How To Avoid the 7 Deadly Bookkeeping Sins?
By Analytix Editorial Team
October 22, 2008
If you are a business owner from a non-accounting background, you need to be aware of the 7 deadly bookkeeping sins you need to avoid while handling your bookkeeping and accounting task:
- Do not try to do it all yourself or hire unqualified help:
Time equals money. If you try to do everything, you will obviously slip and forget important things. Especially with bookkeeping, if you are not qualified to handle this type of work, your struggling will be useless since it will not give you the results desired while preventing you from carrying more revenue generation activities. Similarly seeking unqualified help of spouse, family, friends, and neighbor can harm your business growth. It is much cheaper to get qualified online bookkeeping and accounting help if you do not have the budget to hire in-house bookkeeper or accountant.
- Do not let your filing system slide into chaotic disarray:
Be advised that crumpled receipts in a shoe box do not constitute a filing system. A proper filing system should be broken out by receivables, payables, bank statements and tax records. Depending upon your business needs, you might also want to keep a set of file folders by job. At year-end closing, the year’s non-permanent files should be bound together and archived in a safe location. Keeping multiple years’ worth of receipts together in one file drawer leads to wasted time filing and retrieving records. In addition annual archiving helps tremendously in the event of an audit or even a lawsuit.
- Do not use improper accounting structure:
One of the common problems non-accounting owners struggle with is finding the right expense category, cash flows, retained earnings, capital etc. Don’t let the technical terms bog you down. Seek help from an expert accountant or bookkeeper to set up the right kind of infrastructure for your business records which can be followed smoothly for a long time.
- Do not be afraid to use time saving accounting software:
Another issue to tackle is having the right accounting software in place. The move towards a paperless existence will be beneficial in saving time and resources in the long run. Educate on the popular accounting software available and select the right one for your business. You can also search for a professional accounting service provider who can set up the software for you and help you optimize and customize it to your requirements.
- Do not fail to have a proper back-up system in place:
Never ever forget to take back up of your accounting and bookkeeping systems. Systems do get attacked by virus, and sometimes crash. Have a disaster recovery plan in place to ensure you are equipped to deal with the worst case scenario.
- Do not forget to have separate personal and business accounts:
Have separate accounts and credit card for business and personal expense. Never merge them. It can create unnecessary confusions and problems while filing tax and during an audit.
- Do not forget to set up written bookkeeping policies and accounting procedures:
Last but not the least, take time to sit down and write rules and procedures for bookkeeping and accounting transactions which should then be systematically and consistently followed. Developing policies and procedures “on the fly” allows you to only correct problems after they have occurred, rather than anticipating potential issues in advance. Poor or incomplete procedures can result in real dollar losses to your company as well as exposing it to fraud risks. Remember, unwritten procedures are useless. To hold employees accountable and eliminate any confusion you must maintain written policies and procedures. Often small business owners are simply too busy to do this, so they let it slide without realizing there are accounting experts who can develop the policies and procedures for them.