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Small business Accounting tips

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Alex, Staff Writer

Friday, 7th May 2021

Accounting

Your business is your livelihood, so you need the figures to add up. The best way to make sure that you stay on track is to keep on top of your finances. You need to know exactly how much money is coming in, and how much is going out. This will help you to make sure that your business is on track for the success that it deserves.

But accounting for small businesses isn’t always easy. In fact, it can feel quite daunting when you think about completing your accounts for the first time. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide, to tell you everything that you need to know about accounting for small businesses.

Here are our top small business accounting tips, helping you to stay on top of your finances.

Define your business

Before you even consider your accounts, you need to understand what type of business you’re running. This could include Sole Proprietor, LLC or Corporation. Each type of business has different tax requirements and expense limitations.

You’ll need to do careful research to decide which company structure is best for your business. If you’re unsure, we’d always recommend speaking to an accountant to fully understand your options, as this will have lasting implications on how you complete your accounts and ultimately the turnover of your business.

Open a separate bank account

If you’re running an LLC or Corporation, you’re required to keep your personal and business bank accounts separate by law. Although it isn’t a legal requirement for Sole Proprietors, we’d always recommend that any type of business open a separate bank account.

Having a separate bank account for your business helps you to see exactly how much your business is earning and spending each month. It also makes it easier to keep track of your expenses and speeds things up when it comes to filing your accounts.

There are many free options out there for business bank accounts, so make sure that you shop around before choosing an account.

Track your income and expenses

Accounting

One of the most important small business accounting tips is remembering how to track your income and expenses. It may feel laborious at first, but it’s absolutely essential. You’ll need to record every receipt and invoice, as well as every mile that you travel for business. It may feel daunting but keeping accurate records will speed you up when it comes to filing your accounts.

Some people choose to handwrite their accounting records or use a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel. Others prefer to use small business accounting software such as QuickBooks or Wave, which can link to your bank account and automatically create expense records and invoices.

However you choose to keep your records, accurately tracking your income and expenses will help your business to stay on track, as well as making it easy to file your taxes.  

Save for taxes

Accounting

Your first tax bill could come as a shock if you haven’t been saving for it. For this reason, it’s a good idea to put money aside each month in preparation for your taxes.

If you’re a Sole Proprietor, it’s good practice to put 30% of your monthly earnings aside for taxes, although this could be slightly higher or lower depending on your state. It’s a good idea to also keep 20% of your earnings in your business account to pay for the costs of running your business. This could include insurance, marketing, office supplies, and training.

By putting money aside each month, you can rest assured that there won’t be any surprises when the time comes to pay your taxes, and you won’t be faced with an unexpected bill. If you're not sure how much money you need to be putting aside, you can hire a tax accountant to take care of everything for you.

Should you hire an Accountant for your small business?

The choice of whether to hire an accountant for your small business can be difficult. You need to balance out whether the cost of hiring an accountant justifies the benefits.

Many small businesses find that hiring an accountant is well worth the cost as they will ensure that your taxes are filed correctly and that your business is benefitting from any allowances that it is entitled to. This can help you to save money in the long term.

Hiring small business accounting services will also mean that you can use your valuable time to focus on what’s really important for your business, such as marketing, sales, and customer service. By leaving your accounts to an expert, you can rest assured that they’re in safe hands.

FAQ: How much does an accountant cost?

If you're wondering how much an accountant costs, read our handy price guide to find out how much you'll pay for accounting services on average.

In summary

Accounting can be one of the most daunting tasks for small businesses. It can be tempting to put off your accounts in favor of more exciting tasks, but the longer you put it off, the more it will mount up. Hiring an accountant can save you valuable time, as well as ensuring that your accounts are completed to the highest possible standard. 

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