Are you a small business owner who struggles to keep your books balanced? Do you feel like you’re too busy juggling all the other responsibilities of managing the day-to-day operations? If so, you’re not alone. Bookkeeping can be tedious and intimidating, but with the right tips and tricks, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. We share some of our favorite bookkeeping tips for small businesses, so read on and start getting your books in order!
1. Separate Your Personal and Business Expenses
Mixing your personal accounts and business accounts is asking for trouble. Skip any confusion and create separate bank accounts. Having a dedicated business account provides a clearer picture of your business cash flow allowing you to track expenses more easily. Solely using credit cards for all business transactions is a great way to stay on top of expenses as cash payments can easily be overlooked.
2. Pay Attention to Receivables
Every business likes to get paid but managing those payments isn’t as much fun. Marking an invoice as paid when payment is received seems easy, but all too often customer payments are left to reconcile at a later date. It’s important to keep track of your transactions as they happen. Applying customer payments weekly will save you time and money – and a big headache come tax time.
3. Pay Yourself a Salary
While paying yourself may not be the first thing that comes to mind as you’re building a business, if your business earns enough money, it should be. Paying yourself a salary is an excellent way to keep your business and personal life separate and keep your books in order. Rather than having business pay your personal expenses, have them write you a check that is deposited into an account just for those payments.
4. Log Expense Receipts
The importance of keeping business receipts cannot be overstated, as they help you keep accurate records for your taxes and lend credibility to any tax reporting. Whether it’s buying dinner for a client or paying to create a new logo for your company, all purchases should have some type of receipt with them so you can keep an accurate record of all business expenses.
5. Hire a Professional
Too many small businesses struggle with the day-to-day tasks of keeping their books, and it’s a problem that can be easily avoided. Your business requires your full attention as you grow it into something amazing—outsource these tedious jobs so you have more time to focus on what really matters, making money!
As a small business owner, you have to be mindful of your accounting and finances. These tips will help make bookkeeping less daunting and ensure that your business is on the right track financially.
It’s one thing to plan on improving organization around the office, but another to actually go through with it. Getting organized does more than make the office look tidy – a more structured workplace can actually help you grow and earn money. It’s easier to be productive when you don’t have stacks of papers, lost receipts and file cabinets filled to the brim. It’s not just physical clutter that gets in the way – digital files, profiles and accounts can quickly become disorganized and that creates an avalanche of problems.
We’ve provided our bookkeeping and accounting services to many Chicagoland businesses through the years and our past client experiences have made us understand that being organized at work and with your finances will aid productivity. Here are a few tips we’ve suggested to our clients that you can use to help you stay more organized.
No, it’s not spring quite yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do a little cleaning around the office to free up some space. A cluttered office environment can make people feel stressed, and removing unnecessary items will create a more welcoming space. It’s common to want to hold onto knick-knacks, old office papers and other items because we often overestimate their importance. Problem is, once these items are no longer necessary, they just get in the way when you’re looking for something you really need. The next time you come across a form or document that’s over a year old, ask yourself whether it’s causing more problems than it’s worth. If you haven’t missed it, you probably won’t in the future.
Put Away Paper Receipts
If there’s one thing nobody ever feels like doing, it’s organizing a fistful of receipts after a long day. Chances are, you’ll toss those papers into the trash just to get them out of the way. That, or you’ll add to the ever-growing Mount Crumpled Paper – before long it’s sure to reach the ceiling. It’s impossible to completely avoid paper receipts, so it’s worth doing the next best thing: get a scanning app that turns that ink into digital receipts. It only takes a few seconds, and it will make your business tax write offs a whole lot easier to manage. Shoeboxed, Expensify and Wave are three great mobile apps that automatically scan and extract receipt information. If you need to know more about how you can use a scanning app for your receipts with our bookkeeping service, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to discuss with you.
Clean Up Your Inbox
Computer screens aren’t always immune to clutter. If your number of unread emails is in the hundreds or thousands, it’s probably time to do a little organization. You don’t necessarily need to delete old emails, because you might need to look back at a conversation thread with a coworker or client, but you should create folders to store them away. Most email services allow you to archive old emails that you don’t use on a daily basis, while keeping a separate folder for more current messages. You can go a step further and create categories in your inbox for the types of emails you commonly receive. Most email services already have a spam folder, but you should unsubscribe to any pesky promotional emails that escape the filter.
Stop Battling Your Books
Chances are, you already have a bookkeeping service like Motl Accounting in Dundee, IL, or you leave it all to an accountant. Whatever your situation, it’s worth reevaluating the processes you have in place to see if you can manage your records more efficiently. Processing payments, recording expenses and tracking projects is essential if you want your business to grow. At the very least, look over your income statement and balance sheet every month to ensure that your records are accurate and every expense is accounted for. Look into smartphone apps like Mint or Freshbooks that allow you to record your transactions on the go, and ensure that any computer software you’re using is up-to-date. You can make your life easier by taking advantage of the bookkeeping services provided by Motl Accounting– we’ll ensure your records are managed correctly whenever we step in to assist with your bookkeeping needs.
A client of ours who owns restaurants in Batavia and Naperville lost his general manager and other restaurant staff within a short period of time. He had to take on some of the accounting work for the business and this obviously hindered him from focusing on his usual responsibilities as the owner. Motl Accounting offered to assist and we stepped in to handle his accounting needs until another general manager was hired and trained by us to get up to speed with the restaurants’ operation. Our client was positioned to be successful even through a transition and trying time by working with us and he was extremely grateful for our assistance.
This is the kind of passion and commitment our team of Motl accountants aim to provide. We strive to guide all our clients down the right financial track.
It only takes a few weeks for a mess to get out of hand. When the office is orderly, your whole team can perform at its best and productivity increases. It’s impossible to know how much time you waste digging through emails, searching for documents or wondering how much you spent on equipment, but it adds up. Make your life a little less hectic with accounting services at Motl that help you stay organized. We can integrate with your existing bank accounts and Quickbooks software, so the transition is simple. Let the Motl Accounting professional’s help you get on top of the day-to-day and start focusing on year over year growth. You’ll wonder why you didn’t sooner.
Tax season is behind us, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop thinking about business expense documentation. In fact, now is the ideal time to get organized and create record-keeping habits that make sense for your company. Nobody wants to waste time digging through receipts and records just before tax day. Document your expenses now and you’ll save yourself and your accountant a headache later on.
Working with the Motl Accounting bookkeepers affords you the opportunity to not deal with all the effort and time it takes to stay organized with your expenses. We assist many businesses with bookkeeping services in Dundee, IL and the Chicagoland area. Below we share some of the things we recommend to our clients to keep their finances organized throughout the year.
Set up a Business Bank Account
One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a small business is not creating a bank account dedicated to business funds. If you’re using the same account for personal and business spending, it’s easy to mix these expenses up and harder to locate specific purchases. Any business-related income should be pooled into a dedicated account. Only use business checking or credit cards when making purchases. Losing track of purchases will become a thing of the past. (more…)
If you’ve ever attempted a quick Google search for CPAs in your area, you’ve probably learned there’s no such thing as a quick search for an accountant. Accounting is all about the details, and when you’re trying to find someone to handle your finances, it pays to be thorough. Your money is at stake, and you should only choose someone who has your best interests in mind. A small amount of accountants have questionable (to say the least) practices, and knowing the warning signs makes a big difference:
Outdated CPA Certificate
There’s a reason many people prefer to work with a CPA rather than a general financial planner: the title requires a higher level of expertise. In addition to years of schooling, CPAs complete exams to ensure a high-level understanding of auditing, business concepts, financial rules and reporting. It’s worth checking out the Illinois CPA Society database to ensure your accountant has retained their license. (more…)
If you’re a small business owner, you know that bookkeeping is both essential, and stressful. For those of you who have decided to keep track of your books on your own, you might actually be costing your businesses rather than saving money. Below we’ll explore a few common DIY errors, and the small business bookkeeping tips to help you save in the long run.
5.) Writing Off Items Incorrectly
Purchases must be logged correctly in order to provide you with accurate numbers when filing your taxes. For example, major purchases (assets that will be used over the course of a long period of time) are different than immediate expenses, and therefore should be dealt with differently. A major expense like a new printer/copier machine should not be written off as a direct expense, but rather should be depreciated over time. (more…)
While the past decade has seen the advent of several tax preparation programs that allow users to file their taxes online, these programs raise several questions: Will filing your taxes online find you all of the deductions you qualify for? Are these programs secure? What if you encounter an issue? Here, we will examine the pros and cons of using tax software versus the advantages and disadvantages of filing with a CPA.
Depending on how complex your returns are, filing your taxes can take a fair amount of time. But, with that said, when you compare filing online with visiting an accountant, the time difference is clear. When you file online, you are still responsible for inputting all of the necessary information into the program. When you file with an accountant, they are responsible for wading through your information to complete the worksheets and calculations that result in your final return. This gives you the opportunity to spend your time doing what you want to do, rather than dealing with your taxes – which few people find enjoyable. (more…)