Small Business Bookkeeping Tips: Make Different Kinds of Costs Work for You

by Christopher Spellman on July 26, 2011

Small business bookkeeping tips may sound boring, but without them, you really can’t make good business decisions. Join us on the bookkeeping bandwagon as we explore this topic this week! We’ve got plenty of great tips, beginning with our own tips in the series, “Small Business Bookkeeping – Getting Started.

We’ve been posting lots of wonderful bookkeeping tips from bookkeeping professionals and veteran small business owners everywhere.  Today we’ve got some timely tips from Susan Lannis, owner of ORGANIZATION Plus!, which helps small business owners get organized to optimize productivity.

Here are Susan’s top small business bookkeeping tips:

  • BUDGET REALISTICALLY: Stop using a “theoretical” model based only on any possible limitations.  Instead, prepare a budget from a realistic perspective: “This is what I think will happen.”
  • USE HARD DATA TO INVESTIGATE: Often, your “gut feeling” will tell you if you’re on or off-track with your budget.  Using your most current data, you can investigate this feeling to see how far off you are and how to correct things.
  • LIMIT FIXED COSTS: Fixed costs are non-negotiable, fixed cost commitments: the “have-to-pays.”  Some classic examples are any leases, rent, insurance, and utilities. Start-ups should keep these kinds of expenses minimal and all businesses should plan carefully before adding this kind of commitment.
  • DON’T WORRY ABOUT VARIABLE COSTS: There are the expenses that go up and down in relation to your sales.  A sales commission is a pretty clear example of this. Since variable costs directly fluctuate with sales, budgeting variable expenses is not as crucial. If sales are down, so are your costs for commissions and vice-versa.
  • MAKE SURE DISCRETIONARY COSTS ARE PAYING OFF: These are those expenses that you create by choice: how much marketing you do, how much you pay yourself or your staff, or how much interest you pay (based on how quickly you decide to pay off a loan). If you don’t seem to be getting your money’s worth, look a close look at all your discretionary spending.  Make adjustments here first and be ruthless if necessary! If you’re just not getting a good Return on Investment (ROI), reduce or eliminate those unrewarding costs!


Thanks for these helpful tips, Susan!  If you’d like to contact Susan or her company, please see below:

Susan Lannis
(503) 659-3773

Check back tomorrow for some more great tips from the pros on small business bookkeeping!  In the meantime, read all about the topic in our recent series on small business bookkeeping!


And if you get stuck, don’t be afraid to hit the Panic Button.  It’s the only help desk for small businesses online.  No nonsense.  No kidding.

Don’t forget to watch our training videos.  Don’t know what a P&L is?  Don’t know how to prevent bankruptcy?  You can’t miss these videos, available to you 24/7.  Go to our Learn section to watch as often as you like.  Besides finding great small business bookkeeping tips, you’ll learn highly valuable tips you can’t afford NOT to watch!

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