вторник, 31 января 2017 г.

Small businesses live and die by their cash flow and accountability.

Accurate recordings of transactions, in addition to proper assessment and processing, give small businesses a firm base on which to make decisions and create plans for growth.

Recording and understanding the sales, expenses and other basic business data should be easy enough for small companies. But understanding the accounting needs of a business is not always so simple. What type of activity is considered bookkeeping, and when do you need an accountant alternatively? Is there even a difference between the two?

There is, and it is a simple but important one: Bookkeepers record a firm's day-to-day transactions, while accounting firms verify and analyze that information.

Bookkeeping versus accounting

A bookkeeper's terrain is every day financial transactions, that include purchases, receipts, sales and payments. Recording these items is often done through a general ledger or journal. Many smaller businesses use software such as QuickBooks or Peachtree to keep track of their entries, debits and credits. Their efforts end in a trial balance, meaning the final total of debits and credits match.

"Bookkeeping is designed to generate data about the activities of an organization," said D'Arcy Becker, CPA and chairwoman of the Department of Accounting and Finance at the University of Wisconsin. "Accounting is designed to turn data into information."

The role of an accountant, therefore, is to verify the info entered, and then use that data to crank out reports, analyze the account, perform audits and prepare financial reporting records, like tax returns, income statements and balance sheets. An accountant's analysis of the financial information can supply information for forecasts, business trends, potential for growth and when to restrict spending to manage cash flow.

"Accountants evaluate the big picture," wrote John Tracy in his book, "Accounting for Dummies" (For Dummies, 5th edition, 2013). "[They] step and back and say, 'We handle a lot of rebates, we handle a lot of coupons - how should we record these transactions? Do I record just the net amount of the sale or do I record the gross sale amount, too?' Once the accountant decides how to handle these transactions, the bookkeeper carries them out."
Hiring a financial professional

Regardless of size of your enterprise, it is crucial for ongoing success to ensure the financial accuracy of daily transactions and use that data to make decisions for future years of your business. If you believe your business is growing too quickly for a "do-it-yourself" method of finances, you should look into hiring someone to help you keep a record and make sense of your business transactions. Business News Daily has published a guide to deciding on a business accountant if you're not sure where to start.

While many small businesses hire an accountant outside the company, bookkeeping is a bit more diverse. Some small business owners do their own bookkeeping on software recommended or used by their accountant, providing it to him or her on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis for action. Other small businesses are large enough to employ a bookkeeper, or have a small accounting department with data- entry clerks reporting to the bookkeeper.

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