Are your books a mess? Or are you finding it hard to keep them buttoned up? You’re not alone. Many small business owners, especially as they’re just starting out, have trouble keeping their accounting and bookkeeping in order. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to set yourself up for clean and easy bookkeeping. Here’s your action plan.
Step 1: Clean your house.
The first step is to tidy things up.
Make sure your books are reconciled and all expenses are entered. Verify that opening balances in your bank account and credit cards are correct in your bookkeeping system. If you use Intuit’s QuickBooks Online, you can use the Sync with Square app to automatically enter all your Square transaction data into QuickBooks.
Make sure your business transactions are separate from your personal transactions. Open separate bank and credit card accounts for your business if you haven’t done so already.
Review rules for employees vs. independent contractors to make sure that people who work for you are properly classified. Get signed Form W-9s from your contractors for 2016. Make sure you know which forms to file for employees and contractors for tax year 2015. Most of these forms are due in January.
Clean up your record keeping. Get rid of unused or inactive items, such as former clients or vendors, from your books.
Step 2: Develop a plan.
You need to keep your accounting up to date all year. Here’s how to do that:
Schedule regular times each week to make sure your books are up to date, whether you use a bookkeeper or do this yourself. If you’d rather focus on other aspects of your business, consider hiring a bookkeeper.
Review your current bookkeeping procedures to find areas for improvement. Determine your biggest pain points, such as keeping track of receipts, mileage, or inventory, and look for ways to streamline by using apps that work with Square and QuickBooks Online. Also make sure you’re maximizing features already available in the existing software solutions you use.
If you’re using an online bookkeeping system, set up features such as bank rules to automatically categorize recurring transactions such as subscription fees, loans, and insurance bills. Consider additional applications that can streamline processes like TSheets for time tracking or Bigcommerce for web store integration. Make sure you understand how they work before you try to implement them.
Consider consulting with an accountant to learn about any changes in the tax laws, both federal and state, in the upcoming year that may impact your business.
Step 3: Implement your plan.
Now that you have a plan, stick to it. Schedule your accounting sessions calendar and keep it up throughout the year.
A little effort at regular intervals can make the bookkeeping process less daunting and give you valuable, timely information that helps you make better business decisions. Smart, clean books are a gift that you give yourself so your business can be more productive and profitable than ever before.
Heather Satterley is an Enrolled Agent licensed to practice before the IRS and an Intuit QuickBooks ProAdvisor. She is passionate about helping small business owners spend less time on their bookkeeping and more time pursuing their passion.
To make your accounting a breeze, connect your Square account to Intuit QuickBooks Online in Square App Marketplace.
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