Someday, when we’re basking in retirement, we’ll ask you to pull up a stool around the campfire, and we’ll tell you some stories. Stories of flour-coated grocery bags stuffed with invoices; of the crazy things we’ve seen people do instead of paying payroll taxes. We’ve seen it all. And truth is, we love taking the crazy and the disorganized, and making it clean, clear, and beautiful.
When you’re busting ass growing a business or an organization, you don’t have time for much more than shoving a receipt in a shoebox; we get that. Maybe someday, in this entrepreneurial-rich era, there will be better information out there for how to manage financials (can you imagine Liberal Arts colleges of the future requiring Business Finances 101 alongside Intro to Creative Writing?).
Until that day, here are the common strategies we see for small business bookkeeping, and why they don’t really work:
1) Keeping your own books, and either spending a lot of time to keep them up, or not spending the time and having a mess on your hands.
Look, if you’ve just started out, and you have irregular sales or are still in a side hustle phase, you can hack it with a nice excel spreadsheet and an hour or two a month (especially all you service providers out there). However, once you start to grow, even if you’re just a solo-entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be doing it yourself. Your time is worth more, and most business owners that have been down this path, never spend the time to set up a system, and end up regretting it later when their business takes off. Don’t do this.
2) Paying an accountant (a lot of money) to handle the books, and trying (and failing) to get day-to-day support.
It’s no secret in the industry that though your accountant desperately wants you to have clean books, they don’t want to do it themselves. Most accountants charge a premium for bookkeeping, as a side service.
The number one complaint we hear from business owners in this area is that they wished their accountant would reach out to them and give them more information about their money and business. The truth is, that’s not really their job. We know and work with some excellent accountants, and I’m not here to rag on them…but their focus is on your taxes, not your operations. Most owners who work with accountant-bookkeepers will get a report a few times a year, but otherwise find that their financial information largely remains in a shroud of mystery.
3) Paying someone to come in for a few hours a month to keep the books.
We know a lot of businesses for whom this works great; they find someone reliable and trustworthy, and they know enough about best practices to supervise.
There are two pitfalls with this path, however: first, most owners don’t know what they need, what a good system looks like, and thus, don’t know how to supervise a bookkeeper to get the information they need. Why would you know how to do all these things? It’s not like you slept through “how to manage a bookkeeper and your business financials” class in college. Second, hourly bookkeepers don’t last forever, and, if you’ve gone down this path, you know how difficult it is to find a trustworthy, responsible, bookkeeper.
This is the part where I tell you: there’s a better way! (You knew that was coming, right?)
Imagine what it would feel like to have your money organized, to have someone who’s got your back only a phone call away? Pretty good, right?
We created our bookkeeping service to give owners and directors clean books that are tailored to day-to-day operations, all backed by our expertise in how to use this powerful information to make smart decisions. We love partnering with businesses and organizations to guide owners to financial confidence.
Craving clarity and confidence? Learn more.