Get an overview of the essential small business bookkeeping tasks that you need to be doing now to avoid a tax-time scramble.
You wear multiple hats to run a successful small business. You’re not only the CEO, but you’re also head of human resources, customer service representative, a salesman, a marketer, and a bookkeeper.
Juggling all of these roles can be exhausting, and bookkeeping is often pushed to the side, as many small business owners view keeping the books as the task least related to the core of their business. Bookkeeping is, however, one of the most important jobs that must be done well in order for a small business to thrive.
Keeping accurate books ensures that you get paid on time. Also that you’re filing all of the necessary paperwork at the correct time. If you don’t stay compliant with local, state, and federal taxes and regulations, you and your business could be fined and penalized.
Stay on top of your small business bookkeeping by putting these simple checklists in place to remind you what you should be doing every week, month and quarter.
In order to make sure you are on the right track, here are the most common bookkeeping mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Weekly Small Business Bookkeeping
- Record Client Payments
This task could be done on a monthly basis. However, it saves you time and headaches if you do it on a weekly basis. If your accounting software is not connected to your bank, go over your bank statement and record every payment. Doing so will allow you to see which clients are late paying you. That’s money that should be in your bank account!
- Pay Your Vendors
Review your accounts payable and make sure you have enough funds to pay all your vendors. It’s smart to use accounting software to keep copies of vendor invoices, regardless of how you actually make payments to your vendors. Paying your vendors on time and in full ensures that your supplies of the materials you sell or services you need are always available.
- Sort or File Receipts
It can be tempting to put all your receipts in a drawer or a box to deal with later, but come tax season, you’ll have a mountain of receipts to deal with. It’s better to organize them while your memory is fresh and you remember the details about the events. If you run a paperless office, use your accounting software to scan and file paper receipts. Doing this task weekly will ensure a far easier tax season.
Monthly Small Business Bookkeeping
Compensating your employees for their time is important. Make sure you have the correct tax tables, and you’ve added any potential bonuses and overtime pay. If you’re using accounting software like FINSYNC, the tax withholdings will be made automatically.
You’ll also need to pay federal payroll taxes, which you can choose to pay monthly or bi-weekly. Many payroll providers can automate these tax payments as well
- Send Invoices to Clients
This task is pretty straightforward. Gather up all of the information needed to invoice your clients, including timesheets, extra costs, etc. If you use FINSYNC’s Projects module, you’ll be able to simply generate the invoice from within the project and the appropriate costs will carry through.
Make sure you have the correct invoice information for all your clients, including the correct due dates and payment terms. One of the most important factors in managing your cash flow is understanding when you’ll get paid by your customers.
- Follow Up on Unpaid Invoices
Go over unpaid invoices and decide what to do. You may want to follow up with an e-mail or a phone call, or it may be time to send those invoices to a collections agency.
- Pay State Withholding Taxes
If you operate in a state with income tax, you need to pay these taxes monthly. The amount and procedure will vary from state to state, so talk to your accountant to figure out the details.
- Reconcile Bank and Credit Card Accounts
This is important for making sure your bookkeeping records match your actual bank balances. It’s also a form of internal control to catch any fraud or payment anomalies.
Quarterly Small Business Bookkeeping
- File a Form for Federal and State Income Tax
Your payroll provider can help you file your income tax forms. Most small businesses will have to file a Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return each quarter. This form reports income taxes, social security tax, or Medicare tax withheld from employee’s paychecks. For state tax filing, check with an accountant. Your payroll provider will calculate taxes automatically and automate your tax returns to streamline this process.
- Take Distributions
Depending on your business structure, you might want to take distributions or payout quarterly dividends.
- Evaluate Annual Profit and Loss Estimates
Once every three months is a good time to check in to see how your business is doing: how much money you’re making, how your net assets are doing, the difference between revenue and expenses, how well the profits are spent, etc. All of these factors will tell you if you need to make adjustments to improve sales and margins.
Yearly Small Business Bookkeeping
- Close Your Books for the Year
Make sure all financial information is documented, and save a copy of your year-end balance sheet, P&L statement, and cash flow statement.
- File Any Necessary Forms
Your payroll provider will ensure that you file any necessary forms, including a 1099-MISC form or a W-2 with the social security administration and the state. You also need to file either an IRS Form 1120 or an IRS Form 1120S for your business income taxes. Of course, you’ll need to file a personal income tax return as well.
With proper planning, bookkeeping doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task, and we hope this checklist helps along the way. To get organized with your bookkeeping, take advantage of FINSYNC’s all-in-one payment platform, which automates many of these time-consuming tasks so you can spend less time buried in spreadsheets and more time running your business.
Need some bookkeeping help? Get virtual bookkeeping assistance with a small business bookkeeper in FINSYNC’s Service Network.