Many small business owners find keeping up with the company accounting is a tedious process. I have spoken with several small business owners that have the same complaints:
Ok, that last statement has a little bit of frustration behind it.
When you narrow the field to smaller Private Investigative firms the responses become more emotional....sometimes angry. One investigator said, "I'm an investigator. That is what I am good at. Keeping the books is always a challenge that I seem to have less time and desire to complete." The last part of the statement, "...desire..." is probably the most accurate.
If you find that balancing the books is a tedious, mind-numbing task that you would rather not do, remember this is how you get paid. Try these simple techniques to reduce the stress in keeping your income and expenses properly recorded.
1. Set time aside every week to devote to your accounting. - Set a calendar reminder for each Monday to devote one hour to updating your books, paying bills and sending invoices. Make it a habit! Include additional time every two weeks to make those calls to collect on overdue accounts. Setting a schedule will allow you to "eat the elephant one small bite at a time" and reduce your stress or dread to once a week for a short time period out of your day.
2. Keep it simple. - If you are just starting out keep a simple ledger just like your personal checkbook that records incoming and outgoing with a running balance. In the beginning you don't need multiple accounts or need a complex accounting schedule.
3. Don't be afraid to call your Overdue clients. Create a script to use when you call. Be friendly and offer a simple reminder to your clients. If you are dealing with a large company, often you will need to find the right person that handles accounts to get paid in a timely manner. Be patient, professional and kind.
4. Explore accounting software. - There are several free accounting software programs available to small businesses. Many interface with your credit cards, bank accounts and offer invoicing to save you time and keep your tax prep personnel happy:-).
5. Re-check your balances. - Goes without saying but unfortunately it often goes without being done! Check your work just like you would proofread an investigative report you are about to send to a client. Finding errors weeks or months later can be tedious and costly. Not to mention that errors in invoicing can be embarrassing and may cost you repeat business.
If you keep up with your business accounting and continue to grow your business you will be able to hire someone to do it for you!
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