When you’re hiring an accountant or bookkeeper, it’s important to have a good handle on your numbers already. You’ll need to provide a list of recurring expenses and access to bank accounts, along with some other information. The bookkeeper you hire should guide you through this process like we do at Number Nerd.
But even if you’re not ready to hire an accountant now, there’s a lot you can and should do to prepare for when you are. Because the more you grow, the more complicated your bookkeeping will be–and eventually you will want to have a pro on your side to help.
These are my non-negotiables for every business owner. If you’re doing these things, and doing them well, from Day One, the transition from DIYing your bookkeeping to working with a pro will be seamless.When you take care of your books NOW, transitioning to an accountant or bookkeeper is seamless. Click To Tweet
List of monthly expenses
If you have a budget with a clear list of your monthly expenses, you’re doing pretty well. But when you have that same list outlined and categorized, you’re doing even better. Knowing how much you’re spending each month in different categories (like bank charges, dues + subscriptions, insurance, continuing education, marketing, merchant processing fees, software, utilities, etc.) is key to finding leaks in your accounts. You’ll then want to review your numbers monthly and compare to the prior month (and ideally your budget) and ensure that you aren’t spending more than you anticipated and on track. It all depends on what kind of business you have, of course, but it’s something to audit quarterly.
Folder for receipts
You’re saving receipts, right? In the event you get audited, you need to have receipts to back up any business expenses and write-offs. But throwing all your year’s receipts in a folder or shoebox isn’t the best way to go, especially if you have a lot of expenses.Saving your receipts in a shoebox isn’t going to help you keep your books organized. Stop. Now. Click To Tweet
I recommend using Evernote, Google Drive or that manilla folder to organize your receipts on a monthly basis. Each month should have its own space, and if you’re using hard copies of documents, clip them together by month. You can also group receipts by category or vendor if you have recurring expenses from similar vendors. When storing them electronically, be sure to have a standardized file naming convention. You also want to write on the expenses what they were for before you scan and save them. For example:
XyzCoffeeShop_Meeting w/123 re xxx_Date.pdf
Have sales process documented
Every business has a step-by-step process they go through when acquiring a new client or repeat sale. Even if it’s not explicitly documented. The key is to get that process documented. How do you bring clients on? When do they pay your deposit? The rest of your fees? How will you deliver the product or service? Or do they pay at time of purchase?
Having your process documented allows you to better track costs and revenue on every sale so you can start to tighten up the process and your profits.
The more organized and efficient you are, the better. You’ll save time getting the accountant or bookkeeper up-to-speed. And even if you’re not ready to hire someone to help you keep your numbers in check, you’ll have a much better picture of your books if you keep tabs on everything now. Not only that, but you’ll be much less stressed come tax time.
Need to get your books organized? Download my 2018 Biz & Books Planning checklist to get started. And feel free to scour the blog archives as well for other helpful posts that will help you get a great handle on your bookkeeping.