Although most entrepreneurs recognize the importance of careful financial management, few want to spend their time dealing with numbers. But unfortunately, not keeping a close eye on your income and expenses can be very costly for a business.
Here are five of the most common bookkeeping pitfalls and some simple tips for getting back on track.
- Mixing business and personal
Often, entrepreneurs adopt a “buy now, sort later” approach to expenses, using the same credit card for personal and professional purchases. Then, at the end of the month, they’re left poring over statements, trying to sort things out. Unfortunately, mixing business and personal expenses cost extra hours of bookkeeping each month and muddies your overall financial picture.
Avoid this pitfall by using a separate credit card and bank account for business and being disciplined about separating expenditures.
- Neglecting to track reimbursable expenses
Receipt tracking is a necessary part of business ownership. You must keep track of receipts to understand spending patterns and manage your company’s finances effectively. And if you want to claim deductions at tax time, you’ll need your receipts to support your tax return.
But far too many business owners take a haphazard approach to collecting and organizing receipts—especially while on the go, where a whopping 50% of their expenses are generated. Instead, get the deductions you deserve and simplify tax prep using an expense-tracking app. Options like Expensify can record mileage, billable hours, and other expenditures and generate expense reports. Many apps sync seamlessly with your business bank account and accounting software.
- Not taking advantage of technology
Are you still relying on manual accounting methods? While basic spreadsheet tools can get the job done, they open the door for human error. Mortgage loan giant Fannie Mae once uncovered a $1.1 billion error on their Excel spreadsheet, citing an “honest mistake” as the cause.
Moreover, manual methods can’t match the technological benefits of software like QuickBooks or Xero. These systems track invoicing, link your credit card and business account, organize expenses, and generate insightful financial reports.
- Not keeping accounts up to date
Let’s be frank. Most business owners don’t look forward to that weekly appointment with “the books.” Many entrepreneurs cite bookkeeping as their most dreaded responsibility and find various reasons to avoid it.
- Doing it all yourself
It is entirely understandable for budget-conscious entrepreneurs to try to cut costs by handling bookkeeping on their own. However, taking advantage of professional help—even part-time—can generate substantial time and money savings over the long term.
Time to get savvy about bookkeeping. The most significant payoff? Saving time with these bookkeeping tips will allow you to invest your talents and energy where they will be most profitable.