Of all the different odds and ends you handle on a daily basis for your business, bookkeeping may be the most tedious, least sexy task on your list. It’s boring. It’s time consuming. And unless you happen to be a professional accountant, it’s likely pretty confusing as well.
Sure, you can handle sending your own invoices and paying your own bills. But at what point does that take away from the work you could be doing to make your business bigger and better?
Hiring a bookkeeper, whether internally or from an outside agency, can not only free you up to focus on your business, but it also puts those important daily tasks into the capable hands of someone whose bread and butter is bookkeeping.
But before you invest in hiring an agency or individual to take care of your business finances, let’s make sure that you’re on track to build the best possible relationship with your bookkeeper, and in turn set your business up for for long-term success.
Here are three steps you can take to be your bookkeeper’s favorite client:
1. Make Bookkeeping a Priority
If you handle your bookkeeping as an afterthought, you are going to kick yourself when it’s time to file taxes, apply for a loan, or deal with being audited (knock wood). Not only that, but chances are very good you’re going to miss out on a tax deduction or money-saving tool if you don’t take the time to get your proverbial ducks in a row.
So while bookkeeping can involve a lot of front-end work, that effort will be worth it after a few months when your business finances are sailing along smoothly!
2. Keep Records Like a Champ
Right in line with making bookkeeping a priority, keeping organized and accurate records is the best way to become best friends with your bookkeeper.
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to organizing your records:
Choose a secure location for both digital and physical record storage, and make sure you have a backup system for all of your information. A cloud-based digital storage system is safest when it comes to safeguarding against losing information, but it can also be the least secure. Read up on the security level of your cloud-based system, and make sure you’re using a strong password to protect physical files.
Make your organization system clear. (And not just clear to you!) Your bookkeeper, assistant, accountant, or even an auditor should be able to approach your record-keeping system and understand where to find things fairly quickly and easily. If an important invoice or receipt is named CAZ-7724, in a folder called Miscellaneous, no one will ever find it again.
Keep a clear delineation between personal and business expenses. It’s easy to blur the two when you’re just starting out with a small business. But it’s not hard to set up two separate bank accounts, checkbooks, and credit cards, and doing so will be well worth it when it comes to doing your taxes, and assessing your business’s profits and losses.
Track due dates for all bills and invoices. You don’t want to miss payments on your own bills, and you don’t want clients to get behind in paying you, either! So keep a constantly updated record of deadlines for both payables and receivables.
Maintain a filing system for expense records. Ideally, you should keep receipts for all business expenses (even cash, even cab rides) for at least three years. Whether they live in an accordion folder or scanned digitally for easy access is up to you, but find a system and stick with it.
3. Embrace the Digital Age
When it comes to bookkeeping, technology is your friend.
If you’re handing over a stack of crumpled receipts and having your bookkeeper or accountant enter the amounts into a spreadsheet, you are wasting valuable time and money! Automate as much as possible in order to free up your bookkeeper’s time for more important things.
Luckily, there are tons of bookkeeping platforms out there that will track time toward different projects, send invoices and late payment reminders, collect payments online, track & categorize expenses, and even allow you to pull financial reports and the drop of a hat!
Your Bookkeeper Can Help!
If you know that your current bookkeeping system is out of sorts, the thought of implementing all the steps above may have you overwhelmed. But don’t panic! An experienced bookkeeper can help you to implement these processes, and provide you with accountability to stick with your new, more organized system.
It may take a few months to get things set up for success, but remember—you’re going to save time, money, and your own sanity in the long run!