Bookkeeping Basics: A How-To Guide for Small Business Owners Bench Accounting

time and money

Understand what makes up a balance sheet, the difference between revenues and expenses, assets and liabilities. Know how to keep track of your inventory, and learn how to manage it so you don’t over invest. Your business is rewarding and your customers are happy, but true success in business generally means you’re making money. The only way to be sure you’re profitable is by having a solid understanding of your finances.

Do small businesses need bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is an essential part of running a small business. Even if you aren’t planning on growing any time soon, you need to have a sense of how much money is coming in versus what is going out. On top of that, you need the data used in bookkeeping to file your taxes accurately.

Start by implementing these 13 bookkeeping and accounting fundamentals. There are also different types of accountants out there, from Certified Public Accountants to Certified Management Accountants . You can use online accounting services, though they’re a bit more hands on than hiring a small business accounting service. Evaluating and providing suggestions for the financial health of a small business.

Tips for Small Business Bookkeeping

With the right tools, however, poor bookkeeping doesn’t have to keep your company from achieving its potential. In fact, it can drive more business, keep your records in accordance with the law, and make filing your annual taxes easy. Wave is an ideal accounting software platform for a service-based small business that sends simple invoices and doesn’t need to run payroll. At year-end, accountants can pull the necessary reports from Wave to prepare a business’s tax return. The Select plan also does not have a limitation on the number of clients that can be billed per month, but adds unique features.


Once upon a time, bookkeeping was a pretty daunting task, even for small businesses. You had to set up ledger sheets, decide what kind of entry system you were going to use, and do all your calculations on an adding machine. It’s essential to keep your personal accounts separate from your business account, even early on.

Stay on Top of Your Accounts Receivable

So set aside a time at the end of each week to review your app’s work and look over your financial reports. As payments start coming in and expenditures begin adding up, you’ll see you need to do more than just record them—you’ll have to sort them into their own categories. If you categorize your transactions, then at the end of a month or year, you’ll be able to see how much money each category added to your income or costs. Now that we’ve uncovered what is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting, let’s explore each concept further from the lens of small business owners. It’s essential to have the right tools to keep your business on track and to remain compliant with GAAP. You deserve an accurate and trustworthy accounting system that saves you time and money as a small business owner.

  • Pay particular attention to your petty cash and remember to reconcile your accounts at least once a month.
  • Performance information may have changed since the time of publication.
  • You won’t have to wait for the monthly bank statement to see if your business is insolvent or thriving.

You may need to meet with the accounting and bookkeeping for small business’s accountant once a month to go over the books. The accountant can identify any recordings that are unclear or inaccurate, and you can talk about them. Information provided on Forbes Advisor is for educational purposes only. Your financial situation is unique and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances.

Open a Business Bank Account

The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved, or otherwise endorsed by our partners. You can go with the baseline plan, the Simple Start plan, for $30 per month. If you need more users, you need to move up to The Essentials plan for $55 per month. Get the complete breakdown on QuickBooks Online pricing and plans. The government has launched a new scheme – Making Tax Digital – which does exactly what it says on the tin. Tax is going to become digital and that’s a good thing, as you won’t have to store stacks of papers and receipts as year-long books can be done within minutes.

What does a bookkeeper do for a small business?

Bookkeepers handle ongoing, administrative duties for small business accounting, including:

Reconcile accountsRecord transactionsManage accounts receivable and accounts payableAdjust entriesPrepare financial statementsSend invoicesSet up and manage technology and toolsStay up to date on laws and regulationsBasic payrollWork with your accountant, tax preparer, and tax planner

Fortunately, small business owners don’t need to be experts in mathematics to find success when doing their own bookkeeping. There are many ways to divide bookkeeping responsibilities and leverage powerful technology and small business accounting software for more accurate expense tracking. With an accounting system, you need to decide when to record transactions. With a cash account system, you’ll record transactions anytime cash changes hands. An accrual accounting system records transactions, like sales, immediately, even if money isn’t exchanged until later. As your company grows, you’ll probably want to move towards accrual accounting, but it’s not a necessity when starting a business.

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