Four Bookkeeping Tips for Small Businesses

by Dawn Fotopulos on January 26, 2014

startingyourownbusinessIt’s been quite some time since I’ve posted. I’ve missed my readers!

As of late August, I’ve been under contract to write “….A Survival Guide for Small Business Owners” due out September 2014.

AMACON Books, the publishing arm of the American Management Association is my wonderful publisher. Please mark your calendars in early September for the only book that will help small business owners survive in any economy.

This is the first book AMACON is publishing for small business owners. The book is all about reading your financial statements.

But great financials start with great data.

Here are four bookkeeping tips  to help you keep good records for your small business

If you know what’s happening to the cash flow in your company, you can make decisions that will improve profits and cash flow long term.

Here are three easy small business bookkeeping tips that will save your sanity and help you get started.

Small Business Tip #1: Separate business from personal expenses.

Even if your business is not incorporated, open a separate checking account just for business transaction. Run all business deposits and withdrawals through that one checking account.
You can make deposits from your personal account to the business checking account, but business expenses must be captured in one place only.

Keep a separate credit card account just for the business. Business credit card transactions should also be segregated from personal credit card transactions.

If ever you are audited by the IRS, it will be a much less stressful experience if your business and personal transactions are not intermingled.

Tip #2: Sign up for online banking.

You wouldn’t believe how few small business owners have done this. It will save so much time and hassle. You can link your accounts and pay your bills directly once the online account is set up. It will also provide an automatic journal of transactions making it easier for your bookkeeper to do month-end reconciliation.

Tip #3: Save all your bank statements with cancelled checks. 

These days, banks are trying to save money (who isn’t?), so some banks have started to charge extra to include images of cancelled checks in with monthly paper statements.  If you opt for online statements, the images of cancelled checks should be included. Ask your bank.

The IRS considers cancelled checks as the only proof a bill has been paid. You need to have these images of cancelled checks and to save these statements for seven years.  Save these electronic statements to a backup drive just in case technology fails at the wrong moment (which is always). As much as I don’t like paper, I also print out bank statements and organize them in a fire proof file cabinet by date just in case. This system has never failed me.

For the next several weeks, I’ll be focused on making sure your weekly process of capturing transactions is organized. Record keeping is so crucial.

If the data you enter into your accounting system is not accurate, your financial statements will be no help to you.  And your financial statements hold the key to the future of your small business.

So let’s start the New Year off on the right foot.

  1. Open up a separate business account.
  2. Open up a separate business credit card.
  3. Sign up for online banking.
  4. Keep your monthly bank statements with cancelled checks accessible.

In your corner, as always.

Dawn Fotopulos



The ultimate small business crash course

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonnie January 28, 2014 at 1:31 am

Every weekend i used to visit this site, as i wish for enjoyment, as this this web page conations really good funny material

Kelly Boros March 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Not only does keeping personal and business accounts separate come in handy should you ever get audited, not having separate accounts may make you miss out on some helpful deductions come tax time. A lot of business expenses can be deducted - items ranging from equipment purchases to gas and mileage. If you are paying for these out of your personal accounts, you’re missing out on the opportunity to deduct these when you file which is basically leaving money on the table.

Dawn Fotopulos March 12, 2014 at 11:08 pm

This is a brilliant response. Any time you’d like to publish additional thoughts on the topic, please feel free to submit posts to us. Thank you very much. Incredibly helpful.

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