10 Basic Bookkeeping Tips for Small Businesses

James Monroe, Business Management Expert and Author

Simplify your small business bookkeeping with these 10 tips.

How well do you manage your company’s books? Here are some basic tips that will make your bookkeeping easier.

1. Keep Personal and Business Finances Separate

This is pretty basic advice, but you might be surprised how often even seasoned business owners mess it up. Nothing catches an auditor’s attention like mixing business and personal finances. Even if you’re not audited, maintaining separate bank accounts makes reconciliation much more manageable.

2. File Expense Reports

One way to accomplish #1 is to reimburse yourself for company expenses that you have paid personally. You should track expenses like your auto mileage, hotel stays for business or magazine subscriptions related to your business on an expense report. Then have your company pay you back. This way you get the money back into your personal account and your business gets an expense to write off.

3. Reconcile Accounts Monthly

Reconcile your bank, credit card, and other financial statements promptly. Staying on top of your accounts allows you to catch errors quickly and makes reconciliation more manageable.

4. Don’t Miss Tax Deadlines

Friends forgive. Spouses forgive. The IRS doesn’t forgive. And they levy hefty penalties and interest. If you’re unsure about the IRS’s deadlines for 2023, you can find them here. Don’t forget to check with the tax authority in the state where your business is located for their tax deadlines.

5. Invoice Customers Immediately

The sooner they see an invoice, the sooner they’ll pay (usually). Prompt payment helps your cash flow.

6. Watch Your Receivables

Collections calls are always awkward, but waiting can get you into a cash flow crunch and limit your ability to invest in your business. And, if it’s possible, get all or part of the payment up front.

7. Track Cash Transactions Carefully

Most bookkeeping programs have easy ways to track cash. Doing so will make your accountant happy and give an auditor less to scrutinize.

8. Focus on Bank Transactions, Not on Receipts

Bank transactions are the backbone of your financial systems. So, while your receipts and bank transactions should match, the bank records rule.

9. Save Your Receipts

If you’re audited, receipts will provide much more information about your purchases than a bank transaction can. So keep that shoebox handy. And if it is getting full, check out this article to see how long you need to hang onto paper records. Or better yet…

10. Let Your Bookkeeper and Accounting Software Make Life Easier

Make sure you’re taking full advantage of your accounting system by using automation, mobile apps, and any other feature that can help scan receipts, categorize expenses, and generally make things easy. To learn about managing your books with software, a bookkeeper or both, read “Do You Need a Bookkeeper?

For more tips for running and growing your small business, visit Index by Pinger.

steve strauss portrait

James Monroe

Jim Monroe is an author, business leader, marketing and product strategist. He is passionate about helping young managers be successful by avoiding common mistakes. His latest book on management is “Don’t Be a Jerk Manager: The Down & Dirty Guide to Management.”

Streamline customer interactions with Index

The Index app was built specifically for small businesses, with tools to help you communicate faster and more easily with your customers. Try Index risk-free for 7 days.

Start your Free Trial