One job that will always exist for as long as business exists is accounting. There are many types of accounting jobs in the corporate world, from forensics accountants to tax accounts, but if you’re a business owner, you have to know a little bit about a lot of things, with accounting being at the top of that list. Having a remote business makes some things a lot easier, and some things a bit more difficult, and here are 5 things to keep an eye on when working on accounting for your remote business.
No matter your business, timeslots in your schedule to complete some accounting work should be, at least, weekly. Some people recommend closing the books as often as every week, but the absolute minimum is every quarter. To avoid a few days’ work at a time at the end of a quarter, monthly is a good way to go.
It’s also recommended that accounting issues are dealt with early in the day, as the work itself is different from your daily grind, and with numbers aplenty, a fresh, focused mind helps avoid errors… This also serves as a way to make sure it gets done, as accounting is, ultimately, something that “can wait until tomorrow,” even though it saves a lot of headaches when a schedule is stuck to.
Every time your small business makes a purchase of any sort, record it immediately, or things will be forgotten. Your records should have at least five different types of transactions, and organizing them in the same area (Excel spreadsheet, for instance). Your minimum account types should be: assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses, and equity. Be sure to note the exact amount, and whether or not the transaction was made by credit, debit, or cash.
There are some streamlined ways of accomplishing this in the “technology” section below.
A great business owner knows what she or he is good at, and what she or he is not so good at, and unless you come from an accounting background, there’s a good chance it’s an area of your business that you’re not an expert at. Luckily, resources are aplenty for business owners with accounting needs. There are many weekly blogs that update readers on new trends in accounting, and a few worth checking out are the QuickBooks Small Business Blog, The Sleeter Report, and Freshbooks Blog.
Other online resources worth bookmarking are the SEC’s webpage, AICPA, and AccountingCoach.com, all of which contain quick reference information, as well as deep explanations regarding a number of accounting issues.
It used to be very hard for a small business owner to keep her or his own books, but, as in so many other avenues of business, technology stepped in and made it an achievable venture. If you already have your business up and running, you probably have some sort of accounting software, like QuickBooks, but just like the laws regarding accounting, the technology changes very often, too. Some programs geared for cloud-based businesses are Zoho books, which has a lot of tools and a low price tag, and Wave, which is geared toward freelancers, but can offer a lot of tips for the small, web-based businesses, as well.
If the internet isn’t offering quite enough information, there are plenty of professionals to call on for guidance. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a pretty decent reputation for answering questions of small business owners, and even the IRS has a directory of business forms online that they can talk you through over the phone. Non-government organizations aimed to help the small business are aplenty, and some of the best ones to reach out to are SCORE Counselors to America’s Small Business; The National Business Incubator Association; and Fledge.
Also, don’t be afraid to invest a bit and attend conferences or pay for someone’s time, as there are many accounting jobs that put people in high income tax brackets, and they get paid well for a reason. They are the pros and will save you money.
No matter how you decide to do your accounting for your business, and no matter what software you choose to use, staying ahead is the most important part in making accounting a small part of your business rather than a giant headache at the end of the year that will take over all of your time, or leave you owing a lot of questions and money to the government.