Starting a new business can be an exhilarating experience. The thrill of pursuing your passion and the freedom of being your boss can be incredibly motivating.
However, as exciting as it is, it can also be overwhelming, especially regarding accounting.
Good accounting practices are critical to the success of any startup, as they help you keep track of your finances and make sound business decisions.
In this regard, there are some things that you must know about startup business accounting. This blog will cover some practical tips to help you get started.
By following these guidelines, you can set your startup business up for financial success and ensure that your accounting practices are accurate and compliant.
So, let’s dive in and explore these essential tips together!
What You Must Know About Startup Business Accounting
Startup Business Accounting – Choose the right accounting method
The accounting method you choose determines how you record your revenue and expenses, which can significantly impact your financial statements and tax liabilities. Thus, this is a crucial step in your startup business accounting.
Cash vs accrual accounting
The two most common accounting methods are cash and accrual basis.
Cash accounting records revenue and expenses when cash is received or paid. While accrual accounting records revenue and expenses when earned or incurred, regardless of when the cash is received or paid.
Consider your business type and size
The type and size of your business can influence your accounting method. For example, cash accounting may be more appropriate for small businesses with simple operations, while accrual accounting may be more suitable for larger, more complex businesses.
Consider industry standards
Some industries may have specific accounting standards or regulations. This applies in the construction industry, which may require a percentage of completion accounting to record long-term projects.
Consider tax implications and requirements
Your accounting method can have significant tax implications, so it’s essential to consider this when choosing one. For instance, if you choose cash accounting, you may be able to defer taxable income by delaying customer payments.
Also, depending on your country of operation, there are several requisites that you need to check before deciding what startup business accounting method to use. It is best to consult an accountant for proper compliance.
Keep accurate records
Accurate financial records help you understand the financial health of your business, make informed decisions, and avoid potential legal or financial issues. It may be cumbersome, but in the end, this is for the benefit of your business, so this decision is serious.
Record all financial transactions
This includes sales, expenses, and payroll. You can use accounting software to enter and track transactions easily.
Keep receipts and invoices
These documents are essential for verifying transactions and for tax purposes. Organise them in a systematic manner, either by date or by type of expense.
Reconcile bank and credit card statements
Reconcile your bank and credit card statements with your accounting software regularly. This ensures that your financial records are accurate and that you haven’t missed any transactions.
Separate personal and business finances
Separating personal and business finances helps manage your startup business accounting easier and simplifies tax reporting. The following are the steps to achieve this.
- Open a business bank account. Do this even if you are only a sole trader. This helps you keep your personal and business finances separate and makes it easier to track your business transactions.
- Use separate credit cards. Use a different credit card for your business expenses. This makes managing your business expenses easier and avoids confusion with personal expenses.
- Pay yourself a salary. If you’re a sole trader or a member of a partnership, pay yourself a salary from your business account. This helps you ensure you’re paying yourself a fair wage.
- Avoid mixing funds. Avoid mixing personal and business funds, even if you’re in a hurry or short on cash. Mixing funds can create confusion and make it difficult to track your finances.
Monitor cash flow
Monitoring cash flow is incredibly important for startups as it provides a clear picture of the business’s financial health and helps ensure that your business has enough cash on hand to cover its expenses. It can also support decisions on future expansions.
Understand cash flow
Cash flow refers to the movement of money in and out of your business. A positive cash flow means more money is coming in than going out, while a negative cash flow means more money is going out than coming in.
Create a cash flow statement
Create a cash flow statement that tracks your cash inflows and outflows over a specific period. This statement can help you identify trends and predict potential cash shortages.
Create an ageing report
As a startup, you need to monitor your cash flow and use tools like an ageing report to track your accounts receivable and payable. By doing so, you can identify overdue payments and prioritise your payments based on the age of the invoice.
Plan for the future
Finally, planning for the future is vital as it allows you to develop a financial plan and set financial goals for your startup business. By anticipating revenue and expenses and creating a budget, you can make sound financial decisions in the present.
In addition, by setting realistic financial targets and identifying potential risks, you can create contingency plans and take steps to mitigate any negative impact on your business.
This is especially important if you have limited resources, making your business more vulnerable to financial shocks. Through a financial plan, you can identify potential funding sources and develop a strategy for securing additional capital as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What accounting information do I need to start a business?
Business entity type. Determining the legal structure of your business will impact how you manage finances, pay taxes, and comply with legal requirements. You can be a sole trader, a partnership or a corporation.
Business name and registration. Choose a name for your business and register it with the appropriate government agencies to ensure you’re operating legally and can obtain the necessary licenses and permits.
Chart of accounts. Set up a chart of accounts that defines categories and subcategories for business transactions. This helps organise finances and generate accurate financial statements.
Record keeping. Establish a system that tracks business transactions, such as sales, purchases, expenses, and payroll. This helps keep accurate financial records and make informed decisions.
Tax information. Understand tax laws and regulations that apply to the business, such as sales tax, payroll tax, and income tax. This helps comply with tax requirements and avoid penalties.
What is the most important financial statement for my startup business?
While all financial statements are essential for startups, the Profit and Loss (P&L) statement, also known as an Income statement, is often considered the most important.
The P&L statement shows the revenue earned and expenses incurred during a specific period, allowing for the measurement of a business’s financial performance.
This information can be used to create budgets, allocate resources, and plan for future growth. Additionally, it helps identify areas for improvement, allowing you to optimise your operations and increase profitability.
Understanding startup business accounting is essential to achieving success in managing finances. Remember, by staying on top of your finances and making informed decisions, you can grow your business and achieve your goals. Best of luck in your entrepreneurial journey!
If you want to get help on accounting for your startup business, check out Sterlinx Global.