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Days of shoebox receipts long gone

September 23, 2013

 As a former small business owner, I know how hard it is to operate a successful business.

It is no easy task to juggle all that needs to be done on any given day. The one thing that needs to be taken care of consistently is good record keeping. It is a necessary evil for most small business owners.

So many things hang on a small business owner’s ability to keep good, up-to-date financial records; such as tax reporting, budget forecasting and the ability to obtain capital. It just makes good sense to stay on top of this important task.

 As a former small business owner, I know how hard it is to operate a successful business.

It is no easy task to juggle all that needs to be done on any given day. The one thing that needs to be taken care of consistently is good record keeping. It is a necessary evil for most small business owners.

So many things hang on a small business owner’s ability to keep good, up-to-date financial records; such as tax reporting, budget forecasting and the ability to obtain capital. It just makes good sense to stay on top of this important task.

Many small business owners either can’t or won’t bring themselves to hire someone to handle their company’s record keeping needs. Instead, they try to do it themselves, and have employees to sell and market their products. What these business owners don’t realize, is that they are doing their business a tremendous disservice.

Good record keeping doesn’t bring in additional revenues or profits, but it will certainly eliminate unnecessary spending such as overpaying taxes and financial inefficiencies. Therefore, every hour you are muddling through record keeping is an hour you are not spending what you do best — running your business.

Nowadays keeping records in a shoebox full of receipts is a thing of the past. We are living in a computerized world and there are record keeping software programs that are available. Different programs are designed to meet different needs, so as a small business owner you will have to do some research.

Decide what you want to expect from your software. If you just need a program to keep records for tax purposes, then your software doesn’t need to be complicated or as expensive as it would need to be if you want to use it to track inventory. Consider the future needs of your business and whether your software is capable of growing with your business.

The best record keeping systems are those that are thoroughly integrated with the existing systems of the business. Even if you as the small business owner aren’t going to be the one who will do the actual record keeping, you are going to need someone who initially makes sure the record keeping system is a good fit with tax reporting.

A good place to start this intimidating process is by meeting with key employees and other professionals to assess your record keeping needs. Most small business owners understand what they need a record keeping system to do, but assessing your needs together, you increase the odds that your record keeping system will be one of quality.

If you are ready to update your record keeping system, let the advisers at the Angelo State University Small Business Development Center help.

“Business Tips” was written by Paul Howard, Business Development Specialist and Certified Business Adviser IV of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact him at Paul.Howard@angelo.edu.

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    Paul Howard, Business Development Specialist and CBA IV

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