Thursday, December 4, 2008

6 Bookkeeping Tips For Starting Your Own Business

Starting your own business can be a very rewarding experience. You will enjoy freedom and flexibility you never imagined. You will also work harder than you ever have before but it feels completely different when you are working for yourself. Here are some tips to help you get off on the right foot with your record keeping.

1. Keep Receipts For All Transactions From The First Day Onword. If you pay for everything with a check, debit card, or credit card this may not seem necessary. As a tax accountant I can assure you that it is. The IRS will disallow deductions if you do not have receipts to accompany your bank and credit card records.

2. Avoid Cash. I can tell you the easiest way to get into hot water with the IRS is to pay for things with cash and then not have a receipt. For many of us we are in a habit of using cash from the time we were kids. For your own business though, you need to avoid cash.

3. Deposit All Your Income. It is very tempting to withhold cash from your business receipts but I advise you do not. Instead be aggressive with your expenses. If you are in an industry where cash deals are common the IRS will look for evidence of cash deposits in your checking account. If they are absent you will have a lot of questions to answer.

4. Use QuickBooks. Inuit owns 80% of the small business accounting software market and for good reason. Their software is easy to learn and easy to use. Within a few hours after installing you can be producing your own professional financial statements. It is the software I use for my own accounting/tax business and also what I use to produce client Financial Statements and Payroll Reports.

5. Report Employee Earnings Timely. There are several services on the market that will be glad to do your Payroll Reports and process your employee checks. Shop around and get the best deal. This market has become more competitive which means there are some good deals out there for you. For example, if you are in a high risk industry you can get a reduced WCF rate with a company like ADP. With the amount you save in disability insurance for your employees your Payroll Tax preparation expense is essentially free.

6. Use A Business Credit Card. Using a business credit card has many benefits. You can usually find one with no annual fee, 0% introductory interest rate and even cash rewards. But for the purpose of this article one of the primary benefits is for your record keeping. At the end of the year you will receive a summary of all your expenses by category. Give this to your accountant along with your other records at tax time. This will make your accountant 's job easier which should lower his/her fees.

There are many other items to consider when starting your own business and I recommend you speak to an accountant as soon as possible. If you already have someone preparing your tax returns then you can start with them. Make sure they are familiar with hiring your spouse and children, medical reimbursement plans, business plans and entity structuring. Do not stay with an accountant who is not familiar with these because you cannot afford to.


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