Accounting for Startups: A Beginner’s Guide

bookkeeping for business startup

Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. QuickBooks is very popular, so any accountant you hire can likely work with it. Let’s dig into the basic steps required to DIY your startup’s books.

bookkeeping for business startup

However, you typically don’t have to worry about keeping a copy of every receipt. In many cases, your bank account and credit card statements should provide sufficient supporting details for the average business expense. Meanwhile, the accrual method recognizes revenues when you earn them and expenses when you incur them. It requires that you track accounts receivable and accounts payable, which often means you have to do more bookkeeping work by hand.

Financial statements: A startup’s secret weapon

They also contain information critical to investors and other key stakeholders in your business. We feel honored to be a part of making the world a better place, even if it’s one debit and credit at a time. We strongly encourage lightly funded startups to do their bookkeeping themselves – it’s not that hard, at least when you are small and have very few transactions.

With a clear financial picture, you can start to run and review useful reports. Most startups use the accrual method or switch to it as the business grows. The accrual method provides a more accurate picture of a company’s financial health. Accountants, financial institutions, and potential financiers prefer the accrual method because it adheres to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). To begin, you can start a bookkeeping business from the comfort of your own home. A bookkeeper may need to leave a full-time job and start prospecting and promoting their services.

Accounting Due Diligence Procedures

We love how they’re constantly evolving and improving their platform, which is a major reason Xero nears the top of our best for small businesses accounting tools review. QuickBooks has been around a long time, and the software has only gotten better over the years. The main reason you might consider buying QuickBooks Online is that it handles well, and most accountants are familiar with how it works. So using it makes sense if you’re hiring an accountant to do your books. As a founder or small business owner, you have clear growth goals. Our 4,418 case studies show you how ordinary people built businesses to millions in revenue – all starting from a simple idea or side project.

bookkeeping for business startup

There are particular moments when automated systems are likely to introduce mistakes, such as when employee benefits are changed. Most businesses have revenue and expense bank accounts (AKA temporary accounts) that provide information for the company’s income statement. At the end of the accounting cycle, these accounts are closed, which means the balance of the temporary accounts is reduced to zero. There’s no question that keeping records of your business’s tax returns is essential. What’s also imperative is keeping track of and maintaining these records and forms throughout the year. Whether it’s your first business tax return or you’re a pro, having an organized system for your documents will save you a lot of stress.

Why Is Accounting Important for a Startup Business?

Because of this, much of their operational structures are designed to scale the organization and its revenues quickly. As a result, startup accounting can be a bit more complex than a small business in the same industry. Oftentimes, accounting for startups is left to whoever is best at managing data in the company – or if no one – one more job for the founder. However, a lack of accounting experience and knowledge can be a hindrance, especially for startups which need to be agile and primed for rapid growth. Not only is it the more affordable option, but it’s always helpful to have a fresh set of eyes on your finances. As a business owner, it’s easy to lose perspective and miss things that would be obvious to a trained accountant.

These two items are categorized differently on your tax return, so record the category while transactions are fresh in your mind. If you haven’t landed on an entity type yet, you can read more about choosing the right business entity for your startup here. Your business entity determines how you are taxed, how you can pay yourself, your potential business liability, and more. Your supplier calls to let you know that they won’t be shipping any products until you pay your bill.

Step 2 – Choose Your Web Pages

As you go forward and grow, Freshbooks has excellent invoice software that will allow you to automate and simplify the invoice process. Startups need to build a solid accounting foundation to stay organized, increase efficiency, obtain financing, control expenses and identify possible risks and opportunities for the business. Whether you hire an accountant or opt for other accounting software, you need to understand the basics of startup accounting. Have accounting and bookkeeping practices that are followed weekly and monthly to set your startup up for success. Enter in all data of transactions, reconcile your accounts, and keeping up on accounts receivable are all ways your business will keep up with accuracy and keep cash in the bank.

  • Start your free trial, then enjoy 3 months of Shopify for $1/month when you sign up for a monthly Basic or Starter plan.
  • Otherwise, you risk giving your vendors free money in late payment interest.
  • You should be excited about what your business is building towards in its future.
  • First and foremost, you will want an accountant that is forward-looking and aims for growth, growth, growth!
  • Accounting software has made manual bookkeeping obsolete, but some small business owners record transactions by hand to save money.