Small businesses trying to make sense of their finances can benefit from the help of a bookkeeper. These professionals will work to make sense of your business and manage your financial data so that you can focus heavily on growing your business.
Bookkeeping services for small businesses help business owners offload tasks that are tedious, time-consuming, and resource-intensive.
What is a Bookkeeper?
A lot of non-financial professionals often assume that a bookkeeper is just another name for an accountant, but these individuals would be wrong. When you hire someone to work on your books, they offer a lot of services, yet they fall short of what a certified public accountant can offer.
Bookkeeper services vary, but you can hire these professionals to provide you with an array of services (more on that shortly).
Your bookkeeper can:
- Manage financial statements
- Handle cash-flow spreadsheets
- Record financial transactions
- May take on some human resource and payroll tasks
- Work with tax preparers
- Manage accounts receivable and payable
- Much more
Bookkeeping services for small businesses often suffice when your business needs to maintain compliance. When it comes time to form growth strategies, improve cash flow and profits, you may want to transition to a full-service accounting service.
Bookkeeping vs Accounting
Working with a bookkeeper is different from an accountant because your bookkeeper will be working on your day-to-day transactions. An accountant, on the other hand, will step back and look at the bigger picture of your business.
An accountant will spend time reviewing the financial information that a bookkeeper records, and they’ll help with:
- Forecasting financials
- Tax preparation and filing
Bookkeepers don’t have to sit for a CPA exam, and they can enter the field right out of high school. Accountants typically have a bachelor’s degree, and if they want to become a Certified Public Accountant, many states require that they have 150 hours of post-secondary education.
Naturally, bookkeepers and accountants work well together. A bookkeeper will spend a lot of time recording entries and reconciling bank accounts, and they must be very detail-oriented to avoid making mistakes.
Accountants are also masters of numbers, but they’ll spend their time looking at the bigger picture of your business. They review the tasks that the bookkeeper completed to:
- Prepare profit and loss statements
- Resolve discrepancies in accounts
- Review budgets and expenditures
- Work with auditors
- Determine payroll requirements
- So much more
If you need someone to handle your books, it’s better to hire a bookkeeper than it is to hire an accountant. Why? Bookkeeper services are often less expensive and fit well into a business’s finances, especially during the initial growth stages when budgets are constrained.
Bookkeeping Services for Small Businesses
So, now that you understand the difference between bookkeeping vs accounting, it’s time to look at specific services that a bookkeeper can offer your business.
1. Reconcile Financial Statements
Account reconciliation is one of the most important tasks that a bookkeeper can fulfill. Your bookkeeper will spend a lot of time making sure that your accounting software has the right information based on the following statements:
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards
- Financial account
Transactions in your accounting software must match all of these accounts to make sure records are accurate, you avoid potential overdraft fees and you’re alerted to fraudulent charges rapidly.
2. Manage Accounts Receivable
Bookkeepers work to handle your accounts receivable so that your staff doesn’t have to stay on top of these tasks. The bookkeeper can enter in estimates, create and send invoices and provide statements, too.
When a payment is made, you’ll alert the bookkeeper so that they can enter the payment details for you.
3. Manage Accounts Payable
When vendor bills come in, the bookkeeper can handle all of these bills for you. The bookkeeper can:
- Submit payments
- Keep on top of payment deadlines
- Pay early, when possible, to secure discounts
Your business relies on suppliers to keep your business running well. When your accounts payable is managed properly, you’ll build stronger relationships with suppliers.
4. Prepare Financial Statements
Your business has a lot of financial statements that need to be prepared properly. Bookkeepers can help. While a bookkeeper can lend their expertise to a lot of statements, the most common financial statements that they’ll prepare are:
- Cash flow statements
- Profit and loss statements
- Balance sheets
Accounting software makes it easy to prepare and print these statements to hand them over to your tax preparer or accountant.
5. Manage Your Bank Feeds
Your accounting system’s bank feeds must be properly managed. When transactions enter the system, you want to link these transactions from your feed into your accounting software so that they can be properly logged.
When transactions enter into your accounting system, they should be categorized to make sense of them when filing quarterly taxes.
A lot of systems will be able to automatically categorize some transactions, but a bookkeeper will need to go through these transactions to:
- Verify that they’re properly categorized
- Add transactions that weren’t added automatically
Bookkeepers can also go through the feed to better manage accounts receivable.
6. Process Payroll (Potentially)
Bookkeepers may depend on their service, offer human resource and payroll functions. The bookkeeper may help do a few payroll-related tasks:
- Process forms
- Process tax payments
- Manage timesheets
Your bookkeeper may also handle adding your payroll data into your system once the information is received by the payroll provider. If you do need this service, you’ll want to ask your potential bookkeeper if they offer it because a lot don’t.
Bookkeepers are an integral part of the team, and they can do one more thing to help your business: streamline processes. These professionals have experience with a wide range of technologies and can often recommend small tweaks to your operations to make them run smoothly and efficiently.
Want to start offloading some of your bookkeeping to a professional? Let’s connect through a virtual meeting to see how we can help you better manage your business’ finances.