Bookkeeping and accounting are essential tasks for any business, but they can also be time-consuming and stressful. If you want to improve your bookkeeping and accounting skills, or outsource them to a professional, here are 15 ways to do it.
1. Use accounting software. Accounting software can help you automate and streamline your bookkeeping and accounting processes, such as invoicing, expense tracking, tax preparation, and reporting. You can choose from various options, depending on your budget and needs, such as QuickBooks or Sage.
2. Separate your personal and business finances. Mixing your personal and business finances can cause confusion and errors in your bookkeeping and accounting records. It can also make it harder to file your taxes and comply with legal requirements. To avoid this, you should open a separate bank account and credit card for your business, and use them exclusively for business transactions.
3. Track your income and expenses. Keeping track of your income and expenses is crucial for managing your cash flow and profitability. You should record every transaction that affects your business finances, such as sales, purchases, fees, taxes, and interest. You should also categorize your income and expenses according to the type of activity or product/service they relate to.
4. Reconcile your bank statements. Reconciling your bank statements means comparing them with your bookkeeping and accounting records to ensure they match. This can help you identify and correct any discrepancies or errors, such as missing transactions, duplicate entries, or incorrect amounts. You should reconcile your bank statements at least once a month.
5. Review your financial reports. Financial reports are summaries of your business's financial performance and position, such as income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, and statement of changes in equity. They can help you monitor your business's health and make informed decisions. You should review your financial reports regularly, such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually.
6. Set up a budget. A budget is a plan that outlines how much money you expect to earn and spend in a given period of time, such as a month, quarter, or year. It can help you control your costs, allocate your resources, and achieve your goals. You should set up a realistic budget based on your past performance and future projections, and update it as needed.
7. Manage your accounts receivable. Accounts receivable are the amounts of money that your customers owe you for the goods or services you have provided them on credit. Managing your accounts receivable means ensuring that you collect them on time and in full. You can do this by issuing invoices promptly, setting clear payment terms and policies, sending reminders and follow-ups, offering discounts or incentives for early payments, and taking action against late or non-paying customers.
8. Manage your accounts payable. Accounts payable are the amounts of money that you owe to your suppliers or vendors for the goods or services they have provided you on credit. Managing your accounts payable means ensuring that you pay them on time and in full. You can do this by verifying the accuracy of the invoices you receive, scheduling your payments according to the due dates and cash flow availability, negotiating favorable terms and discounts with your suppliers or vendors, and avoiding late fees or penalties.
9. Track your inventory. Inventory is the stock of goods or materials that you have on hand for sale or use in your business. Tracking your inventory means keeping track of how much inventory you have, where it is located, how much it costs, and how fast it moves. You can do this by using an inventory management system or software that can help you monitor the quantity, quality, value, and turnover of your inventory.
10. Calculate your breakeven point. Your breakeven point is the level of sales or revenue that covers all of your fixed and variable costs, meaning that you neither make a profit nor a loss. Calculating your breakeven point can help you determine how much you need to sell to start making a profit, how much profit you can make at different levels of sales or revenue, and how changes in costs or prices affect your profitability.
11. Monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are measurable values that indicate how well you are achieving your business objectives or targets. They can help you evaluate your progress and performance in various aspects of your business, such as sales growth, customer satisfaction, market share, or profitability. You should identify the most relevant KPIs for your business, set realistic and specific goals for them, and track them regularly using dashboards or reports.
12. Hire a bookkeeper or accountant. If you find bookkeeping and accounting too complex, time-consuming, or stressful, you may want to hire a professional bookkeeper or accountant to handle them for you. A bookkeeper or accountant can help you set up and maintain your bookkeeping and accounting system, prepare and file your taxes, generate and analyze your financial reports, and provide you with advice and guidance on your business finances. You can hire a bookkeeper or accountant on a full-time, part-time, or freelance basis, depending on your budget and needs.
13. Train yourself or your staff. If you want to improve your bookkeeping and accounting skills, or train your staff to do so, you can take advantage of various resources and opportunities available online or offline. You can enroll in courses, workshops, webinars, or podcasts that cover various topics related to bookkeeping and accounting, such as accounting principles, software, tax laws, or best practices. You can also read books, blogs, articles, or newsletters that provide useful tips and insights on bookkeeping and accounting.
14. Join a network or community. Joining a network or community of other business owners, entrepreneurs, or professionals who are interested in or experienced in bookkeeping and accounting can help you learn from their knowledge and experience, share your challenges and solutions, get feedback and support, and discover new opportunities and resources. You can join a network or community online or offline, such as forums, groups, clubs, associations, or events.
15. Review and improve your bookkeeping and accounting processes. Bookkeeping and accounting are not static or one-time tasks, but dynamic and ongoing processes that require constant review and improvement. You should regularly evaluate your bookkeeping and accounting processes to identify any issues or gaps, such as errors, inefficiencies, or risks, and implement changes or solutions to address them, such as updating your software, streamlining your workflows, or enhancing your security.