Managing finances is a top priority for small and midsized business owners. Bookkeeping is a large part of that. Some bookkeeping tasks need to be done only once per year. Others require your attention more often—daily, weekly, or monthly. Here’s a guide to what bookkeeping tasks you need to do and when to do them.
Bookkeeping Tasks to Do Daily
Check your cash position – Just like you might check your own wallet to see how much cash you have before going out, you should check to make sure your business has enough cash available to get through the day.
Record mileage – If your claim mileage expenses on your taxes, get in the habit of recording your mileage whenever you drive somewhere.
Bookkeeping Tasks to Do Weekly
Do your invoicing – If you don’t have receivables coming in, you won’t be in business very long. Send invoices and follow up on late payments with phone calls or “past due” notices.
Pay invoices you owe – The cost of doing business requires you to pay what you owe. Doing so in a timely manner helps you maintain a good credit rating and keeps you on the good side of vendors and service providers.
File receipts – To avoid any later hassles with the IRS, make sure you file any receipts you need as backup documentation on your taxes.
Log your transactions – Rather than waiting until the end of the month, or longer, try to log your transactions on at least a weekly basis. This includes invoicing, expenses, and payments received and made. Use a spreadsheet or, better yet, bookkeeping or accounting software to sort your transactions into the right buckets.
Pay employees – If you pay your employees on a weekly basis, make sure you sign and distribute checks on a regular timetable.
Bookkeeping Tasks to Do Monthly
Balance your checkbook – Make sure your business checkbook is balanced. Verify against your monthly bank statements.
Review employee payroll – While you might actually pay employees weekly or twice a month, you should also review your payroll each month to make sure adequate employment taxes are being withheld.
Bookkeeping Tasks to Do Quarterly
Submit quarterly payroll reports – Make sure your quarterly payrolls reports are submitted to the IRS or other taxing authorities that require them.
Pay quarterly taxes – Submit any quarterly tax payments, such as federal or state estimated quarterly income tax, state or local payroll taxes, sales taxes, or any other quarterly taxes you are obligated to pay.
Bookkeeping Tasks to Do Annually
Request expense reports – If your employees are turning in expense reports, request that they get any year-end expenses to you in a timely manner so that you can deduct them as business expenses on tax forms.
Close the books – Make sure your books are complete and balanced so that you can prepare tax forms without too much trouble. The last thing you want to do is to be balancing your books at the eleventh hour of tax season.
What If You Can’t Do It All?
All this bookkeeping takes quite a bit of work. Of course, you can cut out a great deal of it by hiring a professional bookkeeper to assist you. Look for an experienced bookkeeper who’s willing to get to know your business from the inside out. It also pays to engage someone who’s up on current technology and can help you automate many of your bookkeeping processes.