The Beginner’s Guide To Bookkeeping For Small Business
Bookkeeping for small business is a topic that many owners run away from. It’s a topic that seems extremely complex, but avoiding it just leads to more trouble.
For that reason, in this article, we are going to be covering the basics of bookkeeping for small businesses while keeping things simple and easy to understand.
What Is Bookkeeping?
In simple terms, bookkeeping is just keeping track of your business’s financial transactions.
It’s a part of accounting but also varies a little. Bookkeeping is the first step of accounting as it focuses on recording and organizing the financial data. An accountant’s job is to interpret and present that data.
However, today, we are going to be focusing on the bookkeeping side of things to keep things simple.
Why Bookkeeping Is Important?
Bookkeeping is essential for several reasons.
In fact, there are countless, but if I had to describe why bookkeeping is important using one word, I would use the word: “Overview”.
Bookkeeping simply allows you to keep an overview of where your money is coming from and where it’s going to.
Businesses have a larger volume of transactions, and if you’re not keeping your books properly, you can quickly lose an overview.
Three ways you can use bookkeeping are:
- Catch Tax Deductions
- Income Statements For Loans
- Catch Financial Mistakes
Let’s talk about these in a little more detail.
1. Catch Tax Deductions
Tax deductions are something that you often forget, even if you don’t notice.
As a result, you could be paying thousands in additional tax per year which you otherwise could have deducted.
By making sure you have an overview of what’s eligible for tax deductions, you can make sure that you definitely won’t miss any in the future.
Bookkeeping makes that a lot easier.
2. Income Statements For Loans
In most cases, when you apply for a small business loan, you’re going to need more than bank statements.
The lenders will want to have a clear overview of the numbers inside of your business.
Lenders want to take calculated risks too, so it’s important that you can show them a crystal-clear overview of how your business is doing.
Otherwise, you are unlikely to get any type of business loan. Again, bookkeeping makes this a lot easier.
3. Catch Financial Mistakes
This is a big reason why bookkeeping for small businesses is essential.
When you have transactions flowing every single day, it’s going to be extremely hard to keep an overview, let alone catch financial mistakes.
And, yes, financial mistakes do happen. Sometimes, invoices get paid twice, old subscriptions don’t get cancelled or you may have forgotten to charge a client.
If you’re bookkeeping, mistakes can still happen, but the difference is that you notice.
Getting Started With Bookkeeping For Small Businesses
Now that we have covered why bookkeeping is important, let’s take a look at how you can get started with bookkeeping.
Bookkeeping for small businesses is a little simpler than bookkeeping for enterprise businesses. Why?
Because there are fewer transactions.
The fewer transactions, employees, assets, etc. in your business, the simpler keeping your financial records will be.
Let’s take a look at the four steps you can take to start bookkeeping for your small business.
1. Separate Your Businesses & Personal Transactions
The first step you need to take is to separate your business & personal transactions.
This is a mistake some small businesses make, as they don’t separate their business bank account from their personal account.
Remember, bookkeeping is all about keeping an overview of where your money is going and coming from.
If you have hundreds of business transactions mixed with hundreds of your personal transactions, it’s going to be hard to keep an overview and identify which transactions belong to your business.
So, before you move on to do any bookkeeping, separate your business account from your personal account.
2. Prepare Financial Reports
The next step you need to take to start bookkeeping is preparing your financial reports.
Take a look and find any documents or bank statements that have any type of transaction related to your business.
- Bank statements
- PayPal Statements
- Other payment processor statements
- Marketplace statements
- Tax Reports
I think you get the drill, anything with a transaction related to your business. Prepare these documents, as you are going to use them when keeping your business’s books.
The easiest way to complete the bookkeeping for small business is to use accounting software or Excel templates. The best bookkeeping software is XERO or if you are looking for a free version try Pandle.
3. Use Our Free Templates
Once you have got all your statements and documents ready, it’s time to start finding the right templates that suit your business’s bookkeeping needs.
Don’t worry; you can get access to our free library of Excel bookkeeping templates.
Each spreadsheet comes with simple, yet detailed instructions to help you keep your books properly.
The templates range from cashflow forecasts to expense calculations, so you will be sure to find the right templates for your business.
4. Stick To Your Schedule
Finally, once you are using our free bookkeeping templates for small businesses, you need to make sure to stick to your schedule.
How often should you update your books?
The more frequently, the better. You should aim to keep some sort of schedule, as this will make it easier for you to keep your books updated regularly.
If you have more daily transactions, you probably want to be a little more frequent with how often you update your books, as the more transactions there are, the harder it will be to keep an overview.
You could always play it safe and start by updating them every day, but if you notice it’s not needed, you can only update them once every two or three days.
FAQ About Bookkeeping For Small Businesses
Lastly, I also wanted to cover some frequently asked questions about bookkeeping for small businesses.
Do You Need To Hire a Professional?
It depends on the size of your business and how much time you are willing to invest in bookkeeping.
If you are a sole trader and don’t have a large volume of transactions, there may be no need to hire a professional. On the flip side, if your business is a little more complex and has a larger volume of transactions, you may want to consider working with a professional.
What Are Some Common Bookkeeping Templates To Use In Excel?
Here are 6 Common Bookkeeping templates:
You can find more templates in our library.
Where Can I Learn Bookkeeping?
There are many free resources on the internet, including this website.
You can also check out our list of free bookkeeping courses.
As you have seen throughout this article, bookkeeping for small business doesn’t have to be as complex, as some people make it sound.
However, it is something that you shouldn’t be avoided, as you may regret it in the future when you don’t have an overview of your business’s financial statements.
Take your time, use our free templates, and don’t overcomplicate it.
For furthe reading about bookkeeping for small business read our bookkeeping basics section.