Monitoring your business finances does not need to be a trial-and-error process. By simply introducing/implementing a necessary financial system or process, one can have a stress free approach to business finance. It is important to have certain protocols in place like recording of daily transactions, bank reconciliations, financial reports, variance analysis, reviews and forecasting. This will help you in creating important financial statements like the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statements that aid in fiscal health evaluation, tax preparation and filing.
Here is a checklist that will help you keep business accounting on the right track:
Daily Bank Reconciliations
Bank reconciliations involve checking of detailed bank statement against the company’s internal cash account. It helps keep track of uncleared checks, returned checks, unauthorized and wrong entries.
Recordkeeping is extremely crucial for effective financial accounting. Every transaction must be duly accounted for. Keeping a record of all financial transactions, following double entry system and maintaining proof of all transactions are extremely important. Using software like Quickbooks, Peach Tree, and Netsuite among others help in seamless recordkeeping.
Indexing and maintenance of folders
Soft/e-copies (i.e. scanned copies) of all important documents with respect to transactions can be saved in indexed folders. Simultaneously, hard copies can be filed to adhere to compliance requirements (if any) and be tagged with indexation for an easy retrieval at a later stage. This helps in meeting the internal control/audit pre-requisites.
AP ageing schedule
Keeping a record and daily review of your customer’s AP schedule will ensure that payments are made in a timely manner.
Review cash flow
By periodically reviewing your cash flow and generating simple statements that show your current cash situation, weekly projected cash flow will allow you to plan OPEX and CAPEX.
Process or review payroll and approve payments
It is important to keep track of your payroll obligation like paying your employees as per your organization’s schedule, checking all withholdings and paying various federal, state and local taxes.
Review Profit and loss statement and Balance Sheet
Measure your profit and loss statement against the budgeted one every month. When you measure your Balance Sheet against a similar period in the previous year/quarter you are able to gain insight as to how your business is growing and its financial health. This knowledge allows you forecast and plan for a successful future.
Review sales tax and income tax and make payments
It is important that all Sales and Income taxes (as applicable) be paid on time. Tax computation can be done with the help of your accountant.
Fill out your IRS forms
IRS requires you to fill out your W-2 and 1099 by January 31 every year, which report the earnings of your full-time employees as well as contractors.
Review your annual financial reports and tax returns
Review all your reports and tax filing to make sure that everything is done correctly so that you can avoid an IRS audit or penalties.