Accounting is not exactly a four letter word, but it’s been said that for many, root canal work is preferable to bank reconciliation. Working parents have too many demands on their time, meaning accounting is often squeezed onto the back burner. The resulting muddle at the end of the financial year is not only a massive headache, it’s the perfect recipe for tax reporting errors and an incorrect tax liability.
There has to be a better way. Maybe one of these tips will help:
Embrace The Cloud
If the government gets its way (and it usually does) you’ll need to get up to speed with cloud accounting anyway, so now’s the time to do it if you haven’t already. Using the cloud for accounting is incredibly fast and easy when you get it set up, and has several real advantages over keeping excel records or using other local network systems or software:
It’s real-time. Link your cloud accounting system with your business bank account and it will update automatically. No more manually entering every little transaction that passes through your bank, you can now log into the cloud and simply check everything is there. It’s much faster and makes bank reconciliation almost a pleasure.
Cloud billing. Set up diverse payment options for customers, set up pricing structures and invoice templates, improve up- and cross-selling capabilities, and see the big picture at a glance.
Financial planning. Many cloud accounting packages are far more than simple digital bookkeeping. They also provide profit and loss reports, annual forecasts, cash flow graphs, invoice timelines, and tax estimates. Seeing it all in one place simplifies the planning process.
Keep It Simple
Not all accounting is equal. The needs of small home business are a far cry from a firm with employees. Don’t burden yourself with accounting software that demands you fill in fields that don’t apply to your business model.
It’s easy to get bogged down with an involved accounting system that demands a level of complexity a small business or sole trader doesn’t need. If you have an accountant, ask his or her advice about how to make record keeping easier. Some accountants have preferred ways of working, and you can save time and money if your system matches theirs.
Stay Up To Date
Whether you need an hour a week or a couple of hours every month, set aside time to deal with accounts and bookkeeping, and stick to it like it’s cast in stone. The biggest time drain, the one that makes accounting such a chore for many, is allowing mundane, routine, tasks to pile up. An example is throwing receipts into a box and leaving them in a muddle until tax time. Do that and you’ll give yourself (or your accountant) a marathon organising job, and either way it’ll cost more in time, effort, and expense.
Hang Up A Few Hats
Small business owners are often guilty of trying to do it all. It might make fiscal sense to do it yourself rather than outsource, but wearing all the hats a business demands can end up weighing you down.
A common misconception is that accountants are too expensive, but a couple of hours of their time won’t cost that much and could be all you need to get you out from under the accounting burden. You don’t necessarily have to hire one full time, or pay a monthly retainer.
The bottom line when it comes to accounting for busy, working parents is to streamline, simplify, keep up to date, and get expert help. It doesn’t need to be a burden, but it does need attention on a regular basis.
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