As a bootstrapped startup or New York small business owner, there virtually no shortage of tasks and details to consider on a daily basis. One of the pleasures of owning a business is a constant flood of satisfying milestones coupled with expanding to-do lists. From picking the right entity, to figuring out a marketing strategy to setting up a solid small business accounting foundation in order – tracking receipts, bank statements, expenses, revenue, budgets, invoices and costs – will help steer company in the right direction to continue growing and possibly avoid any cash flow and bookkeeping errors.
For the first year or so you can get away with doing your own accounting, as any entrepreneur knows business ownership is a full-time occupation, without adding in the financial and accounting management responsibilities into the mix of things you need to get done. So how do NYC small business owners find the time to balance business development and staying on top of the daily accounting tasks? You can hire an in-house bookkeeper to help tackle some of these tasks, or automate your small business accounting practices with (DIY) learning and using of the many bookkeeping software systems on the market, such as Xero, QuickBooks, Bookkeeping Chef, FreshBooks or Wave. even if you choose to outsource your accounting to remote bookkeeping firm, you still will not be completely relieved from all aspects of your business accounting.
So to keep your business on the right sales and revenue course here are six accounting tasks that you or someone on your behalf should be doing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Daily Accounting Duties
1. Make sure you refresh the bank feeds in your bookkeeping system.
Most small accounting systems sync and reconcile your credit and banking accounts automatically, but these bank feeds which connect your online banking information to your accounting system should be reviewed on a daily basis. Why should this be done every day? Because you much more likely to understand what and why you made a transaction yesterday then waiting until next week. If you want to be on top of your spending for your business, then it’s easier to catch a mistake or remember why made a purchase at an electronic supply store on Monday when it’s now Thursday. So make the habit of reviewing the bank feeds on a daily basis.
2. Review Your Business Bank Account
So may be wondering if I already checked my bank feeds in my bookkeeping software, why do I need to login to my online business account to review pending transactions and balance?
So only settled transaction will show up in the accounting bank feed. And most banks settle at close of each business day, so that means that any transactions that occurred overnight won’t appear in your accounting system until the following day ( it may take several days for it to settle) So your online banking, will reflect more accurately all the pending transactions and the effect those will have on your account’s balance.
Now even you are sure you have positive cash flow in your business checking account, and don’t the fear of overdrawing or going negative (incurring some fun overdraft fees) it’s recommended you check your pending transactions anyway. Because the sooner you find or detect any bank errors or god forbid fraudulent transactions, the easier it is to correct them.
3. Backing up your hard drive.
This is not only a bookkeeping duty, but it is super important. You will never know much irreplaceable, costly to replicate information is on your computer until you ever experience a hard drive crash or failure. The recommended solution is using one of those affordable, cloud- based, automated back system so that this daily task is done without having to put much thought into it.
Weekly Accounting Duties
4. Review your employee timesheets
So even if your payroll is done on a biweekly or semimonthly schedule, you should review your employees’ timesheets every week. In a perfect scenario, you will want to check these 2 days before the end of the work week. This a way of catching any surprise overtime liabilities. Obviously, once an employee works over 40 hours, even if it is not authorized, you may be on the hook to fork over the overtime pay, so we recommend being proactive to protect your revenue.
5. Analyze your month-to-date P&L to your budget.
Even if you are very cautious about your business spending, it’s fairly easy to run over your budget if track it regularly. If you have given any employees a company credit card in their name and the authorization to use it at their own discretion when making purchases, expenses could get out of control really quickly. So by comparing your monthly profit and loss reports, with your business budget on a weekly basis will help you to make wiser spending decisions and avoid the horrible shock of a lower bottom line at month’s end.
6. Scan all receipts and documents
Even if you have not moved your small business to paperless digital record keeping, the next step is at least scanning your receipts and documents and uploading them into a cloud-based document management storage system , to protect your important records from degradation due to heat and time. In the event of an IRS audit, you or your CPA will be able to provide any requested backup documentation easily without the fear of the document not being readable.
Once scanned, you can shred the paper, thereby saving valuable office space. If you are not ready or comfortable with ditching the hard copies. Save time by not filing the paperwork into separate folders by the vendor. A better way is to file the entire scanned batch into 1 folder or envelope, marked with the scan date and date range of the receipts and documents included in the folder.
Another thing to keep in mind, while you could the small business owner do this tedious scanning task yourself, it’s better to delegate this to an intern, or a high school student and by paying them to do the scanning lets them earn some money and you get a qualified business expense. A business’s financial state is affected by many elements that initially seem to have nothing to do with just money. Poor time management, stress, and subsequent missing document errors can be costly items that hurt businesses and undermine other efforts made to strengthen their financial standing.
Monthly Accounting Duties
7. Review your bank and credit card statements and reconciliation reports.
This is an important task accounting task that may be initially done by your CPA or outsourced bookkeeping firm, but if you and your accountant both have access to cloud bookkeeping system, then it is advised for you to check to make sure the reconciliations are being done correctly and in a timely manner.
Keep an eye open for postings to a “Reconciliation Discrepancy” account. Most small business bookkeeping software offers this option as a way to manually force an account to reconcile. If the difference is less than 50 cents, posting this to the account is not a giant red flag. If in the case you notice that there are any unknown large balances posted to your account, you should ask your CPA or bookkeeper why they made the adjustment.
A final note, another important reason to review your statements and reconciliation reports is to double check on any possible fraud. In a perfect small business world, your company should segregate duties such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, taking deposits to the bank, and reconciling the business accounts, but in reality, this is not always possible. So if you are using an inhouse bookkeeper, that is performing the bank reconciliations and these other bookkeeping tasks could make your SMB more susceptible to employee dishonesty. Reviewing your statements and reconciliation reports may help you to catch any issues ( and you team knowing you do these double checking reviews may prevent anything bad from happening in the first place).
8. Go over your financial statements with your CPA or bookkeeping firm
We get it that reading through financial statements is not always on a business owner’s top daily priorities list. But once a month allotting 30 minutes to a screen sharing video call with your accountant to go over your financial statements will help to target and identify any red flags or potential financial problems in your company before they become to hard to correct. And you have chosen to outsource your bookkeeping, this is perfect chance for you ask each other questions about your business and finances.
Now as a startup, having a keen grasp on your financial statements is crucial to growing a profitable business, but unfortunately most small business owners really understand what their financials are telling them. So it is for this very reason, that reviewing your accounts and statements with your CPA or bookkeeper is actually one of the most important accounting tasks you can do for your small business. Check out our guide on how small businesses can automate processes that would have once monopolized the time and talents of team members.