdue customer invoices, which can affect your cash flow. That regular monitoring helps you identify those late-paying clients, so you can contact them to encourage faster payment.
A little forethought can make handling your own business accounts and bookkeeping hassle-free. With access to computers, mobile devices, and all-inclusive bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks, you can know where your business stands at all times and plan for future growth with ease. Keep your books accurate and up to date automatically. Change the way you manage your finances now.