How to Make Accounting Boost Your Small Business

A freshman in the small business field might think at first that keeping finances in order is something they can cope with on their own.

However, the joy of running your own business is usually soon overshadowed by the hassle of dealing with a large number of accounting features.

Also, when you are inexperienced and you have to master the tricks of trade and take care of your books simultaneously, it’s highly likely that something will slip under your radar.

In order to help you deal with your accounting obligations in the most efficient way, we’ve prepared a set of crucial accounting hacks you can apply to your business.

Make business payments online or with credit cards

The last thing an aspiring rookie entrepreneur wants to do is lose track of their business payments.

However, if you make these payments in cash, you simply increase the chances of getting lost in receipts, slips, and calculations.

As a result, you could overlook some of these payments when the time comes to file a tax return or ask for a tax refund. In return, such a careless approach to this subject can disqualify you from getting this refund.

What you can do to avoid such an outcome is to make all your business payments via your electronic business account or through your credit cards.

On the one hand, every transaction you make this way will leave a trace, helping you to grasp all your expenses and keep them in one place. On the other, you’ll ensure better cash control.

Nevertheless, there’s a solution if you don’t want each of your payments to go through your accounts for any reason whatsoever.

Namely, you can use your smartphone and take photos of the receipts and checks or scan them, so as to prove your cash payments.

These seven apps can help you manage them and keep them in order.

Keep private and professional assets apart

Keeping your private and business assets separate is one of the key prerequisites for successful business management.  It’s not only the matter of accounting, but also a sign of strong self-discipline.

To be more precise, none of the money you have on your accounts is yours until you’ve covered all the expenses.

This is extremely important to understand.

Otherwise, you’ll get tangled up in a financial downward spiral and won’t be able to make the ends meet.

A great way to hedge yourself from your business and keep the private and personal assets on a safe distance from each other is to register your business as a limited liability company, i.e. LLC.

In this case, you’re protected from personal liability for business decisions, unlike the sole proprietorship, where the owner is automatically held personally liable for the business assets, as well.

You can find out more about different business structures and the way they deal with personal and business assets on the SBA website.

Divide your expenses into categories

When you let your financial documents pile up as time goes by, you’ll be under a lot of pressure in the taxation season.

Consequently, your everyday business tasks won’t be performed in a satisfying way if you have the accounting sword of Damocles hanging over your head.

However, you can prevent this by categorizing your business expenses.

The types of categories and their total number will depend both on your niche and on your individual preferences.

Here are the essential categories that need to be included in every list of business expenses:

  • Office expenses – the rent, the heating, the electricity, the equipment.
  • Direct work expenses – Software licenses, conferences, business events.
  • Employees’ payments
  • Communication expenses – Internet and telephone services.
  • Marketing and advertising.

This categorization of expenses will be of greatest importance for your tax return.

Moreover, since tax refunds come with different rates for different types of expenses, having these categories will help you gather the information you need for those refunds.

You can learn more about tax-deductible business expenses on the IRS website. If you’re not from the USA, check these terms and conditions for your own country in your local tax office.

Last, but not the least for this section, you should know that all these actions can be swiftly done in one of the numerous accounting software tools.

You can use it to set the number of categories and name them in accordance with your business agenda.

Take great care of the payroll

The moment your small business stops being a business entity with only one founder-employee, you’ll see that a large chunk of your income will be used to pay your other employees.

This is another reason to remain highly self-disciplined regarding your business assets and not to mix your gross revenues with your net income.

In line with all this, it’s vital to bring a strict set of rules when it comes to your workers.

Although some of them will appreciate being paid in cash, this is generally a bad idea.

As explained in an article on the Balance website, you might experience serious problems with the tax authorities if you pay you workers in cash. Apart from that, you’ll disperse your accounting data, which will require some additional paperwork with your books.

It’s a real nuisance that you’d better avoid.

Moreover, make a record about every single person that starts working for you in your financial documents, from part-time employees to long-term workers. By doing so, you’ll reduce the risk of forgetting to include an employee and their payment in your accounting documents.

Revise your books

Using a software solution for DIY-accounting will be even more efficient and time-saving if you give it a human touch and take a look at your books from time to time.

Now here we get to a tricky part.

If you’re a business newbie, how will you know if there are any discrepancies in your accounting books?

Because of that, it would be clever to call in a professional accountant to smooth out the rough accounting edges you cannot comprehend.

For instance, you can go through your books once a month with this professional for the first few months.

As your knowledge of this matter extends, you’ll be able to perform these analyses on your own.

Once you’ve taken the route of accounting independence, you can check your transactions on a weekly basis.

Apart from inspecting the accuracy of the data in your books, this process is important if you want to get informed on your accounts payable and receivable, as well.

That way, you’ll know when to send invoice reminders to late payers, as well as when to do your share of work and pay what you owe to people.

Integrate your payment options

Since modern accounting solutions can perform a large number of bookkeeping services, you may consider going an extra mile and try to connect as many financial features as possible via these options.

For example, you should try connecting your accounting tool with your business bank account, as well as with your credit cards (if your bank supports such integration).

When these essential accounting features are integrated, you can make your transactions with ease, knowing that your software will automatically track each and every payment you make and receive.

Along with that, it’s recommended to use the opportunity that you live in the digital age and connect your accounting software with one or several online payment gateways.

Keep your debtors under control

You can’t have keep your books in order if you constantly need to cope with late payers and debtors.

This is why you should treat your accounting software as your ally in the fight against such business collaborators.

What you need to do is create an invoice for every project you land and set some automatic features in your software, so that the invoice is sent on a particular date. Invoicebus is a solution that can help you do that very easy.

You can also choose the option to send a reminder a few days before the due date.

This maneuver will ensure that the business in question is reminded on time about their due payment.

That way, when the invoice date comes, the other party should be ready to make the payment.

However, if your gradual efforts don’t give the desired result, use your accounting tool to send a more assertive reminder that will contain all the previous reminders and invoices.

Applying these strategies in your accounting agenda will prevent your business from getting into serious debt and keep your cash flow in a high level.

Conclusion

Keeping expenses under control and covering your business costs is the rule of thumb when it comes to small-business accounting.

Moreover, by creating different groups of expenses, you can easily get an insight into your previous expenditure, current financial affairs and future obligations.

When joined by various payment solutions integrated with your accounting tool, you get a powerful bookkeeping crew that will ensure meticulous financial records.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
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