Bookkeeping – A Financial Guide for Survival
Ask any small business owner who runs around like accountants do with painstaking admin and financial work, from managing payrolls to monitoring down receivables and calculating the value of stocks, and he’ll express a ton of grief. However, understanding your basics in accounting and its practices will help keep your books ready for potential investors and (more importantly), your friends at the Inland Revenue Department (I.R.D.), if they ever decide to come calling in.
When you have an effective bookkeeping system in place you will have an improved grasp on your company’s financial situation, and therefore encounter much fewer surprises as a result. Without a structured bookkeeping system, expenses can be hard to track. This can make it easy for business owners and budding entrepreneurs to miss out on the tax benefits they are entitled to, and even more easier to expose themselves to audit risks.
Small business owners tend to get comfortable using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets for their bookkeeping; this is fine for a brief run. The problem actually arises when they bring an investor or a bank into their business and show them an Excel-based system that records accounts, and fail to gain their trust just because it doesn’t seem legitimate. This gets much worse for business owners who have no recording systems in place. In our experience, we’ve only seen people realising these issues after they’ve faced the worst of them. We’re writing this blog post to help change that right now!
Why is Recording Financials Important?
We agree that maintaining a business’s books seems like a herculean task, but it is critical in ensuring the sustainability of any organization. Once a company starts maintaining its books on a regular basis, the people running it will be able to make more sound decisions and take calculated risks that aren’t necessarily shots in the dark.
One of the things that daily, or even weekly bookkeeping is good at is catching transaction errors. It could be a double payment to a vendor, a short deposit from your credit card processor, or a payment that has not been brought to the bank.
If you are like most people, when looking at a transaction that happened more than 30 days ago, you’ll have a hard time remembering what you paid or got paid for. But, if you are looking at a transaction that happened within the last week, you most likely will remember what it was for, thereby increasing your chances of spotting a transaction that doesn’t look right.
A huge benefit of daily bookkeeping is that it gives you ultimate control and a bird’s eye view over your cash flow. This is why we love QuickBooks, one of the best accounting software out there! By reconciling QuickBooks with your bank account and posting transactions as they happen, you get a detailed look at your actual cash balance.
The majority of business owners put too much trust in their online bank balance. Your online bank balance is useless, as it doesn’t take into consideration all the un-cashed cheques you’ve written and deposits that haven’t cleared your bank yet. By reconciling your QuickBooks against the closing balance on your online banking system on a daily basis, you get complete control and understanding of your cash flow.
The most popular question people ask is, “so what if you know exactly where you are at from a cash flow standpoint, how can that help?” If you don’t know the answer to this, you’re potentially sending your brainchild down a steep path towards bankruptcy.
Business owners should train themselves in using that information to get a detailed view into the future of their financials by building a financial forecast. Most small business owners use their bookkeeping system to look backward at past performance. It is often too late to do anything when they do get accurate financial reports. What most small business owners fail to do is learn from the history of those books. If you are looking at actual financial reports on time it doesn’t matter whether you like them or not because it has already happened. You should take that information to look forward into the future of your business.
You had a great month? Awesome! How can we help capitalize on that to make the future even brighter?
You had a rough month? That’s ok, let’s regroup and see how you can get back on track, FAST!
Don’t get caught in the trap of looking at your past financial performance; your financial forecasts for the future are way more important to ensure the sustainability of your business.
Don’t Get Taxed on Money That Wasn’t Even Income!
Do you keep a record of your business deposits? Or do you assume your bank statement is all you need? Whether you work in Excel, outsource your bookkeeping, or swear by your trusty pen and notebook, it’s important to track the details of exactly what’s going into your business account every time a deposit is made.
If you don’t double check the bank deposits that are documented, your business could be on the hook for taxes on money that wasn’t even income.
Time is Money
Whether it’s sending out a second invoice, making a phone call, adding a fee, or hiring a collection agency, you should have a plan for dealing with accounts that are 30, 60, and 90 days past their due date. How do you keep track of money you haven’t collected from your customers? If they pay you a year later, based on inflation, you could get the same amount at a reduced value!
Maintaining payment records helps determine which credit sales need to be cashed on time, and which late payers need to be charged interest on their late payments. This helps ensure you’re not being ripped off for your products or services.