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Essential accounting tips for small business owners

Aug 22, 2014

When starting up a new business, it's easy to get caught up in the marketing and sales aspects of the operation. Yet it's important to implement an organized accounting system right from the start, both to keep finances in line and to minimize confusion when tax deadlines roll around.

1. Keep business expenses separate

A common mistake that small businesses make at the beginning is failing to keep business and personal finances in separate accounts. Although you can take drawings from your business if you are self-employed, it's still essential to keep business and personal finances in separate bank accounts. This is even more important if you run a limited company or through any sort of trust or partnership. If you draw money from the company in addition to your wages, this may be considered a loan and will need to be repaid in a timely manner before interest is owed. When spending money on expenses related to business, use the business account and keep your receipts.

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

2. Forecast future expenses

It's important to always keep an eye towards the future when running a small business, so review your cash flow regularly to ensure that future bills can be paid off. Cash flow forecasting is a way of analysing your monthly profits and losses from the past year in order to predict what your future profits and losses are likely to be. This can help you make decisions and meet all financial commitments.

3. Update accounting systems regularly

Are you using accounting software? Regularly install system updates and be sure that you are using the latest version. You'll also want to regularly update your computer's security system to be sure that you're protected from viruses. Take a look at your accounting files from time to time, to see if there could be a better way to organize them.

4. Hire a professional

Finances can make or break a small business, so if you are finding it difficult to stay organized or don't understand your tax situation it's well worth hiring a professional accountant. Good accountants can save you money and ensure that you're up to date with all paperwork. This article from NowLearning also suggests that cost accountants are useful for helping your business maximize its efficiency, optimizing the use of finances.

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

5. Keep detailed records

Finally, you'll need to keep detailed financial records whether or not you use a professional accountant. This includes a cash book detailing all payments in and out of your bank account, as well as files for sales invoices and purchase invoices. Update these records regularly, and be sure to keep invoices or receipts for all business expenses. Although it's unlikely that you'll be subject to a tax investigation during your first few years of operation, it's best to be prepared.

With a bit of due diligence and the use of professional accountants or accounting software, you can make short work of bookkeeping and keep your business's finances in line.

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