How to Do Bookkeeping for a Small Business with Pictures

bookkeeping for small business

You have been recording journal entries to accounts as debits and credits. At the end of the period, you’ll “post” these entries to the accounts themselves in the general ledger and adjust the account balances accordingly. Most accounting software will automatically import your bank data so you don’t have to manually enter and organize each transaction. If you’re using spreadsheet software as your GL, you’ll need to enter each transaction by hand.

  • Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on bookkeeping for small businesses.
  • They provide basic accounting features and want to make it simple for business owners to manage the accounting themselves.
  • It places significant emphasis on ease of use and synchronicity —letting you link your bank accounts, track your expenses, and balance your books without any trouble.
  • Accounting uses bookkeeping information to interpret the data and create financial reports.

Along with invoicing, Sage Business Cloud Accounting allows you to create quotes and estimates, add credit notes to any customer account, and even post a batch of quick entries. If you’re ready to get started, there are a few things you’ll need to do. Banks, investors, and even your brother-in-law will want to see how your business has performed in the last year before they agree to lend you money. If you can’t provide this information, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain any outside funding. In the meantime, start building your store with a free 3-day trial of Shopify.

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In many instances, an accountant prepares the initial chart, and the bookkeeper references it while recording transactions. The information you get from your receipts should go into some kind of ledger (usually a digital option). Whether you take on your small-business bookkeeping yourself or end up outsourcing to an expert, understanding the basics will help you better manage your finances. You’ll save time chasing receipts, protect yourself from costly errors, and gain valuable insights into your business’s potential. Again, most accounting software tackles the bulk of this process for you automatically, including generating the financial reports we discuss below. Bookkeeping begins with setting up each necessary account so you can record transactions in the appropriate categories.

Apart from being able to automate a lot of manual bookkeeping processes, these platforms will also help manage profit and loss statements, send invoices, and set up payroll (just to name a few). Wave is a web-based accounting solution built for small businesses. With its bank reconciliation feature, you can link your bank accounts, PayPal accounts, and other data sources to see real-time business transactions.


If you want an all-in-one business management software, Holded might be for you. Its suite of features is extensive — at least partially covering invoicing, accounting, payroll, project management, and inventory. AccountEdge Pro provides double-entry accounting tools — from time billing and reporting to inventory — that are customizable and optimized for desktop users. The program is also available for a one-time fee, potentially saving you a lot of money down the line by avoiding subscription costs. Kashoo is a solution that offers powerful functionality at a reasonable price. Among the software’s features are automatic reconciliation, categorization using machine learning technology, and income and expense tracking.

bookkeeping for small business

Accounts receivable (AR) is pretty much the exact opposite of accounts payable. If you sell a product or service and you don’t collect payment immediately, then your small business has receivables which you track in this account. As your business grows, you might wish to hire either a full-time or part-time, in-house or outsourced bookkeeper to organize transactions, payroll, payments to vendors, and other tasks. Accrual-based accounting records those invoices and bills even if the funds haven’t been exchanged.

Need support?

If your business is willing to spend a little extra to outsource some of those responsibilities through your accounting software, you should consider leveraging Sunrise by Lendio. Keeping track of loans payable is crucial for managing the financial health of your business. By knowing what you owe and when payments are due, you can plan your cash flow and ensure that you have the funds available to make timely payments. A cash account is a central repository for all of your business transactions and is used to track all financial activity. It is a simple and straightforward way to record cash payments, withdrawals, and deposits. To avoid getting caught short, plan ahead and set aside money for any anticipated tax bills.

bookkeeping for small business

If you sell a product or service and don’t receive payment immediately, your small business has AR that you need to keep track of. Failure to track financial reports can lead to a lack of understanding about the financial health of your business. Accurate financial records are crucial for making informed decisions and can mean the difference between a profitable quarter and a loss. When it comes to accounting software, there are many options available, both paid and free. Take the time to research and compare the various options to find the best fit for your business. Utilizing cloud-based services for bookkeeping has several advantages.


Sage started as a single accounting program and, while the company has grown immensely since it started, they continue to provide an innovative accounting product. If you’re interested in our payroll software, you can start a free 30-day trial when you sign up for Wave. After creating your account, everything is set Smart Accounting Practices for Independent Contractors up so you can get started. Your data is always available, and backed up for extra peace of mind. There are apps that integrate with it, you can log in on your phone, [and] the data is easily accessible to both the client and the accounting team. The cash basis method is usually the best choice for most businesses.

There are three basic documents that will help you answer critical questions about your business. These will help you determine where to commit funds in the future and how to create your business plan. They tell you the story of what is really going on in your business.

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