Most small business owners are an expert in their field, but not necessarily in the accounting aspects of building a business. And, with this comes a few common mistakes. Yet, even simple small business accounting mistakes can prove to be financially limiting and costly down the road. With the help of an accounting professional, it is possible to overcome at least some of these mistakes. Take a look at some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.
#1: Choosing the Right Accounting Software for My Business
You’ve purchased small business accounting software. You assume it will be ideally matched to your business and easy enough to jump into. It’s not. The problem is, each business requires a carefully selected and even customized accounting method. There are always risks related to regulatory compliance when the wrong accounting software is used or information is overlooked.
To resolve this, work with a professional that listens to your needs, learns about your business, and modifies your bookkeeping methods to meet your goals.
#2: Your Business Has Poor Organization and Recordkeeping
It’s quite common for small business owners to lack the time and skills to effectively manage small business recordkeeping and bookkeeping. There’s much to do and it takes time away from your business. And, there are dozens of apps and cloud accounting options present. Which do you use?
The good news is all of those options are a good thing. It means there are no longer excuses for not getting your business organized. With a bit of help, it is possible to set up a system that streamlines your business operations.
#3: Cash Flow Versus Profit-Loss Statement
Many small businesses are making money on paper, but they end up going under if their float to getting paid is too long. This is financially limiting and stunts your growth as well.
It’s important to understand how this impacts your business. Cash flow is a critical component of any business operation — it determines how much you end up borrowing and paying for, too. Learn the best methods for managing cash flow.
#4: Not Understanding Standard Accounting Procedures and Terminology
Many small business owners don’t understand key business accounting terms and procedures. What does setting up controls mean? What about bank reconciliation? What are your balance sheets and when are they updated? Profit and loss statements are filled with very specific terminology you need to get right.
It’s possible to learn these terms and methods on your own. There’s plenty of information available. However, it takes time to learn it all. More importantly, you may find applying specific procedures and tax laws to your business challenging. To overcome this, work with a tax professional you can depend on.
#5: The Small Business Budget
A budget provides financial insight. It offers guidance to you about where your business is right now and what your goals are. That’s because a budget — which many small business owners lack — creates key goals for your company to manage. Flying blind, on the other hand, is a common small business mistake.
Creating a budget takes some time and a good amount of dedication. Once it is in place, it can be modified each month to meet current needs. Software is available to help with this, but an accounting professional is also an option.
#6: Too Much DIY
To be frank, one of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is simply trying to save money by doing it themselves. Yes, it is true this will cut your accounting costs, but it also creates a scenario in which you have absolutely no control over “what you don’t know.” In other words, just because you can enter it doesn’t mean you should.
Working with a bookkeeping and accounting service capable of handling these tasks for you is the best option. In nearly every situation, these services will work to save you money, far overlapping any DIY savings you are creating.
#7: Lack of Tax Planning
Taxes are not something you should do just one time a year. Year-long tax planning for small businesses is necessary. It’s not just important to pay your taxes, but also to plan for them and plan for savings options.
If you lack a tax planning strategy, work to improve this by simply working with a tax professional. Create a plan for ways you can invest and cut your tax burden.
#8: Lack of Modernization
Are you still balancing your books using pen and paper? It is no longer considered ideal to do so. Yet, many small business owners see the investment in modernization and cloud accounting to be too costly.
In fact, moving to a digital accounting system is likely to save you time and money. It doesn’t have to be challenging to implement this system either.
#9: Not Realizing True Profit and Loss
You may have a profit and loss sheet, but you may not have a lot of insight into what each line means. More so, you may not know enough about methods for reducing costs or viewing profit potential.
The investment in an accounting service can alleviate this. We are happy to talk to you about methods to save you money or boost your profit margins with simple changes to your methods.
Most small business accounting mistakes come from a lack of insight into the industry. The good news is solutions are available to help you overcome nearly all of them.
Isler Northwest LLC is a firm of certified public accountants and business advisors based in Portland, Oregon. Our local, regional, and global resources, our expertise, and our emphasis on innovative solutions and continuity create value for our clients. Our service goals at Isler NW is to earn our clients trust as their primary business and financial advisors.
1300 SW 5th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201