What is bookkeeping?
Put simply, bookkeeping is the day-to-day recording of the financial transactions and information pertaining to a business. It ensures that records of each individual financial transaction are correct, up-to-date and comprehensive. Transactions include purchases, sales, receipts, and payments either made by, or made out to, a business or person.
With proper bookkeeping, companies are able to track all information on its books to make key operating, investing, and financing decisions. Accuracy is therefore key to the process.
Today, with modern bookkeeping solutions such as QuickBooks, the bookkeeping function is becoming ever more digital. Yet, the bookkeeping function retains many of its core activities, such as:
- Recording income from services rendered or products sold
- Recording expenses such as rent, utilities and office supplies
- Managing payroll
- Loan payments
- Creating invoices for products or services
- Making payments for goods and services
- Ensuring that balances in a company’s own books match to bank records
- Tracking accounts payable – i.e. money a company owes
- Tracking accounts receivable – i.e. money owed to a company
- Maintaining the general ledger, which is the master accounting document that stores all financial transactions
Essentially, bookkeeping means recording and tracking the financial aspects of the business in an organised way. It is essential for every healthy business, but is also useful for individuals and non-profit organisations.
While the terms bookkeeping and accounting are often used interchangeably, bookkeeping is, in essence, the foundation on which accounting is built. Bookkeeping refers specifically to the tasks and practices involved in recording the financial activities, while accounting is more analytical in nature.