A beginners guide to small business bookkeeping

basic bookkeeping for small business

While accounting encompasses these data-gathering duties, this field also tends to involve analyzing the numbers and making profit and loss projections. However, bookkeeping as a term doesn’t necessarily include such long-term calculations and analyzes. That said, good bookkeeping ensures that you have the numbers and data that you need to help your accountant make predictions about your business’ future, and diagnose your business’ financial health.

  • Your accounting ledger serves as the hub for all your financial information—in particular, all your accounts and transactions.
  • Before you take on any small-business bookkeeping tasks, you must decide whether a single- or double-entry accounting system is a better fit.
  • While you could handle accounting for your small business on your own, you may consider outsourcing it to an accounting pro.
  • Bookkeeping has the potential to be a profitable business if you’re able to maintain a solid roster of clients who are willing to pay competitive rates for your services.
  • Proper financial records make it easier for you to analyze the financial state of your firm and determine areas that need improvement.
  • You may do this every month, but at the very least, balance and close your books every quarter.

This is a highly recommended method because it tells the company’s financial status based on known incoming and outgoing funds. Because the funds are accounted for in the bookkeeping, you use the data to determine growth. Every financial transaction should have a line item in the general ledger, which tracks everything in one place. The general ledger notates the account number to which the debit or credit is applied. The best accounting software automates a lot of the process in journal entries for regular debits and credits to help eliminate possible errors in data entry. Bookkeeping is the backbone of your accounting and financial systems, and can impact the growth and success of your small business.

Acquiring Clients for Your Bookkeeping Business

A balance sheet is a financial statement that covers all of a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity. The balance sheet summarizes all of this and provides an overview of a business’s health for a given period. It will be even easier to keep your records organized, stay on top of time management, send out invoices, and more in a cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks Online. Mixing together personal and business expenses in the same account can also result in unnecessary stress when you need to file taxes or do your bookkeeping. It could mean a business expense gets lost in your personal account and you miss out on an important deduction.

Your record keeping will be a lot more effective if you can quickly and retrace your financial activities – which is why software is a good option to consider as it can do this effortlessly. With records in good shape and neatly organised, you know exactly what is stored where so you save a lot of valuable time. If you’re too busy and approaching tax deadlines, you’ll be thankful that you took the time to keep your records nice and tidy so that you save time by knowing exactly where to look. The main reason for reconciliation is to ensure the accuracy and validity of your financial information. When you reconcile transactions, any mismatches, or unauthorized changes that have occurred during the reporting period come to light, which allows you to timely react and correct them.

Evaluate performance & plan for the future

Individuals who are successful bookkeeping professionals are highly organized, can balance ledgers accurately, have an eye for detail and are excellent communicators. Whether you do the bookkeeping yourself or hire someone to do it, certain elements are fundamental to properly maintaining the books. Some of these elements are done more regularly than others to ensure that the books are always up to date.

basic bookkeeping for small business

We get it, it always hurts a little inside when you have to spend money in your business. However, accounts payable gives you a much clearer view of everything you spend. Think of this account as one that represents the money that your business owes in the form of bills and invoices from vendors. Implement a small business bookkeeping system and stick to it so that you can keep accurate records every day and there won’t be any mistakes when you’re filing your tax returns. Rather than facing a major surprise when the taxman comes knocking, it’s a good idea that you budget for tax as you go along so you don’t have to pay a big chunk at once.

Bookkeeping 101: Bookkeeping Basics for Small Businesses

The world of accounting and bookkeeping can be confusing when you’re new to it. To help make things easier, we’ve collected definitions for some common bookkeeping terms. Let’s explore some of the basics of bookkeeping for small businesses so you can start your business confidently. The main difference is in focus—bookkeeping is centered on tracking numbers on a routine basis, while accounting is more concerned with the bigger picture that those numbers paint.

It can be produced for one period to gain insight into the month’s profitability, or produced for the year to period. And sometimes it can be produced to include comparisons against the prior year’s same period or the prior year’s year-to-period data. Most accounting software offers a range of features that are suited for almost any type of small business. It might feel daunting at first, but the sooner you get a handle on this important step, the sooner you’ll feel secure in your business’s finances.

Choose an accounting method

The best bookkeeping software for self-employed people enables online bookkeeping and makes the process much easier. You likely have multiple ways to receive payments and multiple platforms that you sell products on. Your bookkeeping tool should integrate with all of these, so you can automatically pull in transactions and cut down on repetitive data entry. This includes income from all sources and all expenses (including payroll). You’ll log each entry as either expense or income, with the date, time, amount, and perhaps a brief note on what the transaction is.

  • The equity accounts include all the claims the owners have against the company.
  • If not done at the time of the transaction, the bookkeeper will create and send invoices for funds that need to be collected by the company.
  • Companies also have to set up their computerized accounting systems when they set up bookkeeping for their businesses.
  • You’ll notice that the A/R account, which was debited in the first entry, will be credited (reduced) because the invoice has been paid.
  • There are numerous software options for small businesses, with QuickBooks and FreshBooks being two of the most popular.
  • Accounting is the interpretation and presentation of that financial data, including aspects such as tax returns, auditing and analyzing performance.

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