26 Sep Adventures in Small Business Bookkeeping, Episode 1: “The Box”
Do you have one? You know the one we’re talking about. Usually it starts off shoebox-size and eventually multiplies or grows into a larger box. Normally “The Box” is stuffed full of receipts — sometimes categorized and sometimes just shoved in haphazardly. This box normally lives in a desk drawer or next to a monitor and once a month (or once a week, if you’re really on top of things) more bits of paper get added to the growing collection. Then, once a year that box gets taken out and you (or your accountant) are faced with the daunting task of organizing everything so you can properly track expenses for the year.
Well, you’re not alone. Over the years of working with clients, we have seen so many iterations of “The Box” that it doesn’t surprise us anymore. The same goes for many of the DIY bookkeeping strategies that we’ve seen business owners put together in an attempt to keep their finances in order.
Inevitably, while we sort through the tangled processes and try to make sense of things, we also tend to hear the same questions:
“What do you mean I should track it that way?”
“What exactly is a balance sheet and how do I put one together?”
“I need to provide my burn rate to investors, how do I calculate that?”
“I accidentally paid for this on my personal credit card, how do we handle this on the books?”
“We charge our customers annually, do we need to report all of the income on this year’s tax return?”
When asked why they didn’t have a bookkeeper or a better bookkeeping system, the answers were all pretty much the same. It was too complicated, too time-consuming and often too expensive for them to find a better solution.
We always found ourselves wondering:
“Shouldn’t there be a better way?”
No matter how you look at it, finances can be complicated and when you’re trying to develop and run a new business you don’t have a lot of time to learn about accounting and bookkeeping. Honestly you probably only have time to run to Google and type in “How do I do bookkeeping”, find the ‘how-to’ with the fewest number of steps, read it and then attempt to put it into action.
If you do opt to get help and go the dedicated bookkeeper route, there are still underlying problems even their magic can’t solve; the largest of which being the cost. Dedicated bookkeepers usually aren’t cheap and bringing one onboard full-time can be a large expense for a business. One of the secondary problems we’ve observed is that there is often still a huge knowledge gap. This means that if the bookkeeper is out for an extended period or leaves the company, the business owner normally finds themselves lacking the understanding necessary to fill the gap – even temporarily.
With those thoughts in mind, SimpleKeep and the SimpleKeep blog were created.
The first part was simple; bookkeeping help that’s accessible to businesses of all sizes. The second part, the blog, is a little more involved, but no less important or amazing.
The goal of this blog is to become a one-stop repository; a learning-center that will help address the questions that business owners (like you) have about building and running their businesses.
Ultimately, the goal is for you to leave this space a little more inspired, a little more confident and a little more informed than when you arrived.
First, though, we have a question for you! What’s the one question you wish you had thought to ask when you first started your business? Let us know in the comments below.