Keeping track of business finances is one part of an entrepreneur’s job that most consider daunting, leading many to add a full-time accountant to their staff. However, by taking advantage of the resources available to small business owners, you can feel confident taking care of your own financial records — and help conserve the resources of your growing company. Here’s how.
Go directly to the government for assistance
Start by visiting the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) online self-employed resource center. There you’ll find information and step-by-step guides for the necessary tax filings, compliance and regulatory requirements self-employed and small business owners need for every stage of their business.
Use a small business tax service
There are numerous small business tax services in cities all across the country that offer assistance on tax issues. While tax is just one specific service area, a specialist can help with complicated tax filings and ensure you have accurate financial statements.
Hire an intern from a local university or college
Accounting majors from universities and colleges are often seeking internships to fulfill a degree requirement or gain experience to add to their resumes. Tap into burgeoning talent to assist with all types of financial needs for your business at a free or greatly reduced rate by hiring an intern from a local school.
Go back to school
You may wish to consider taking your own college courses and even getting a degree in accounting or finance through an online university. This will ensure that you have all the basics and a working knowledge in place to make the most educated decisions about your business’ financial record keeping and forecasting.
Attend local money management seminars
If going back to school doesn’t interest you, consider attending workshops, seminars or conferences to bring you up to speed on accounting basics. Many of these meetings also provide information about tax documentation, financial planning, payroll and money management.
Visit online accounting forums or social media platforms
Online forums and social media platforms are filled with financial consultants who are eager to answer your questions and concerns. These experts can help with general information or a specific problem.
Be smart about how you track and record all financial information
Staying on top of your financial records is one of the best ways to act as your own accountant. By using self-employed accounting software, you can log all purchases, keep detailed notes on expenses and cash flow, and store current financial information all in one place, making monthly reconciliations more manageable.
Avoid common accounting mistakes
Being your own accountant means you may not be aware of some of the common mistakes that small business owners often make. However, by knowing what these common errors are in advance, you can avoid having to hire a professional to fix the problems you made for yourself. Some of the common accounting mistakes found with the self-employed include:
- mixing personal and business expenses
- not establishing the best credit terms
- not staying on top of outstanding invoices
- avoiding tax payment processes
- not forecasting the future business results
By following these tips, you can act as your own accountant, helping to conserve the resources that would need to be invested in hiring a full-time accountant. However, as your business continues to grow with more clients and employees, you will need to consider the benefits of having an accountant on staff. Until then, stay on top of your financial data, keep good records, get help on specific and technical tasks related to your financial records and continue to educate yourself to enhance your working knowledge of accounting, bookkeeping and payroll.