PDF How To Do A Years Worth of Bookkeeping in One Day: A Step-by-Step Guide for Small Businesses

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When your books are in good order, you can make sense of your overall income and look for places where you might be overspending. With this type of information at your disposal, you can focus your business activities toward your most profitable products and services, or cut back on unnecessary spending to save yourself some money. Good bookkeeping leaves you better equipped to make decisions that help your business grow and thrive. Keeping detailed financial records is also helpful for securing investors. It reflects well on you as a business owner when you know exactly where all your money is going.

Good bookkeeping is also an essential way to understand your own business. Say you run a restaurant and you introduced a new menu item six months ago.

Accounting Errors Small Business Owners Make

Have your profits risen in the past two quarters? In this way, business bookkeeping makes these types of business decisions less of a gamble. Finally, keeping proper records is essential for filing taxes. Hiring an experienced accountant to do your bookkeeping for you can be helpful, especially in your first couple years of business when your focus might be diverted to other areas of your company. Talking to a professional is a great way to gain an understanding of bookkeeping essentials. Financial reporting makes up a large chunk of what bookkeepers do on a day-to-day basis.

A detailed financial report usually includes the following three elements:. So what are these elements? A balance sheet describes the overall value of your company, taking three main factors into account:.

An income sheet shows your gross profits and subtracts all the money you spent, to give you a total net income over a given time period. This total might be in the negative, if you spent more than you made. An income sheet needs to be detailed; it should include every single dollar and cent that you made or spent over your chosen time period. The costs you list on an income sheet might include business expenses, maintenance and rental fees, and employee salaries.

Your income can comprise all your sales, as well as any money you made from foreign exchange or business-related investments. A cash flow sheet is very similar to an income sheet. The difference is that a cash flow sheet only shows cash transactions — basically, all of your business expenses and sales. In combination, a balance sheet, income sheet, and cash flow sheet provide an accurate picture of not only how much money your business is making and spending, but exactly where that money is coming from and going.

However, there are plenty of reasons to make quarterly, or monthly financial statements as well.

Bookkeeping Basics for Small Business Owners

Frequent financial reports are a great way to check on your budget, and figure out where you can make adjustments if necessary. But what about the process? How do you consolidate all that financial information into a useful document? There are two main methods of bookkeeping: manual and automatic. In this method, you might use a pen-and-paper ledger, or an offline program like Microsoft Excel or Word to record income, expenses, interest, and any of the other cash flow items that appear in a financial report.

The manual method can work if you prefer a hands-on approach, but it can also be time consuming, and it leaves more room for human error. Automatic or online bookkeeping, on the other hand, uses software that takes care of most of the calculations and data entry for you. A program like Quickbooks cloud accounting software, for example, can help you track income and expenses much faster than you could with a traditional ledger. With all your software linked through the cloud, payments that you make and receive can be automatically recorded to a digital ledger.

Quickbooks cloud accounting software also has options for payroll, expense tracking, and inventory.

Why Your Business Needs Bookkeeping

Single-entry bookkeeping is simpler — you only have to record each transaction once. For example, if you work full time but have a side business selling handmade jewelry, single-entry bookkeeping is probably enough to record your profits and expenses from that side business, so you can claim the amounts on your taxes. The double entry method leaves less room for error, making it the better choice for balancing complex books.

With the help of cloud accounting software for small-business bookkeeping, you can pretty much automate the process. Both the single-entry and double-entry methods can work in tandem with cash or accrual bookkeeping. To understand the difference between these two methods, take this example. Say you ordered some new machine parts from a manufacturer. You ordered the parts in January, and the manufacturer sent you an invoice that same month.

In the cash method of accounting, you record the transaction only when the money has actually changed hands. In the accrual method, on the other hand, you would record the expense in January, on the date that you received the invoice — regardless of when you ended up paying for the parts. So which of these methods should you use in your bookkeeping to get the best, most accurate picture of your spending habits? That may depend on the size and complexity of your business. The cash method of bookkeeping is undeniably easier. By recording cash transactions when the money actually changes hands, you can simply cross-reference your bank statements with your bookkeeping records to ensure accuracy.

That said, the cash method also has the potential to be slightly misleading — if you were late on a bill payment one month, for example, your records might end up showing a large sum paid for utilities one month, and nothing at all another month, leading to confusion. Recording just the cost of those supplies with the cash method might give you an inaccurate picture of how much you are — or should be — spending on supplies.

Your business taxes are filed with your personal taxes. One disadvantage is: If you're doing really well, your business income may push you into a higher tax bracket. Partnerships are treated like sole proprietorships, with each partner claiming the percentage of profits equal to their share of the partnership. If you have employees, you must file your T4 and T4A information returns by the last business day in February. Your employees must also receive their copies by this date.

If you are a sole proprietor or you are incorporated with a December year end then you pay your business taxes through quarterly installments they are due on March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15 or the next business day immediately following. Most partnerships with individuals as partners must file a partnership information return by the last business day in March.

However, if you pass a certain revenue threshold or if the partners are corporations, you may need to file a T Partnership Return , which may also have a different deadline. As a sole proprietor or member of a small business partnership, your business taxes are due at the same time.

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However, your amount owing is still due April Any balance owing is due. This is also the deadline if your business expenses were mostly the result of capital cost or tax shelter investments. Your social insurance number SIN. Records for any expenses deducted from your share of your partnership income. The names and partnership percentages of your other partners. Any amounts your business has paid in installments. Any communications from the CRA.

Internet business activities The top five 5 websites that drive revenue for your business, as well as the total percentage of revenue they generate. Name — This is the full name of the person to whom the tax return belongs. Social insurance number SIN — Again, this is for the individual. Business name — The full business name as it appears on your business registration forms.

Business address — The same address you used when you registered your business. Self-employed individuals must use a December 31 year-end.

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Choose the code that most closely describes your business. Partnership business number and partnership percentage — If your business is a partnership, you will get a partnership business number when you register your business. This document will also contain the percentages of ownership.

Wave Review (Formerly Wave Accounting)

Name and address of preparer — This is either you or, hopefully, your professional tax advisor. You only need to provide the top five 5 pages that earn the highest income The percentage of gross income earned can be an estimate.

Business accounting: 21 steps to tackling this like a boss

It where you can deduct allowable reserves, contingent accounts or a sinking fund. The value of prizes or vacation trips awarded to you due to your business or professional activities. Grants, subsidies, incentives or other forms of government assistance. Some of the things to keep in mind are: Opening inventory — Includes raw materials, goods in process and finished goods. Whether you choose to value your inventory at the fair market value or at cost, you must use your preferred method consistently.

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Be sure to subtract any discounts you received on these goods and services.