small business counting money
22-Aug-2020 By - Anna Eydlish

How do you account for a small business?

The processes of tracking, recording, and analysing your company's financial transactions are all part of the accounting for small businesses. It takes the raw data that you provide and turns it into an understandable statement about the profitability of your company.

Accounting may be one of the more laborious aspects of running a business, but it is essential to do so in order to avoid problems with cash flow and mountains of paperwork.

Accounting for small businesses entails maintaining detailed records of all of the company's income and spending and precisely extracting monetary data from the various transactions that take place within the company.

Especially in the beginning phases, this is a crucial duty that helps owners of small businesses keep better track of their finances and manage their money more effectively.

  1. They regularly communicate with you and return your calls quickly. ...
  2. They strategically plan throughout the year, not just for big deadlines. ...
  3. They show you how to budget. ...
  4. They are constantly learning. ...
  5. They are happy to explain things to you.

Introverted sensors, ISTJs are known as the best personality type for accounting jobs, CFO positions, or careers as auditors. This type is loyal, hardworking, and understands the importance of their roles; but the real predictor of success here is their analytical nature that enables them to work quickly and precisely.

Here are some tips on what accountants can do to ensure they enjoy a long and rising career in accounting.
  1. Don't fear technology. There is no escaping the fact that software skills are vital, says Jotkowitz. ...
  2. Learn to analyse data. ...
  3. Hone your communication skills. ...
  4. Learn how to lead. ...
  5. Seek sector-specific experience.
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Besides keeping you aware of your business’ past and present performance, small business accountants also helps in generating invoices and completing payroll.

When you opened the doors of your small business, you were probably excited to meet your first customers and start turning a profit. In contrast, you might have felt less enthusiastic about learning to bookkeep, especially if you’ve never thought of yourself as a “math person.”

However, in order to run a small business successfully, you need to have some level of expertise in the art of bookkeeping. If you are more passionate about, say, selling old books or delivering exceptional life-coaching advice than you are about numbers, the concept could be overwhelming; but, a simple understanding of bookkeeping can improve your business. Recording and managing a company’s financial transactions is what’s known as “bookkeeping,” and it’s an essential part of running any kind of company.

When you have access to the appropriate bookkeeping tools, you will have a greater sense of assurance in the future of your company and will be better able to comprehend (as well as plan for) your own profitability. To top it all off, it is not necessary to become an expert in calculus in a single night in order to comprehend bookkeeping. Continue reading instead, because the advice that we provide below can help you acquire a handle on the fundamentals of bookkeeping, which will in turn help your small business prosper.

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What is bookkeeping?

First things first, let’s take a moment to discuss the nature of bookkeeping.

A “bookkeeper” is the name given to the individual in an organisation who is in charge of documenting and organising the company’s financial transactions. Recording and organising a company’s financial transactions is what’s known as “bookkeeping,” and it’s an essential part of running a business. The maintenance of accurate books and records is the most important tool that is available to business owners for determining whether or not their firm is profitable. If you keep an eye on your numbers, you will be able to identify possible financial concerns early on and find answers to those challenges before they become a full-fledged catastrophe. Bookkeeping also assists in locating locations of your business that have room for increased profits, which are areas that you would not have been able to recognise in the absence of transparent financial reports that are simple to understand.

To give an acceptable amount of financial information for the company’s accountant to use in preparing financial statements and taxes, all firms, with the exception of the smallest ones, should create and monitor the nine accounts listed below:

  • Cash. This is the most fundamental concept there is. Because the Cash account is so critical to the operation of your company, your book-keeper will almost certainly use two journals—Cash Receipts and Cash Disbursements—to keep tabs on the business’s day-to-day goings-on in order to properly record and analyse the transactions.
  • Receivables from Customers Your business will have “receivables,” often known as money that is owed from customers, if it provides items or services but does not immediately collect payment from those customers. You need to keep track of Accounts Receivable and ensure that it is up to date in order to send bills or invoices that are timely and accurate.
  • Inventory. Products that haven’t been sold need to be accounted for and monitored very carefully, as if they were cash sitting on a shelf. It is important to conduct physical counts of the inventory you have on hand at regular intervals in order to validate the figures that are recorded in your records.
  • Receivables. Accounts Payable gives you a clear view of everything going on in your company, which makes sending money out of the firm a little less painful for everyone involved. Having concise bookkeeping helps to ensure that payments are made on time and prevents paying the same person again! If your company pays its payments on time, it may be eligible for reductions as well.
  • Loans Payable. This account will keep track of payments and deadlines for any business-related loans you may have taken out to purchase machinery, vehicles, furniture, or other assets for your company.
  • Sales. The Sales account records all of the money that comes in as a result of the items that are sold. It is essential to know the current state of your company in order to keep track of its sales in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Purchases. Any unfinished or finished goods as well as raw materials that you acquire for your company are recorded in the Purchases Account. It is an essential component in the process of determining the “Cost of Goods Sold” (COGS), which is the amount that is subtracted from Sales to determine the gross profit of your firm.
  • Payroll Expenses. Payroll expenses have the potential to be the most expensive aspect of operation for many types of enterprises. For the purposes of complying with tax and other government reporting requirements, maintaining the accuracy and currency of this account is crucial. You are going to get into a lot of trouble if you avoid taking responsibility for those things.
  • Equity held by the owners This story has an interesting cadence to it. It keeps a record of the amount of money that an owner (or owners) invest in the company. The amount of money left over after liabilities have been deducted from assets is referred to as an owner’s equity, however it is also sometimes referred to as nett assets.
  • Earnings That Were Kept On Hand. The Retained Earnings account is used to keep tabs on any earnings made by the company that are put back into the operation of the company rather than being distributed to the owners. Earnings that are kept by a company are added together on a cumulative basis, which means that they are shown as a running total of the money that has been retained by the company since its inception. The management of this account does not require a significant amount of effort, but it is essential for investors and lenders who want to monitor the company’s performance throughout the course of time.

Bookkeeping Methods

Single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping are the two approaches to maintaining financial records. The majority of firms utilise a bookkeeping method known as double-entry, in which each transaction recorded in one account must also be recorded in a second account that is completely separate from the first account.

For example, you would need to make two entries in order to properly record a cash sale of ten dollars: one would be a debit entry of ten dollars to an account titled “Cash,” and the other would be a credit entry of ten dollars to an account titled “Revenue.”

Accuracy and thoroughness in bookkeeping are two of the most important skills for a skilled book-keeper to possess. Because even the most meticulous book-keeper is prone to making errors, a book-keeper will often work under the direction of an accountant unless the company in question is extremely small. A number of research have arrived at the conclusion that an independent accountant could be preferable. 2 When dealing with a very small company, keeping the books may be comparable to managing your own chequebook.


Accounting is frequently referred to as the “language of business.” The process of measuring, processing, and communicating information that pertains to finances is referred to as accounting. Accounting gives the owner of a company information on the resources and finances of the firm, as well as the results that the company obtains as a result of utilising those resources.

Keeping a record of the financial activities of a firm is one of the primary responsibilities of accounting. Accounting involves making judgments about the meaning of the figures that have been compiled by the book-keeper in order to evaluate the company’s current financial position.

In addition to this, it entails the presentation of a company’s financial health, which entails the preparation of financial statements as well as indicators that may be inferred from them. Moreover, it is included in this. In addition, one of the functions of accounting is the compilation of appropriate financial items, including taxes and other financial paperwork.

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Accounting Methods

There are two distinct approaches to accounting that might be used. The first one is determined by the cash you already possess as well as the cash you have been given. The alternative method is known as accounting on an accrual basis. Accrual-based accounting is the only method permitted for use in situations in which there is either an inventory or the potential of an audit.

Accounting that is done on a cash basis is considerably easier to understand than accounting that is done using an accrual basis. When using cash-based accounting, revenue is recorded as soon as it is received, and expenses are recorded as soon as they are paid. This strategy is often reserved for use by smaller enterprises operating in the service sector that do not maintain inventory.

Instead than basing an accounting technique on when revenues are actually received, the accrual basis method looks at when revenues are earned. One way to think about this is as the movement of value from one account to another. When you buy a point of sale terminal, the money comes out of your cash account and goes into the equipment account.

When there is a credit, it is recorded in the cash account, and when there is a debit, it is recorded in the equipment account. You can determine when to credit or debit accounts with the use of a chart of accounts.

In addition, the accounting process might be contracted out to a private organisation. Bookkeeping and accounting are two services that are sometimes outsourced from certain smaller firms. You should still be familiar with bookkeeping and accounting even if you decide to outsource these functions since it will be necessary for you to understand the reports that you will receive.

A bookkeeper’s primary responsibilities include keeping track of transactions, sending invoices and payments, managing accounts, and compiling financial statements. Bookkeeping and accounting are quite similar, however bookkeeping is what creates the foundation for the accounting process, whereas accounting is more focused on interpreting the data that bookkeeping just collects. Bookkeeping lays the groundwork for accounting.

Putting the Chart of Accounts Together

When you first begin a new firm, one of the first things you will do is create a chart of accounts to serve as the foundation for your organization’s accounting system. There isn’t one standard chart of accounts that applies to all small enterprises. Which accounts you choose to include are determined by the kind of business you run. You won’t need an inventory account, for instance, if you run a company that provides services to customers.

When you are establishing your chart of accounts, you should keep the future in mind. Don’t limit your consideration to the banking options available to you right now for your small business. Consider the accounts that you could require in the next five or ten years, and make sure to include them in your chart. It’s possible that you don’t have any workers at your company right now, but in a few years you could want to expand, so make sure your chart accounts for that possibility. It is possible that you will need to add accounts to your chart as you move along.

It is highly recommended that you devise a numbering scheme for your chart of accounts. If you are going to keep your books on a computer, it is best to choose a numbering system that has four digits. Typically, a block of numbers is allotted to each of the categories that comprise the chart of accounts, and then blank numbers are left at the end of the block so that other accounts can be added in the near or distant future.

The chart of accounts is referred to in the journal entries that are processed as a part of the accounting cycle. The chart of accounts is organised into the following five sections:

  • Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Owner’s Equity
  • Revenue
  • Expenses


In the assets category, you will record all of the items that are owned by your company. It’s possible that you’d like the first number in your asset category to be 1000. That is the number that most computerised accounting programmes utilise as their starting point. Beginning with current assets and going on to fixed assets, you should give each asset account a unique number in a sequence such as 1000, 1010, 1020, and so on.

The accounts for cash that you currently own, such as the cash in your checking and savings accounts, are considered to be current assets. You might give your customers credit, which means you’ll need an accounts receivable account to keep track of their payments. If you intend to engage in product sales, you are going to require an inventory account.

Put money into an account for accumulated depreciation when you’ve finished using your account for fixed assets. Depreciation is usually a negative number on the balance sheet, and it is directly connected to your fixed assets because those are the assets that are being written down in value. In the area between the fixed assets and the accumulated depreciation, there should be no room for any other accounts at all. It’s possible that you’ve racked up depreciation for more than one of your fixed assets. Depreciation can be claimed on a variety of assets, including buildings, vehicles, company equipment, and so on.


Your company’s financial commitments, as well as what it already owes and what it may owe in the future, are recorded under the “Liabilities” column of your balance sheet. It’s possible that you should begin listing the liabilities in the section with the year 2000. When establishing the liabilities portion of the chart of accounts, you will want to adhere to the conventional format of the balance sheet, just as you did when developing the assets category. You are going to have a part for current liabilities and another area for long-term liabilities.

In the area devoted to current liabilities, you will find entries for short-term debt accounts such as accounts payable. This is the account in which you will keep track of the money that is owed to your vendors. It will also include your accrual accounts, which will include the amount of back taxes owed for sales taxes and payroll taxes respectively. You will also have an account for any wages that have been accumulated for you. You might also establish a current liabilities account for the payments that need to be made on your credit cards and other short-term loans.

You could end up with some long-term debt in the future, like a mortgage, for example. You need to make room in your chart of accounts for any additional accounts that pertain to long-term debt.

Owner’s Equity

Your financial contribution to the company is reflected in the owner’s equity accounts. You should set up accounts for both common stock and, if possible, prefered stock in your business in case you ever decide to bring on more investors at some point in the future. You will need a separate account for retained earnings to keep track of any gains that are invested back into the business. The owner’s equity accounts are typically started with a balance of three thousand dollars.


On the chart of accounts that is connected to the income statement, the account for revenue from sales is listed first. This area of the chart of accounts often begins with the number 4,000, reflecting the fact that sales revenues are the largest source of income for your company. You should probably include, in addition to the account for sales revenue, a separate account for sales discounts, sales returns, and sales allowances. You will also want to make sure that you have a separate account for interest income for any money that comes in from the company’s investments.

The costs of sales, often known as the cost of products sold, are typically the following form of account to be considered. Even businesses providing services are required to assess their sales costs. You also include the costs of shipping and any other sales-related expenses, in addition to accounting for any discounts offered by the suppliers.


On the chart of accounts, the category for expenses, which is typically denoted by the number 5000, appears at the very end of the list. When listing expenses in the chart of accounts, it can be helpful to go to the IRS Tax Form Schedule C and model the way expenses are written in the chart of accounts after how they are shown on the tax form. When it comes to filing your taxes, both you and your accountant will appreciate the ease that this provides. Create a separate account for each of the costs that are detailed on Schedule C, as well as any other costs that are unique to your company. You should keep a few empty accounts open just in case you find that you need them in the future. Give each individual a number in the range of 5000 to 5999.

Why is bookkeeping essential for small businesses?

The health and continued prosperity of any small business depends on the accuracy and thoroughness of its bookkeeping. How? First and foremost, you need to have a clear view of all the incoming and outgoing financial transactions that occur within your company. Knowing the current state of the finances of your company, from the amount of cash you have on hand to the amount of debt you owe, enables you to improve the decisions you make and the plans you create for the company’s future.

Your company will be safer if you keep accurate financial records. You might, for instance, find yourself embroiled in a disagreement with one of your vendors or subject to an investigation by the authorities. If your financial records aren’t in order, you run the danger of having to pay settlements or tax penalties for errors in your finances that could have been avoided. You may also be able to avoid or expose fraud, whether it comes from the customers, vendors, or staff of your business.

Bookkeeping also saves you time. Efficient bookkeeping streamlines the process of all of your company’s financial chores, from handling payroll taxes to managing invoicing, and it prevents you from wasting time by preventing you from having to search down every dollar individually.

You can focus on what matters to you most; building your business, saving you time and money, plus giving you peace of mind with right Business Bookkeeping.

When do I require additional bookkeeping support?

If you own a small business, you’ve undoubtedly gotten used to handling everything on your own. You’ve demonstrated your entrepreneurial acumen by coming up with a product or service that fulfils a requirement expressed by your clientele. It is tempting to believe that one does not need to spend any money if one believes that one can complete a task independently.

But errors in bookkeeping are expensive and can put a damper on progress. Have you ever glanced at your bank statements and wondered, “Where is all the money we made this month?” as an example? Then the moment has come to seek assistance with the bookkeeping.

You, as the owner of a small business, have a few options available to you that are both affordable and efficient in terms of bookkeeping:

  • Employing a bookkeeper or accountant full-time within the company
  • Purchasing accounting or bookkeeping software
  • Giving your bookkeeping to a specialised business

Both in-house and outsourced bookkeepers are rather pricey, but because they do all of the bookkeeping tasks for business, they free you from a significant amount of time, effort, and anxiety. Bookkeeping software, on the other hand, is a more cost-effective solution that takes care of the fundamentals without imposing an excessive amount of human labour on the user. These programmes may reconcile bank transactions, change account balances, and prepare financial statements.

Understanding the fundamentals of bookkeeping will assist you in better managing your money, regardless of whether you choose to handle the bookkeeping for your small business on your own or seek the assistance of a professional. You’ll save time that you would have spent looking for receipts, you’ll avoid mistakes that may be very expensive, and you’ll obtain vital insights regarding the potential of your company.

Guest post by : Anna Eydlish Form -

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