A beginners guide to small business bookkeeping

Reconciling your cash makes it easier to discover and correct any errors or omissions—either by you or by the bank—in time to correct them. In all cases, your business needs to exceed the threshold for taxes for two consecutive years. For example, imagine you run a business in Ontario, and last year you owed $3,500 in taxes after filing. You check your financial records and find that business has been slower this year, and your estimated net taxes owed will only be $2,900 this year. In this case, you can still pay your taxes as a lump sum at the end of the year. However, if your business was steady this year and you once again owe over $3,000, you’ll need to start paying by quarterly instalments.

  • Regardless, work with your bookkeeper and accountant to ensure the amount of cash left in the bank is sufficient for unexpected costs.
  • Keep your skills up to date, evolve the depth in which you know your preferred platforms and stay apprised as their features change, as well.
  • Many clients will look for your website to find out about you and your experience.
  • Continue reading to discover why small business accounting is important, as well as how to streamline your business’s finances.
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But it doesn’t just save them hassles—it also makes your life easier by automatically tracking overtime, PTO, etc. You can find time tracking software designed for just about any industry. Choose one that works with your bookkeeping software, and payroll will be a snap, too. Are you one of those small business owners who just love poring over spreadsheets? Yes, your business’s books are a scorecard of how well you’re doing—but if you’re not a “numbers person,” doing your bookkeeping may sound as appealing as a root canal. Still, other business owners mean to go over their business finances but get caught up in the day-to-day and never get around to it.

Once you have your finalists, run the names through your secretary of state’s business name database to make sure it’s available. You can also hire Wave’s in-house bookkeeping experts to help you out with categorization, reconciliation, and bookkeeping in general—or have them do it for you in your Wave account. The equity section gives you the net worth of your business, which is the value of all your physical and non-physical assets. Moving money from one account to another is like moving a five dollar bill from one pocket to another. You’re not actually making or losing any money—it’s just in a new place.

Open a separate business bank account

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 process of tracking income and expenses in your business. It lets you know how you’re doing with cash flow and how your business is doing overall. Staying on top of your bookkeeping is important so that you don’t have unexpected realizations about account balances and expenses. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand the basics of small business bookkeeping. When you’ve answered these questions, talk with your commercial banker to learn about the merchant account products they offer.

  • Some small business owners handle bookkeeping themselves, while others hire professional bookkeepers to do the job.
  • If the IRS audits your company and finds any underpayment of taxes, it will come to you, not your accountant, for any additional taxes, penalty, and interest.
  • Start by implementing these 13 bookkeeping and accounting fundamentals.
  • There are daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual accounting tasks you need to complete to ensure your business’s success.
  • As you balance Accounts Receivable against Accounts Payable, the result is your net income.

As a business owner, you’re responsible for recording every expense paid from your business account. No matter the payment method used, each transaction must be recorded with the date, amount, and purpose. The accrual-based accounting method records income when it’s billed, not when it’s received. Reconciling the books is another challenge for small business owners. Miscalculations can result in large penalties if miscalculations are sent to the IRS or state tax department. If your business requires the collection of sales tax, you may be required to submit accurate quarterly payments, depending on your state’s requirements.

Bookkeeping is essential for small businesses to properly budget, pay taxes, and plan for growth. The bookkeeper tracks these figures and may also be in charge of preparing a business’s cash flow statement. Good bookkeepers do more than just keep records; they help spot ways to make a business more efficient. For example, they might identify unnecessary business purchases or late-paying customers who hurt profitability. Monitor and track your business’s cash flow, or the money that goes in and out of a business. Business expenses, loan repayments, and dividends paid to shareholders are examples of cash flowing out of a business, while sales, investments, and borrowing represent cash inflows.

Accounting is the interpretation and presentation of that financial data, including aspects such as tax returns, auditing and analyzing performance. When doing the bookkeeping, you’ll generally follow the following four steps to make sure that the books are up to date and accurate. Remember that each transaction is assigned to a specific account that is later posted to the general ledger. Posting debits and credits to the correct accounts makes reporting more accurate.

Keep Your Receipts

A major part of registering your business and opening up shop is choosing a business entity. This will govern how you pay taxes as a small-business owner, but also what kind of liability protection you have in case something goes wrong and how you’ll structure your business. As we mentioned above, you don’t technically need to be certified to run a bookkeeping business.

To set up a budget, you’ll need to gather your financial data, such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. This will give you a clear picture of your business’s past financial performance and help you make realistic projections for the future. Double-entry bookkeeping is a system where each transaction is recorded in two accounts—a debit account and a credit account. This system provides a more accurate picture of a business’s financial health and helps identify errors in recordkeeping. Accrual accounting provides a more accurate picture of a business’s financial health, as it considers all of the financial transactions for a given period. This accounting method is useful for businesses with inventory or accounts payable and receivable.

Keep up-to-date records

It’s not compulsory, but you might want to look into insurance for your bookkeeping business. Common business insurance policies for bookkeepers include things such as professional liability and general liability. Recording can be pretty time-consuming (especially if you’ve been putting it off), which is where accounting software like Wave’s can help. You can connect our accounting software to your business bank account and import your transactions, reducing the amount of manual work you have to do and lowering the risk of making human mistakes.

Tips for Small Business Bookkeeping

Your business requires your full attention, and sometimes your best choice is the easiest one—outsource the tasks you don’t have time for so you can focus on the work that really matters to you. A professional bookkeeper won’t be overwhelmed by the nuts and bolts of DIY bookkeeping, and their help allows you to focus on making money, not documenting it. To ensure that peaceful slumber, form a habit of documenting everything. Jot down notes about purchases and expenses and throw them in the file.

Organize Your Business Documentation

Should the need arise when you must pay a business expense with your personal funds, be sure to reimburse yourself by check. This is generated by looking at your assets and what you own versus your liabilities and outstanding debts. It can help determine if your business is taking on too much debt to support its revenue. If you opt to not link your software with your bank, you will need to reconcile you accounts manually. Whichever way you do it, it’s important to complete the process on a regular basis.

Compute estimated income tax and make payments

Plus, you can ensure your payroll account has enough money even if the primary account suffers. Many business owners aren’t aware of how much it costs to operate their business. It’s important to know how much every individual part requires to function properly.

Managing transactions is a big part of any daily bookkeeping routine. It includes importing and categorizing transactions properly, reconciling these transactions and making sure they’re recorded according to your entry system and accounting method. Accrual basis accounting records those invoices and bills even if the funds haven’t been exchanged. Generally, accrual basis is the recommended accounting method and more aligned with generally accepted accounting principles.

When you make a cash payment, ask for a receipt to support your recordkeeping when you update the transactions later. Cash may be king, but it needs a bit of extra attention when it comes to DIY bookkeeping. You don’t professional nonprofit letterhead ever want to lose track of your cash, and unlike checks or online payments, cash doesn’t come with handy documentation. Thankfully, once you have a simple system in place, documenting your cash flow is easy.

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