Small Business Accounting 101: 12 Steps for Basics and Setup 2023

What Are Payroll Deductions?

Consistency requires businesses to use the same accounting policies and methods for similar transactions and events, ensuring uniformity and comparability in financial reporting. These record templates vary in complexity, so you need to understand the differences before you go with one accounting service or another. Some, such as Patriot Software Accounting Premium, simply let you maintain descriptive product records. They ask how many of each product you have in inventory when you create a record and at what point you should be alerted to reorder.

More importantly, you’ll put your business on the path to longevity and financial success. In fact, this card is so good that our experts even use it personally. Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes. If you have not prepared a budget, compare your current year-to-date P&L with the same prior period, year-to-date income statement to identify variances and make adjustments.

Compile a Chart of Accounts

If you’re a contractor who works on a project basis, you probably don’t need to worry about setting up a POS system. That said, you will spend a lot of your time invoicing your clients. So pick an invoicing solution that automates a bunch of the legwork. The types of expenses you can deduct on your tax return will depend on the expenses you incur in the course of doing business.

  • If you are starting a small business on a limited budget, you might not want to spend the money to hire an accountant.
  • Small-business accounting is a set of financial activities for the processing, measurement, and communication of a business’s finances.
  • However, when you sell online, customers may be located in different cities, states, provinces, and even countries.
  • Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research.
  • This is essentially FICA and Medicare, only your payment covers both a withholding from your wage and the matching contribution from your company.

Key accounting best practices for small businesses include keeping businesses’ finances separate from personal finances, maintaining accurate records, and tracking income and expenses. Small businesses may also want to consider hiring professional accountants or automating their finances with accounting software. Wave is one of only two online accounting services that you can use for free, unless you need payroll and payments, which you do have to pay for.

Develop a chart of accounts

There’s also software that can help you track your expenses, including tools like Bench,, QuickBooks, FreshBooks or Xero. Create a system for recording receipts too, in case there are any questions down the road with your tax return. Modern POS systems make it easy to track sales, but it’s up to you to set up a way to track expenses.

how to do business accounting

Review the payroll summary before payments are disbursed to avoid making corrections during the next payroll period. A payroll service provider can do all this to save you time and ensure accuracy at a reasonable cost. You can also use our free paycheck calculator to figure out what you need to withhold from each paycheck. Managing your cash flow  is critical, especially in the first year of your business. Forecasting how much cash you will need in the coming weeks and months will help you reserve enough money to pay bills and your employees and suppliers. Plus, you can make more informed business decisions about how to spend your cash.


Note that LLCs (See our state specific guides for California LLCs, Texas LLCs and Florida LLCs), partnerships, and corporations are legally required to have a separate bank account for business. Sole proprietors don’t legally need a separate account, but it’s definitely recommended. is a leading authority on technology, delivering lab-based, independent reviews of the latest products and services. Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology. Xero and Zoho Books go further, allowing you to produce more advanced forms, like purchase orders, sales receipts, credit notes, and statements.

  • Intuit Inc. does not warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate nor that it is completely free of errors when published.
  • Experts agree that small businesses commonly fail when cash flow runs dry.
  • It also allows you to track fixed assets, which is an unusual tool in the category of small business accounting software.
  • Try Shopify for free, and explore all the tools and services you need to start, run, and grow your business. is committed to delivering content that is objective and actionable. To that end, we have built a network of industry professionals across higher education to review our content and ensure we are providing the most helpful information to our readers. For instance, if your corporation was on the hook for a sum of money, the corporate veil would prevent you from being held personally liable for the debt. Be sure to discuss any prospective CPA’s rates during the consultation. How much a CPA costs depends on a couple different factors like the size of your operations. A CPA can also help you make long-term, big picture financial decisions about the future of your business.

Even though interest rates on business accounts are traditionally pretty low, having a cash surplus in a business savings account can improve your likelihood of being approved for a loan. It’s also a good place to store money you’re setting aside for taxes and unforeseen emergencies. Manage business revenue in your checking account, and set aside money you’ll need at a later date (for emergencies, what is business accounting to pay taxes, etc.) in a savings account. If you’re not entirely comfortable using a software application, Sage Business Cloud Accounting is designed for you. A good fit for sole proprietors, Sage Business Cloud Accounting makes it easy to track inventory sales and services. While you’re at it, you’ll identify trouble spots and make adjustments to improve sales and margins.

What are the four 4 basics activities in accounting?

The first four steps in the accounting cycle are (1) identify and analyze transactions, (2) record transactions to a journal, (3) post journal information to a ledger, and (4) prepare an unadjusted trial balance. We begin by introducing the steps and their related documentation.