May 9, 2016, 8:12 am

7 Accounting Tips for Small Business Owners

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business
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You probably didn’t start a small business because you were excited about keeping the books. But even if accounting is your least favourite task, you must stay on top of your business’s finances. Once you lose track, it’s easy for it to slide into a huge mess that you need a professional to fix. Use these tips to get an early handle on the accounting for your business.

Keep Track of Business Expenses

You should separate your business and personal expenses and keep detailed records of your business expenses. An easy way to do this is to set up a business bank account or credit card; then you won’t have to save a million receipts, as the bank or credit card records will be your digital copy of your business expenses. Refer to these records often so you can see how you’re spending your money. You’ll also need them to keep track of tax write-offs for business expenses.

Monitor Your Labour Costs

Labour costs are probably your biggest business expenditure. Do you pay overtime? Offer benefits? How much do you pay yourself? Make sure you’re not over- or under-paying your employees (and yourself!) by taking into account the perks your business offers. If you have money left over in your labour budget, you can offer your employees incentives. If you’re over budget, it may be time to cut the overtime or find a new benefits provider.

Use Online Accounting Software

Unless you have an accounting degree, you’re probably not going to get very far figuring out your business’s budget in an Excel spreadsheet. Online accounting keeps your records organized, offers business insights, and helps you with invoicing, too. The software makes a lot of those complex accounting concerns easy for small business owners to handle, and having all your accounting needs in one place makes your life as a business owner so much easier.

Set Aside Weekly Accounting Time

To keep your business finances in order, you have to sit down with them, uninterrupted, at least once a week. As long as you’ve got a good accounting system in place, going over your finances shouldn’t take more than a few minutes each week. Taking a regular look at your finances helps you see where your business is doing best and where you may need to make some changes. Plus, it makes doing your taxes much easier when the time comes.

Know Your Overhead

You probably know what your rent and utilities cost each month, but are you prepared for legal fees? What about interest or repairs? Every cost of running your business that isn’t direct labour, materials, and expenses counts as overhead. Basically, anywhere you put money that doesn’t directly create a profit is your overhead. Do you know what yours is? Estimating won’t cut it; overhead can cost you more than you intended if you aren’t paying attention.

Keep Detailed Inventory Records

You need to know every detail about your inventory, including when items come in late or when you don’t receive them at all, and whether there was any damage. Similarly, you have to keep track of when products go out to customers. Try out cloud-based inventory software, which helps you manage your inventory and assists you with business-to-business transactions, operations, and sales. The closer you can get your inventory records to real time, the easier your business life will be.

Follow Up on Invoices

Image via Flickr by GotCredit

Invoices, above all else, should be in pristine order at all times. You need to know when they’re due, who has been paid, and who owes you money. If you don’t get paid for services or products rendered, your business’s source of money will dry up quickly. Plus, the longer you let an invoice go without payment, the harder it’s going to be to get money from that client. Invoices are also the best way to figure out which customers you may not want to work with again.

Accounting might not be the most exciting aspect of owning a small business, but it does offer you considerable insight into how your business is running. Keep track of your finances to keep your business healthy!

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