March 07, 2017

Avoid These 5 Costly Accounting Mistakes

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A bank recently surveyed over 500 small business owners about what they love and hate most about owning their own business.

Unsurprisingly, flexibility and feeling in control ranked first in the “love” category. Meanwhile, almost 60% said bookkeeping was hands-down their most hated task.

Most business owners understand that effective financial management is key to their success. But lack of knowledge, frustration, and even avoidance can add up to accounting mistakes that derail future growth.

Protect your business and reduce your stress by avoiding these five costly accounting mistakes.

 

Mixing personal and professional finances

From day one, business owners should have a separate bank account in which to deposit their income and pay their business expenses.

It’s also crucial to designate a business-only credit card. Come tax time, separate statements will make submitting claimable expenses quick and easy, while reducing the risk of a painful audit.

 

Letting accounts receivable slide

It’s frighteningly easy to lose track of which customers have paid you and which clients are late. Implement a strict policy and schedule for tracking accounts receivable and pursuing unpaid invoices.

  • ask customers to pay at the point of purchase or no more than 30 days later;
  • contact clients to confirm they have received your invoice and to agree on a payment date;
  • follow up immediately when payment dates are missed; and
  • keep accurate, up-to-date records of each client’s payment history.

Investing in a cloud-based accounting solution like Xero can make AR a breeze by automating your monthly invoicing – and contacting late payers with a reminder email.

 

Not using tech to track your expenses

Tired of chasing down missing receipts and struggling to justify claims come tax time? There’s an app for that! Choose from numerous options, but Receipt Bank we can highly reccommend.

Many of these apps generate expense reports that are easy to share, or sync automatically with accounting software.

 


Neglecting to strategise for long-term growth

Effective accounting means managing day-to-day finances while making provisions for future growth. Software and cloud-based solutions offer easy ways to track your financials, but they also generate reports and provide analytic tools SMB owners can use for future forecasting.

Familiarise yourself with the reports your software can generate to track long-term trends, identify and mitigate risk, and discover new ways to increase profitability. Talk to your accountant about which reports and metrics are most important for your particular business and how to utilise them.

 

Final tip: Don’t go it alone

Small business owners are rarely trained accountants. Don’t try to manage your company’s finances all by yourself.

Collaborate with a trusted professional, invest in quality IT solutions, and spend some time familiarising yourself with relevant tools and trends.

You’ll feel empowered, which is step one to forging a more love-filled relationship with small business accounting!


Sound familiar- why not give us a call at Inform today?  We are happy to arrange a consultation with you to discuss your needs and why not have a  Xero demo- the world's leading online accounting platform.

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Read more of Inform's tax blogs:

Update your business plan for a new year

3 Advantages of Digital Signing for Businesses

How to hire the right bookeeper for your business

Why bookkeeping is crucial to your success

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