The Importance of Bookkeeping
Well Balanced Bookkeeping consistently records a company’s financial transactions and stores this documentation. The purpose is to provide valuable and timely information about a business’s finances.
The foundation of bookkeeping is the general ledger, which tracks each account and transaction completed over an accounting period. A qualified bookkeeper manages these accounts and reconciles the data.
Regardless of their size, all businesses must keep track of their financial transactions. These records help small business owners manage their cash flow, stay on top of payments received from customers and improve decision-making. Accurate bookkeeping also helps prepare businesses for tax season.
The process of keeping track of financial transactions begins with recording a transaction in the accounting journal. The bookkeeper then transfers the details of each entry to a company’s general ledger, which is a master document that shows the credits and debits for every account within the business firm. The bookkeeper also uses a chart of accounts to categorize each type of account such as assets, liabilities, equity and revenue and expense.
In addition to preparing the financial records, the bookkeeper tracks accounts payable and receivable, reconciles bank statements and manages payroll. The bookkeeper also uses software to create invoices for customers and record customer payments. The bookkeeper may also work with accountants to analyze costs, prepare audits and perform tax filings for the firm.
It’s essential that all financial transactions are recorded correctly to maintain the integrity of a company’s accounting records. Incorrect entries can cause misstatements in the financial reports that a firm creates, which can lead to inaccurate indicators for success and misallocation of resources.
Bookkeepers must be careful not to use personal funds for business expenses. Using personal funds complicates the accounting system and can lead to tax problems, which can be costly for businesses. This can be avoided by using software programs that separate personal from business expenditures.
The more detailed the information contained in a firm’s financial books, the more useful those documents are to the business. The bookkeeper can identify trends and develop strategies for improvement with a clear understanding of the firm’s financial health. The accurate, up-to-date information in a firm’s financial reports also allows the business to make sound decisions about investments, expansion and future planning.
Reconciling Financial Transactions
The process of reconciling transactions ensures that a company’s internal records match the information that appears on statements from its bank, credit cards and other financial institutions. Reconciliations can be done at a general level to confirm that all items are accounted for, or they may be conducted in response to specific issues, such as differences between stock inventory and the company’s bank statement.
Transactions can be reconciled by reviewing documentation such as receipts, invoices and statements. Some types of reconciliations require more review than others, but the goal is always to identify and correct errors so that a company’s financial records reflect the true state of the business’s finances.
Account reconciliations involve comparing the total value of a company’s ledger and its actual cash in the bank. Differences between these two figures are known as discrepancies and can occur for a variety of reasons, such as human error or a change in accounting standards used by the company.
To perform a bank account reconciliation, a company’s accountant or bookkeeper will receive a bank statement each month that lists all cash and other deposits and deductions from the company’s checking accounts. This is compared to the company’s ledger to ensure that all items are accounted for and that the opening and closing balances match. This step also looks for items that have not been recorded in the ledger, such as deposits in transit or outstanding checks that have not cleared the bank.
Other types of financial reconciliations include intercompany reconciliation, which compares statements and documents between units, divisions or subsidiaries within a parent company; and business-specific reconciliation, such as expense reconciliation and stock inventory reconciliation. Credit card reconciliation is another type of business-specific reconciliation that compares purchase receipts with credit card statements provided by the credit card companies.
During the detailed reconciliation process, an accountant or bookkeeper will look at all the SAP documentation and paper copies that have been reviewed for each cost object and make sure they are all matched to the corresponding transaction in the general ledger. If a transaction does not match, a new journal entry is posted to the general ledger to correct it.
Creating Financial Statements
A reliable bookkeeper can help make financial statements more accurate by using the information he or she records. Unlike accountants, who are more apt to interpret and analyze data from the top down, bookkeepers take a more detailed approach by recording each financial transaction as it happens. They then organize, sort, and store these details to create a record that can be used to prepare taxes and financial reports.
Developing an effective bookkeeping system for your business is vitally important. A reliable bookkeeping system helps prevent costly errors and ensures that you are meeting compliance standards. A well-documented accounting process also allows finance teams to be confident in the accuracy of their reporting and planning.
Bookkeepers are responsible for reconciling cash balances in the general ledger with bank and credit card statements, as well as recording each financial transaction. These transactions fall into three broad categories: revenue, costs and expenses. A business’s income statement is developed by adding up each of these categories for a given time period. For example, a bookkeeper will use the chart of accounts to record all sales into the Revenue account and costs such as materials and labor into the Costs account.
In addition to preparing financial statements for each reporting period, the bookkeeper will also clear out each of these accounts in the general ledger and transfer the net income into the owner’s equity account by preparing closing entries in the accounting journal. The end result is a set of financial statements that will include an income statement, balance sheet and a business debt statement.
As the number of transactions that a business records increases, it becomes more challenging to keep track of them all. For this reason, many companies turn to a professional bookkeeping service provider. A reputable bookkeeping service provider should be experienced in managing accounts, reconciling transactions, providing financial overviews and preparing budgets. The best way to find a bookkeeping service provider is by asking for recommendations from other business owners, searching online and checking references. Once a business finds a competent bookkeeping service provider, it can rely on this individual to record all incoming payments, reconcile bank statements and process incoming bills quickly and efficiently.
Preparing Financial Reports
Bookkeeping is the transactional and administrative role of tracking financial documents, recording them in the accounting journal, and creating reports that summarize assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. Businesses use these records to apply for loans, file taxes and gain insight into how they can improve their business operations. Regulatory institutions examine all the documentation related to a company’s finances, so making accurate reports is essential for the well-being of a business.
The financial accounts of a company are tracked by the chart of accounts, which is a set of numbered and named accounts that track assets, liabilities, equity, revenue and expense. Each account is assigned a coding system that makes it easy to identify them. Once a bookkeeper collects all the necessary documentation, they record the transaction in the accounting journal using debits and credits. Then they reconcile the account balances against third-party documents, such as bank statements and credit card receipts. At the end of an accounting period, the bookkeeper closes the books by adding up the dollar amounts in each account and balancing them through adjusting entries.
This process helps create a real-time view of the company’s financial standing, which allows the accountant to make informed accounting decisions for a better future. It also ensures that the accountant’s work complies with tax laws, SEC regulations and accounting standards specific to the business’s industry.
Small business bookkeepers prepare important financial statements for clients, such as profit and loss statements and cash flow statements. They also help clients prepare budgets and track revenue by product line, management team or geographic region. In addition, small business bookkeepers help their clients manage their outstanding debt by creating and sending invoices and performing weekly check-ins on accounts receivable aging.
As a result, a strong bookkeeper can save their clients a lot of time by providing them with clear, concise financial reports that give them insights into the business’s profitability, operating expenses and cash flow. In addition to preparing these reports for clients, a good bookkeeper can help their client prepare for tax season by reconciling the trial balance at the end of the year and preparing the necessary information for filing.