By Claire Headley, Quickbooks Pro Advisor, Owner and Manager at Remote Bookkeeper LLC and CWCC Member
Have you considered using digital age technology to improve your approach to accurate and complete accounting records?
I recently asked several professionals in my field, from several walks of life: “What advice would you give a small business owner in regard to their financial and accounting system?”
One for one, the answer was the same: Establish an electronic filing system! In other words, everyone recommended that small business owners establish a digital paper trail.
This is a crucial step to accurate accounting records. It’s not only a matter of tax preparedness. When you organize your accounting data, you can make better business decisions because you have up-to-date information to guide you. You don’t have to waste time looking for paper records when relevant files are attached to business transactions.
Most of us got into business not because of a love of accounting and recordkeeping, but because of a passion and talent for our particular line of business. Most of us hate accounting because it’s a distraction from our “real jobs” (whatever that role might be) and we don’t like to confront things that (a) are scary since we feel inept or (b) bore us.
There is no such thing as a “perfect” accounting system. Your system needs to be one you can manage and keep current. Nothing is worse than coming to the end of a year only to realize you have a year’s worth of accounting to do. Accuracy and memory wane as time goes by, which makes you prone to make mistakes.
So do not underestimate the importance of establishing an accounting system that is user friendly to you and realistic to your business style.
Accurate accounting records are a vital piece of an efficient organization. They play an important role in your financial reports, which provide you with a birds-eye view of your business and its operations.
As a QuickBooks specialist, I often see the challenges that small business owners face when it comes to accounting records. We aren’t always sure of how to rapidly establish an accurate electronic filing system.
Much of it is simpler than you might imagine. Most vendors and customers already work with electronic files; PDFs, receipts, and other electronic documents are easy to come by.
Nowadays, you can integrate those digital files with your accounting records. Sometimes you can connect them via the accounting program; other times you may have to do it by hand. With one folder for your company, a sub folder for customers, vendors, and company documents, and then sub-sub folders for each vendor, client, etc., you’re most of the way there!
With a little bit of thought, you could lay out a system of folders into which you could organize those electronic files.
And all of a sudden, you could have access to a filing system you can review and keep track of, right on your desktop. Any audit of financial records would instantly be so much faster. Want to review your history with a particular customer? You have it all in one folder.
This isn’t a feature specific to QuickBooks. You have plenty of choices. Numerous systems, cloud-based and otherwise, can help you build something that works for your particular business.
Remember: Effective accounting makes for a successful business.