Bookkeeping basics: Small business guide for 2023

A bookkeeper will normally prepare financial statements near the end of each year. If your business is young, you may want to check salary secrets your company’s financial performance more often. We recommend doing financial health inspections monthly and then quarterly.

However, it helps to have a two- or four-year degree in accounting, finance or related discipline. While single-entry bookkeeping is simpler, double-entry is more thorough and less likely to produce errors. If you’re unfamiliar with local and federal tax codes, doing your own bookkeeping may prove challenging.

  • If you’re ready to take bookkeeping off your plate and delegate this task to someone else, it can be hard to know where to look.
  • Only an accountant licensed to do so can prepare certified financial statements for lenders, buyers and investors.
  • If they do it right away, they are less likely to forget or to misplace related documents.
  • Bookkeepers collect and translate data into financial reports so companies can make strategic financial decisions in the short and long term.
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  • They should immediately inform management or business owners when there’s something wrong with the company’s financial health.

Familiarizing yourself with what a bookkeeper does and what accounting clerks do can help you narrow down your financial needs. How your business operates is unique, so your bookkeeping should follow suit. Great bookkeeping is a financial tool you can use to make business management easier and reach your goals as a small business owner.

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If you’re new to business, you may be wondering about the importance of bookkeeping. Whether you outsource the work to a professional bookkeeper or do it yourself, you’ll be able to reap a variety of benefits. Factors impacting the annual earnings of bookkeepers and related professionals include employer, location, qualifications, experience, and services you offer as a bookkeeper. The average annual salary of bookkeeping professionals in the US is $45,560 a year [7]. Cloud-based computing, artificial intelligence, and automation are changing the accounting landscape, but this doesn’t mean an end to the bookkeeping profession.

  • You can learn bookkeeping for free and at a low cost through online courses.
  • The purpose of recording a transaction twice is to ensure accuracy and reconciliation at the end of a designated period.
  • This way, the only real focus is actually doing payments and payroll on time.
  • Included in this process is keeping a record of each financial movement that happens in the business’s inventory.
  • The first step you’ll need is a business bank account, which allows you to keep your personal and business expenses separate.

A bookkeeper (also known as a bookkeeping clerk) is a professional who helps businesses and other organizations keep their finances in order. They manage general accounting ledgers, record journal entries (transactions), and generate financial statements. The advent of accounting software significantly lessened the tediousness of bookkeeping by handling debits and credits for you in the background. And technologies like optical character recognition (OCR) and bank feeds have come just short of fully automating the traditional bookkeeping process. Data entry can now happen as soon as you snap a photo of a receipt with your smartphone. And reconciliations happen almost in real time through daily bank feed maintenance, making the end-of-month closing process a snap.

From offline to Online bookkeeping services, you have to prepare a complete bookkeeper’s to-do list to keep your business on the right track. Bookkeeping is the ongoing recording and organization of the daily financial transactions of a business and is part of a business’s overall accounting processes. The double-entry system of bookkeeping is common in accounting software programs like QuickBooks. With this method, bookkeepers record transactions under expense or income. Then they create a second entry to classify the transaction on the appropriate account.

What Is Bookkeeping? Everything You Need To Know

On top of that, you need the data used in bookkeeping to file your taxes accurately. This content is for information purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting, or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation.

Though bookkeepers do not typically analyze financials or offer financial advice, they make it possible for accounting professionals to access key financial records easily. Much of the financial data a bookkeeper manages is used for setting budgets and planning for financial decisions like investments. Software systems can now do a lot of organizing for bookkeepers but it is still a key task for bookkeepers. Bookkeeping is broadly defined as the recording of financial transactions for a business. It’s a key component of the accounting process and can be done as frequently as daily, weekly or monthly.

key benefits of bookkeeping

At the end of the accounting period, take the time to make adjustments to your entries. For example, you may have estimated certain invoices that are later solidified with an actual number. Whether you do the bookkeeping yourself or hire someone to do it, certain elements are fundamental to properly maintaining the books. Some of these elements are done more regularly than others to ensure that the books are always up to date.

Payroll Processing

Bookkeepers record and classify financial transactions, such as sales and expenses. They maintain accurate records of daily financial activities and manage accounts payable and accounts receivable. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers offers certification for experienced bookkeepers.


Consider using one of the best bookkeeping services to make managing your books a breeze. As you dive deeper into the bookkeeping process, it may be tempting to blur the lines between your personal and business finances, but it’s not the best idea. By avoiding this, you’ll reduce the risk of triggering an IRS audit and will allow an accurate picture of your business finances.

Best Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses

Double-entry bookkeeping is the practice of recording transactions in at least two accounts, as a debit or credit. When following this method of bookkeeping, the amounts of debits recorded must match the amounts of credits recorded. This more advanced process is ideal for enterprises with accrued expenses.

Online job boards can be helpful when researching in-demand skills for bookkeepers and common qualifications. Build your resume and tailor it to the position you’re applying for. Lead with your qualifications and skills, followed by professional experience.

Likewise, bookkeepers also help businesses keep track of their accounts receivable. Let’s say your HVAC company serviced a customer’s air conditioning system recently. Your bookkeeper may help you generate the invoice, collect a payment, enter the transaction into the general ledger, and document the paid invoice. Bookkeepers manage a company’s financial accounts, ensuring they are accurate and easy to review.

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