Category: Bookkeeping Services

Bookkeeping 101: Bookkeeping Basics for Small Businesses

accounts receivable services minneapolis mnBookkeeping for a small business involves establishing a framework, selecting a method, and keeping track of details. Bookkeeping is a fundamental aspect of business finances and can affect the growth and prosperity of your small business. It encompasses a variety of tasks, ranging from simple data entry in a software platform to working with certified public accountants, and serves as the foundation of your accounting and financial systems.

Accounting fundamentals for small businesses

As bookkeeping and accounting technology has advanced, more bookkeeping tasks have become automated. However, this does not diminish the significance of ensuring everything is set up correctly from the beginning.

Implementing accounting software

Setting up accounting or bookkeeping software entails connecting business bank accounts, entering any required data, and reconciling transactions. It also entails checking for errors, learning your accounting software, and searching for ways to streamline various accounting processes.

Selecting an entrance system

Accounting for small businesses requires you to choose between single- and double-entry systems. Single-entry accounting records each transaction as an expense or an income only once. This method is simple and appropriate for small businesses without significant inventory or equipment. To “balance the books” between accounts, double-entry accounting records each transaction twice, as a debit and a credit. Although more complex, it can prevent errors in transaction recording. The entry system you select affects your financial management and bookkeeping procedures.

Choosing a method of bookkeeping

You must also choose between cash accounting and accrual accounting. Cash accounting records transactions based on the exchange of cash. This method does not record invoices or your business’s unpaid bills until they have been paid in full. These invoices and bills are recorded by accrual-based accounting even if the funds have not been exchanged. Generally, accrual-based accounting is the preferred method, but the choice is ultimately yours.

Managing transactions

Everyday bookkeeping duties include managing transactions. This involves importing and correctly categorizing transactions, reconciling them, and ensuring that they are recorded according to your entry system and accounting method.

Accounting for receivables and payables

Small businesses also manage accounts receivable, ensuring that your company is paid for its products or services. This may involve estimating the final cost of a project, preparing and sending invoices, and providing statements. Accounting for small businesses also entails ensuring that bills and invoices are paid on time, known as accounts payable.

Setting up payroll

Some businesses perform payroll processing within their accounting software, while others use a separate payroll program. Which software you select will determine how you set up and administer payroll.

Coordination with a tax professional

A small business must identify potential tax deductions and streamline its tax procedures to the greatest extent possible. Some accounting software options provide access to tax professionals. If you do not connect with one through a service or software, it is likely that you will need to work with one when filing business taxes.

Managing financial documents and financial statements

Bookkeeping for small businesses also entails the management of essential accounting documents and the maintenance of the data — transactions, assets, income, expenses, etc. — that is used to generate financial statements. There are numerous software options for document storage and streamlining the documentation process.

Why bookkeeping is essential for small businesses

Even though accounting software can simplify bookkeeping processes, it is essential that the bookkeeping for your small business is performed correctly. Listed below are several reasons why bookkeeping is so crucial:

  • Separating business and personal finances protects you from being held personally liable for any business-related debts or issues.
  • Identifying errors early by managing transactions and reconciliation prevents future financial problems.
  • Businesses can save money by streamlining tax processes and collaborating with tax professionals to simplify their finances.
  • Monitoring the financial health of a business identifies opportunities to improve or alter processes.
  • Organizing documents and records simplifies tasks such as obtaining a business loan or purchasing new equipment.

How to administer accounting for small businesses

There are three bookkeeping methods for small businesses:

  1. Handle your own small business’s accounting

If you manage your own bookkeeping, you are responsible for keeping your finances in order, storing records, and creating required statements. Using accounting software simplifies many bookkeeping tasks, but you will still need tech-based skills to operate and optimize the software.

  1. Use an online bookkeeping service

This guide on how to find the best virtual bookkeeping service will help you initiate the process of outsourcing your bookkeeping. With this type of service, you can communicate exclusively via phone or email without having to worry about physically meeting.

The duties performed by a service will depend on the provider.

  1. Hire an in-house bookkeeper

You can also directly employ a bookkeeper for your business. Employing a professional on a part-time or full-time basis allows you access to their knowledge and familiarizes them with your company’s finances, processes, and accounting tools and software. It is important to note, however, that your bookkeeper will not be the only individual working on your business’s finances. Therefore, you must understand which tasks your bookkeeper is and is not responsible for.

What Is a Chart of Accounts? A Small Business Bookkeeping Guide

quickbooks training minneapolis mnA chart of accounts is a tool used in small business accounting to organize the key accounts that contribute to the creation of financial statements. The chart of accounts is a useful document that allows you to present all financial information about your business in one location, providing a clear picture of the financial health of your company. The chart of accounts organizes your finances into the following five account types: assets, liabilities, equity, revenues, and expenses.

These topics will assist you in comprehending what a chart of accounts is and how small businesses utilize it:

What Is the Function of a Chart of Accounts?

What Are the Five Most Important Accounts?

Why Is a Chart of Accounts So Essential?

What Is the Function of a Chart of Accounts?

The chart of accounts is used by small businesses to organize their complex financial information into an understandable format. It is the initial step in establishing the accounting system for your business. The chart of accounts clearly separates your revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities to provide an accurate financial snapshot of your business.

The chart of accounts categorizes your financial accounts by number. The majority of businesses adhere to this consistent and widely accepted account numbering system:

  • 1000 – 1900: Assets
  • 2000 – 2900: Liabilities
  • 3000 – 3900: Equity
  • 4000 – 4900: Revenue
  • 5000 – 5900: Expenses

Although it is not required, businesses typically use the same numbering system for the chart of accounts because it makes it easier for an accountant or bookkeeper to translate the data into standard financial reports. Those who have worked with a general ledger You’ll notice that the accounts in the ledger are identical to those in the chart of accounts.

What Are the Five Most Important Accounts?

The five major account types provide the structure for your chart of accounts by separating the information into distinct categories. Multiple essential financial reports are constructed using the same five account types. The five major account types that will be used to construct your chart of accounts are as follows:

  • Assets: Assets are resources that can be converted into cash and therefore have a monetary value. Your accounts receivable, vehicles, property, and equipment are examples of assets.
  • Liabilities: Liabilities are debts owed by your business to others. This would include accounts payable, any taxes owed to the government, and loans that must be repaid.
  • Equity: The function of equity in the chart of accounts varies depending on whether your business is organized as a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or a corporation.

This may include Owner’s Equity or Shareholder’s Equity, depending on the structure of your business. Equity is calculated by subtracting a company’s assets from its liabilities.

  • Revenue: Revenue is the amount of money your company earns from the sale of its products or services.
  • Expenses: Expenses are the costs incurred while operating a business. This would consist of your office’s rent, utilities, and supplies.

Why Is a Chart of Accounts So Essential?

The chart of accounts allows you to organize the complex financial data of your business and distill it into logical account types. It also lays the groundwork for all of your company’s essential financial reports. However, a chart of accounts is more than merely an organizational tool. Having all of your financial data in one location and being able to see how the various accounts relate to one another can provide valuable insights into the performance of your business.

Here are some ways in which a chart of accounts can be advantageous to your business:

  1. Recognize Your Earnings

A chart of accounts provides greater insight into your company’s revenue than simply the amount of money earned. It illustrates the peaks and valleys of your income, the available cash flow, and how long it should last given your average monthly business expenses.

  1. Get a Grip on Debts

A chart of accounts provides a clear picture of your short- and long-term financial obligations. Your chart of accounts can assist you in determining how much of your monthly income you can afford to pay toward your debts and in developing longer-term plans for debt repayment.

  1. Spend Smarter

Seeing a straightforward list of everything you spend your hard-earned money on isn’t always enjoyable, but the chart of accounts can provide you with valuable insight into your spending habits. You can manage your essential reoccurring expenses, such as rent, utilities, and internet. You can also examine your other expenses to determine where you can save money if necessary.

4.  Enhance Your Reporting

A chart of accounts organizes your financial accounts into a streamlined, numeric system. Having an accurate chart of accounts facilitates the development of in-depth financial reports, such as a cash flow statement, balance sheet, and income statement, to help you comprehend your company’s financial position. You can modify your chart of accounts so that its structure corresponds to the particular requirements of your business.

  1. File Taxes

A properly organized chart of accounts simplifies tax season, which is an added benefit. The chart of accounts keeps track of your business’s income and expenses, which must be reported on your annual tax return. If you want to create a customized chart of accounts using accounting software, you can add or edit parent and sub-accounts to the existing default chart of accounts. This will help you stay organized and understand the financial state of your business better.

What types of financial reports should a bookkeeper generate?

bookkeeping servicesThese reports may be generated monthly to monitor the company’s finances.

Balance sheet / Statement of financial position

  • What it tracks: money earned versus money spent
  • What it tells you: whether you had a profitable or unprofitable month

Cash flow statement

  • What it tracks: the amount of cash earned by the business
  • What it tells you:

This is useful for businesses that sell items on credit because it indicates how much money is available for spending.

Overdue receivables

  • What it tracks: Who owes you money, how much, and when (or when it was) due.
  • What it tells you: Which accounts to pursue.

Aged payables

  • What it tracks: who you owe, how much, and when it is (or was) due
  • What it tells you: cash demands and potential relationship risks

Why does it matter?

Together, these reports inform you of the value of your company, its profitability, and its ability to continue operations. The outcomes can affect your spending plans, pricing, projections, and customer payment terms. Moreover, the year-end versions of these reports reveal the amount of income tax you must pay.

Who generates financial statements?

Traditionally, a bookkeeper generates monthly reports to keep track of the business. Typically, accountants create year-end reports with the goal of minimizing taxes and establishing financial strategies for the following year.

How to generate financial statements

If you were manually creating reports, you would need to follow these steps.

  • Balance sheet: Summarize the account activity for assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Income statement: Summarize income and expense account activity.
  • Cash flow statement: Display the amount of available cash throughout the period.
  • Aged receivables: Display which sales invoices remain unpaid. For any that are past due, indicate the number of days you’ve been waiting.
  • Aged payables: Indicate which of your bills remain unpaid. or any invoices that are overdue, indicate the number of days the supplier has been waiting.

Bookkeeping software has made it possible for anyone to generate modern monthly financial reports with the click of a button. However, you must first ensure that all numbers have been entered, coded to the appropriate account, and reconciled. Some of these reports can be displayed in real-time on a dashboard that is updated daily.

Generally, the year-end reports are prepared by an accountant, who may make final adjustments to ensure that the business does not overpay taxes.

10 Reasons Why Your Small Business Requires Bookkeeping

payroll companies minneapolis mnBookkeeping may not be the most exciting aspect of your small business, but they are the most crucial. Not having the right bookkeeper or not having one at all can lead to a lack of cash flow, the absence of the right team, pricing and cost issues, and a lack of a business model. If that was not enough to convince you that your small business NEEDS a bookkeeper, consider the following arguments.

In order to budget effectively, income and expenses must be properly organized. With a budget, you can plan for future business expenses and more accurately anticipate and allocate costs.

Analysis

Financial statements are the result of bookkeeping; by using these statements, you can gain a better understanding of the financial health of your business. Permitting you to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your business so that you can capitalize on the strengths and improve the weaknesses.

Determination

Following analysis is decision making. To make the most informed and accurate business decisions, you must have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Planning

To plan for the future of your business, you must examine its historical performance. Bookkeeping will provide a clear picture of what has and has not worked in the past for your business Not only will it assist with planning, but also with tax planning. For things you may want to do in the future if there is a potential tax benefit at tax time.

Reporting to Shareholders

If you have investors in your business, they must be aware of its financial performance in order to determine the return on their investment. Providing investors with current financial statements enables them to make more informed and prudent decisions about where and how much money to invest. In addition, keeping your investors satisfied is essential; providing them with this information not only keeps them satisfied, but also may encourage them to invest more or bring in other investors to help you realize your vision of expanding your business.

Monitor Profit and Expansion

Bookkeeping reveals the profitability of a business. The income statement is one of the documents contained within the financial statements your bookkeeper provides. This allows you to track whether your business is actually profitable and how that compares to previous years. With these months’ and years’ worth of income data, you will be able to identify patterns and gain a deeper understanding of your business cycles.

Improved Cash Flow

Your bookkeeper will categorize your expenses as one of their many duties. Labeling them with terms such as revenues, expenses, liabilities, and receivables. Overall, displaying the money that is coming in and going out. Permitting you to view any outstanding balances and the period in which they occurred. Which can enhance your business processes and work execution.

Internal Revenue Service Audit

Lastly, the law requires you to maintain separate financial records for your business and your personal life. If the government receives a red flag on a tax return you have filed, they may audit your company. If you do not maintain up-to-date financial records, this process will be lengthier and more difficult. If you maintain accurate and up-to-date records, you may prevent the IRS from requiring an audit of your business.

Last but not least

Keeping your business’s financial records up-to-date may be the most important factor in ensuring its survival. As stated previously, the four primary reasons small businesses fail are a lack of cash, an insufficient team, price and cost issues, and an absence of a business model.

If you have a bookkeeper, you have a better understanding of incoming and outgoing cash, allowing you to make the appropriate decisions to avoid running out of money. Having a bookkeeper on your team enables you to discuss the financial aspects of your business, as well as reevaluate your team based on how much you are spending in specific categories. With this information, you can also gain a better understanding of what you are spending on items, allowing you to better price your products and, hopefully, illuminating any pricing or cost issues. Having a firm grasp on the financial aspect of your business enables you to create a more comprehensive business plan.

Consequently, bookkeeping is of the utmost importance. UptoDate Bookkeeping can assist you in all of these areas. Let us be a member of your team and we will bring your company’s finances under control.

Five ways a bookkeeper can assist your company

bookkeeping records blaine mnYou may be the bookkeeper if your business is small, at least until you can afford to hire a bookkeeper. When your company reaches a certain size, it makes sense to outsource your bookkeeping.

Here are five ways a bookkeeper can be of assistance:

  1. Pay attention to your business strategy

Bookkeeping involves keeping track of minute information and entering it into accounting software. Working with these numbers can make it difficult to see the big picture at times. Thus, it is often preferable to have someone else perform this task.

  1. Lower your accounting expenses

Utilize a bookkeeper to manage your daily transactions and process your monthly payroll. If so, you could save a substantial amount of money by hiring a bookkeeper to perform this task.

  1. Be an additional set of eyes monitoring your cash flow

If you want to avoid suddenly running out of money, you must monitor your cash flow. This was covered in our guide to managing cash flow. It is helpful to have a third party verify the numbers and ensure that the cash flow continues. A bookkeeper can perform this task.

  1. Get quick access to vital figures

It is essential to have a certified public accountant manage your monthly business reconciliation and reporting. But what if you require financial data in the middle of the month? Bookkeepers can provide you with the necessary information without requiring you to wait for your accountant to respond.

  1. Maintain command of your financial data

Few small businesses can afford to employ their own accountant, so the vast majority of accountants work part-time for their clients. If they use quality online accounting software to manage your finances, collaboration is significantly facilitated. If you have quality software, your bookkeeper and accountant can work on the same set of data. Together, they can produce the best results and help your business expand.

Bookkeeping facilitates business operations.

Bookkeeping is an essential function for any business. This is true regardless of whether you perform the work yourself or hire someone else to do it. In the absence of accurate bookkeeping, your accounts will be inaccurate.

Your bookkeeper will not have a clear picture of your company’s finances, and you will be unable to make strategic business decisions. Equally important, your business is required by law to maintain accurate accounting records and file tax office reports. Therefore, it pays to be accurate. Bookkeeping will assist you with all of these tasks and provide you with valuable insights into your business’s financial health.

Connect with a knowledgeable bookkeeper through UptoDate Bookkeeping.

If you have QuickBooks, do you need the services of a bookkeeper?

blaine mn bookkeeping serbvicesEven if you use QuickBooks, you may still need the services that a bookkeeper provides. Here are reasons why having a bookkeeper is a good idea, even if you use QuickBooks.

Does a clogged drain necessitate calling a plumber? Maybe, but maybe not. However, when you’re constructing a new home, you have a plumbing plan as part of the design phase, well before you begin construction. The same principle applies to your business’s accounting needs.

When you establish a new business, a bookkeeper can assist you in determining the most beneficial chart of accounts. You want your financial data to flow smoothly and be accurately accounted for. At tax time, you must be able to identify the activities that qualify as tax deductions. This will allow you to save money and reduce your tax burden. Sometimes, once you have the hang of things, you need a checkup to ensure that you remain on course. These checks can be useful if you experience a “blockage” that prevents the free flow of information. Even if you use QuickBooks, you need a bookkeeper.

A bookkeeper is required to verify your records.

QuickBooks is simple to use. It records the double-entry, or debit and credit, automatically. For instance, when you write a check to pay a utility bill and enter utilities expense, QuickBooks creates an entry that affects both the checking account and the utility expense account. It prohibits the debit from exceeding the credit. However, if you select the incorrect account, QuickBooks will not detect the error. The debit and credit will balance, but the system will not know how to correct the account.

Consider that your company purchases equipment for $5,000. You write a check for equipment expenses and then believe you are finished. Nevertheless, there are regulations to evaluate based on the type of equipment you’ve acquired. You should most likely account for this as an asset on your balance sheet, as opposed to a fully expensed activity in the year it was acquired. Such purchases are referred to as capitalized assets.

The initial entry impacts the balance sheet as opposed to the income statement. Nevertheless, capitalized assets are depreciated and therefore expensed over time. Consequently, additional entries are made over time to gradually depreciate the asset.

There are numerous other instances in which the entry made is not always a straightforward answer and additional information is required to make the correct accounting entry. This is when having access to a bookkeeper is advantageous.

A bookkeeper is required to ensure compliance.

There are numerous areas of compliance to which bookkeepers must pay close attention. Among these areas are tax filings, payroll-related filings, and depreciation and amortization tax rules. QuickBooks assists in performing these functions by providing the necessary information, but it does not detect errors or verify that the filings are complete and accurate. A bookkeeper is required to ensure compliance.

This is exemplified perfectly when a bookkeeper completes the annual tax return. Once a bookkeeper verifies the accuracy of the records, they use the financial data to complete an annual tax return. If income and expenses are not accurately reported, the tax return will reflect inaccurate results. Inaccurate results mean potential fines and penalties. Not only is it essential to file taxes accurately, but also in a timely manner.

A bookkeeper would be able to ensure that you comply with all filing requirements.

In relation to the preceding record entry for capitalizing assets, different rules apply to the depreciation of various assets. Your bookkeeper will ensure that the net value of your assets is accurately reflected in your books by adhering to the most recent tax regulations.

You require the services of a bookkeeper to provide guidance.

Bookkeepers are trained in what to look for and what questions to ask in order to assist business owners not only with day-to-day tasks, such as ensuring your balance sheet is up-to-date, but also with identifying trends and recognizing patterns that indicate something has changed. Bookkeepers are also well-versed in the questions that will aid them in guiding the organization and assisting management. Your bookkeepers can advise you on how to segment information in QuickBooks to determine the profitability of each business segment. You can quickly determine which business segments are not worth additional investment, allowing you to place your attention on the segments that are performing well. Or, your bookkeeper can assist you in determining where to invest money, time, and additional training to bring underperforming business segments back on track.

Bookkeepers are essential to the success of your business.

They will assist you in maintaining accurate records and in adhering to regulations, and they will provide guidance to help you run your business more efficiently. You can’t know and see everything as a business owner, so your bookkeeper is your extra set of eyes. Bookkeepers have the expertise to improve your company’s financial operations.

Everything flows together, but you need a bookkeeper to ensure that everything flows smoothly.

Don’t get clogged up. UptoDate Bookkeeping will keep you organized so that you can focus on what you do best. Contact us to learn more about our Bookkeeping services.

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping That Are Often Overlooked

It’s never been easier or more appealing to outsource your small business bookkeeping than it is now. The rise of online technology in general, and cloud computing in particular, has transformed the way we all do business. Finding, contacting, and eventually partnering with services that can help your company function more smoothly—and yield a better bottom line—is as simple as clicking a button.

In our opinion, the most typical reasons given by small business owners for neglecting their financial accounting are time and money. They generally admit to not having the time or skills to perform the necessary bookkeeping procedures on their own. However, many are hesitant to incur the expense of hiring an in-house bookkeeper. Many often, these business owners are ignorant of the numerous cost advantages of using a certified outsourced bookkeeping firm.

The Importance Of Service-Oriented Bookkeeping

Using an outsourced bookkeeping service does not imply that you must purchase software and operate the system on your own. A dynamic working relationship between your business and your bookkeeper is created by the human component and customer service given. Bridging the gap between people and software is an excellent business model to consider when hiring an outsourced service.

The Benefits of Saving Time and Money Do Not End There

If you’re new to outsourcing, you should know that handing over your financial records to a professional bookkeeping firm can save you both time and money. Clearing as many distracting administrative activities from your own overloaded plate as possible frees up time that you can invest in your company’s growth and success. At the same time, outsourcing your bookkeeping will typically cost less than adding a full-time or even part-time employee to your payroll. You only pay for what you need, when you need it, when you outsource.

Expertise in the Field

When you outsource to a trustworthy bookkeeping firm, you can’t beat the knowledge and expertise at your disposal. So you don’t have to, these seasoned specialists stay up to speed on all the most important financial facts. Enlisting their assistance will go a long way toward alleviating the stress that comes with responsibilities like government payments, annual tax filings, and the looming threat of an audit. The Value of a Team When you outsource your bookkeeping, you gain access to an entire team of specialists’ diligence and experience. Some items that might go unnoticed or missed by an individual in your office are significantly more likely to be noticed and dealt with appropriately by outsourced financial teams’ regular group effort.

Systems at the highest level

Your company may not be able to buy the most up-to-date accounting software and tools, but your outsourced bookkeeper can. Smart businesses, regardless of industry, invest in the greatest technology available so that they can continue to provide the best service to their customers. You receive all the benefits of top-of-the-line accounting systems without having to invest in or maintain them yourself when you outsource your small business bookkeeping.

Growth of a Small Business

Companies that use virtual bookkeepers have had better results in terms of expanding their business, increasing sales, and enhancing profit margins. Outsourcing greatly expands your company’s scalability possibilities. You have the ability to quickly and effectively expand or cut back. Whether your company is expanding or cutting costs, the outsourced team can provide you a variety of solutions and the finest options for achieving your objectives.

Statements that are correct

Make a Statement

Outsourcing your bookkeeping to a reputable firm can have a big impact on your company’s growth and profitability. Virtual bookkeepers have the resources and capacities to better focus on the complexities of everyday financial reporting, from compliance to regulation revisions. They can explain and evaluate key facts in your financial accounts to assist you in making better decisions. Job costing techniques boost profits, but they rely on reliable bookkeeping records and financial statements to work. The control provided by high-quality financial statements and accurate reporting is an important part of every company’s central management. It enables effective financial planning and strategic growth strategies based on reliable real-time data from your company.

The Bottom Line

With outsourced bookkeeping services, you may take advantage of technology to boost your company’s mobility and scalability. This relationship provides you with more expertise and experience to help you plan and implement the next stages of your business’s growth. This service’s cost savings and intelligent accessibility can help your company develop and earn more quickly. Are you ready to enlist the help of your new bookkeeping partners to relieve you of the stress and obligation of bookkeeping, allowing you to focus on the growth and administration of your expanding company? Schedule a financial consultation for your company to get started.

 

 

What is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

When people think about the differences between bookkeeping and accounting, they often have difficulty distinguishing the two. The objectives of bookkeepers and accountants are similar, but they provide assistance to your company at different points during the financial cycle.

Essentially, bookkeeping is the process of recording financial transactions in a transactional and administrative manner. Accounting data provides you with insight into the financial health of your company in a more subjective way.

Bookkeeping is important

A business’ bookkeeping is the process of collecting financial data and recording daily transactions.

Records financial transactions • Posts debits and credits • Produces invoices • Prepares financial statements (balance sheet, cash flow statement, and income statement) • Maintains and balances subsidiary accounts, general ledgers, and historical accounts

Maintaining a general ledger is an important part of bookkeeping. A general ledger is a basic document used by bookkeepers to record the income and expenses received from sales. This is called posting. Increasing sales require more frequent updates to the ledger. In addition to specialized software, you can also use a spreadsheet or just a piece of lined paper to create a ledger.

The complexity of an accounting system is usually determined by the size of the company and the volume of daily, weekly, and monthly transactions. Documentation of your company’s sales and purchases is required in the ledger, and some transactions require supporting documents. For more information, visit the IRS website.

The role of accounting in society

Accounting is the process of creating financial models by analyzing financial data obtained by bookkeepers and business owners.

Unlike the largely transactional bookkeeping process, the accounting procedure is more subjective.

  • preparing adjusting entries (recording expenses that have occurred but have not yet been entered in the accounting system) • reviewing company financial statements • analyzing costs of operations • preparing income tax returns • helping business owners understand the impact of financial decisions

Accountants analyze financial data to assist in making business decisions. As a result, you’ll understand the true profitability and cash flow of your company. Accounting uses data from the general ledger to reveal a company’s overall picture and trajectory. Business owners frequently seek the assistance of accountants for tax planning, financial analysis, and tax filing.

What is the difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper?

Occasionally, bookkeepers and accountants do similar work, but their skills are different. A bookkeeper’s main responsibility is to keep track of transactions and keep you organized financially, whereas accountants provide consulting, analysis, and tax advice.

Qualifications for bookkeeping

It’s not required that bookkeepers have formal education. In order to be successful, bookkeepers must be meticulous with their work and knowledgeable about important financial matters. Generally, either an accountant or the owner of the company whose books the bookkeeper is keeping supervises the bookkeeper’s work. Therefore, a bookkeeper cannot claim to be an accountant

Qualifications for accountants

Accounting bachelor’s degrees are typically required for accountants. Those without an accounting degree often consider finance degrees to be suitable substitutes.

Accounting professionals can obtain further professional certifications, unlike bookkeepers. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), one of the most prestigious accounting credentials, can earn the title with enough experience and education. To become a CPA, an accountant must pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant examination and have professional accounting experience. Part of the cost of hiring an accountant depends on his or her certifications.

 

How Can a Bookkeeper Help My Business?

Bookkeeping Company MinneapolisWhat Do Bookkeepers Do?

In addition to recording expenses, income, and transactions in a company’s books, bookkeepers reconcile the company’s financial accounts on a monthly basis. A bookkeeper might also help prepare financial statements and reports. Even though bookkeeping can be an in-house position, most businesses hire freelance bookkeepers.

A bookkeeper can wear a variety of hats depending on what a business needs. The majority of bookkeepers nowadays work with business accounting software. In addition, most bookkeepers can handle a few tasks for your business. Despite the fact that a bookkeeper’s job is multifaceted, there are some tenets that all bookkeepers follow.

You may also be wondering if you need a bookkeeper if you’re wondering what a bookkeeper does. The tasks that a bookkeeper can perform for you, how much a bookkeeper charges, and how to find a good bookkeeper will be discussed.

What Are the Duties of a Bookkeeper?

This question can’t be answered simply. Bookkeeping can vary from business to business, just like any other line of work. Bookkeepers tend to handle the following tasks most often, however:

  • Record financial transactions
  • Reconcile bank accounts
  • Manage bank feeds
  • Handle accounts receivable
  • Handle accounts payable
  • Work with your tax preparer and assist with tax compliance
  • Prepare financial statements
  • Take on some payroll and human resource functions
  • Make technology and process streamlining recommendations

Here’s a closer look at what a bookkeeper does:

Reconcile Your Bank Accounts

Reconciling your financial accounts is the most important task for any bookkeeper. It ensures that the information in your accounting software matches the information in your bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial statements.

You should reconcile your accounts regularly to avoid overdraft fees, fraudulent charges, or incorrectly recorded transactions. Software makes reconciliation relatively simple, but there is still a need for a human touch to ensure all transactions are accurately recorded.

Manage Bank Feeds

In a nutshell, your bookkeeping service or bookkeeper should be managing the transactions coming in through your accounting system’s bank feed. With a bank feed, you can see each transaction in real-time from your accounting software.

Accounting software should be able to automatically categorize certain transactions, depending on how effective it is. Credit card transactions from an airline, for example, can automatically be categorized as travel expenses. They make sure that these transactions are properly categorized by keeping an eye on them.

The bookkeeper may also have to manually enter transactions that aren’t included in the bank feed. A lot of the transactions that need to be added will be generated outside of the accounting system, such as cash payments or handwritten checks. It may also involve matching customer deposits with outgoing transactions as payments against vendor bills to help manage accounts receivable.

Handle Accounts Receivable

There are several ways to manage accounts receivable. Small businesses may enter their own estimates or invoices, and they may receive payments against the invoices.

There is another option, however. The client calculates the job using an industry-specific estimating program, then provides the bookkeeper with the total. As the project progresses, they create or update invoices in their QuickBooks Online account.

Invoice generation, sending invoices to customers, preparing statements, and assisting with collections are all part of the account receivable services we provide to our clients. The customer notifies the bookkeeper when they have been paid, we enter the payment in QuickBooks Online, and then we create a deposit matching what the client takes to the bank.

Handle Accounts Payable

In addition to accounts receivable, many bookkeepers handle accounts payable for their clients. The bookkeeper will deal with all vendor bills the company receives. The bookkeeper should note the payment deadlines from each vendor, early payment discounts if available, and submit payment to the vendor. When a company grows, bookkeepers can add additional approvers to approve payments. To maintain positive trade credit terms and relationships with suppliers, you need to manage your accounts payable properly.

Work with Your Tax Preparer

Many bookkeepers are unaware of the fact that, by default, they’re going to act as a translator between you and your certified public accountant or enrolled agent. A bookkeeper often has a better understanding of your books, so when it’s time to file your small business taxes, you can have your bookkeeper contact your tax preparer.

Prepare Financial Statements

For your business, most bookkeepers will prepare three financial statements: a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement. The financial statements should be updated every month, and again at the end of the year. Profit and loss statements show your company’s bottom line and operating expenses.

The balance sheet shows the assets and liabilities of your business. The cash flow statement shows how your company is spending and earning cash. Bookkeepers can prepare financial statements with accounting software and send them to their accountants and tax preparers.

Process Payroll

Payroll and human resource functions are sometimes also handled by bookkeepers. Payroll may be included in your bookkeeping service, or they may help you with tax payments and forms. Your accounting system might import payroll data directly from your payroll service provider, or it might import data from a file provided by your payroll service provider. You might also be able to use a bookkeeper to manage timesheets for hourly employees.

Recommend technologies and processes for streamlining

Additionally, bookkeepers are pretty good at keeping up with the latest technology. It’s not uncommon for your bookkeeper to discover a new app or solution tailored to your industry, such as self-employed accounting software, for instance, especially if many of their clients are in the same industry. Perhaps there is a way to reduce labor costs. The goal of a bookkeeper is to streamline your back office. Consequently, they can be an extremely valuable partner for your business.

Bookkeepers Help You Get Back to Business

You now know all of the main skills a bookkeeper can bring to your business. There’s much more to bookkeeping than simple data entry and consulting an accounting book.

Ultimately, the answer to this question will depend on what you and your small business need from your bookkeeper. You will have more time and energy to focus on growing your small business by having a bookkeeper keep track of your finances.

 

Finding the Right Bookkeeper for Your Company: Everything You Need to Know

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Outsourcing bookkeeping can be a good option if you’re ready to remove bookkeeping from your plate, but it can also raise a lot of questions. Which tasks will your bookkeeper be able to handle? Does a bookkeeping service cost a lot? Is it possible to use only bookkeeping software on your own?

This article discusses a few factors to consider when choosing a bookkeeping solution:

  • The benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeping — versus using bookkeeping software or hiring a bookkeeper in house
  • What tasks a bookkeeping service can cover
  • How the process of outsourcing your books actually works
  • How much you should realistically budget for quality outsourced bookkeeping.

We’ll go over everything you need to know in order to make key decisions about outsourcing your bookkeeping.

Is it a good idea to outsource your books?

You can see the benefits of putting bookkeeping off your plate and onto someone else’s. Here are some examples:

  • This means your time and patience go into growing the business rather than doing it yourself.
  • You won’t need to worry about inaccuracies or falling behind on your books when a professional is handling it.
  • Your books will be complete, professional, and ready for a CPA to review when you are ready to raise money or file your tax return.

You don’t have to outsource your bookkeeping to another company to get your books off your hands. In-house bookkeepers are another option. Why should you outsource your books instead of hiring an in-house team?

  • As your business grows, you can scale your bookkeeping service up or down as needed.
  • In many cases, outsourced bookkeeping services are less expensive (sometimes by a lot) than hiring a full-time bookkeeper and paying benefits.
  • Bookkeepers are vetted and hired by someone else.

What an outsourced bookkeeping service can do for you

It turns out that there’s a lot of overlap between bookkeeping, accounting, and taxes. Each bookkeeper performs a specific set of tasks. When you outsource your bookkeeping, what is actually included in that service?

Outsourced bookkeeping services can handle any and all of the following:

  • In other words, you can import financial information from bank statements, credit card statements, payroll records, invoices, etc.
  • Accounting for those transactions by categorizing and reconciling them
  • The tracking of bills and revenue yet to be recognized (which includes accounts payable and accounts receivable management)
  • Maintaining accurate and up-to-date books
  • On a monthly or quarterly basis, we provide you with accurate financial statements, such as Profit & Loss (Income) Statements, cash flow statements, and a balance sheet
  • Understanding your financial statements and other aspects of your bookkeeping
  • Providing investors, tax preparers, and anyone else who needs access to complete and accurate financial reporting.

It’s up to you to work out the details with the person or service you choose. Ensure your expectations are aligned with their offerings before signing up by asking questions up front.

Why You Should Outsource Your Bookkeeping

Every business needs accurate, complete financial records – but managing them doesn’t have to consume all of your time and patience. Taking the back office off your plate is worth the investment if you would rather spend time growing your business.

This way, you can be certain your books are accurate and get back to what you do best.