3 bookkeeping basics for small business owners

How much time do you spend bookkeeping each week? Recording, organising, and processing financial transactions – everything from accounts receivable and payable, to employee payments, expense receipts and supplier invoices. 10 hours? More?

Effective bookkeeping is at the heart of a healthy business. But, done poorly, bookkeeping can be time-consuming and tedious.

You needn’t feel overwhelmed by paperwork and complex calculations though. Here are three bookkeeping basics to help keep things simple and manageable.

1. Make expense tracking easy

Accurate and consistent expense tracking is crucial for claiming tax deductions and lowering your overall tax bill.

More importantly though, analysing your expenses in real time can offer crucial insights into spending patterns and the overall profitability of your business.

Consider using a mobile app for simple, timely expense tracking. Apps like, HubdocExpensify, and Receipt Bank help do away with manual data entry by automating tasks, including:

  • Capturing receipts via your smartphone’s camera rather than holding onto paper receipts
  • Automatically extracting key information from your scanned receipts
  • Tracking mileage for business travel by simply connecting to your phone’s GPS
  • Importing bank and credit card data
  • Integrating with your accounting software

2. Systemise your invoicing

Efficient invoicing is about more than getting paid on time. An invoice is an official record and you need to complete it accurately to avoid errors in your bookkeeping process.

Here are a few tips for professional invoicing:

  • Make sure your invoices include all the important details:
    • contact information
    • tracking / job / customer reference numbers
    • a detailed list of products or services rendered
    • a breakdown of the total amount due
  • Provide an electronic receipt to reduce waste and create a secure “paper trail”
  • Maintain an invoice-filing system that records:
    • when you sent the invoice
    • to whom
    • when payment was made
    • any reminders sent out

An online invoicing tool can streamline this aspect of your bookkeeping process. Many invoicing apps have industry-specific customisations. They can improve your invoicing processes and automate related processes such quoting, time tracking, project management, and inventory management.

3. Save time and gain insights with the right accounting software

Every business is required by law to keep organised and timely financial records. But manually posting income and expenses to ledgers and journals is time consuming – not to mention stressful for the math-averse.

Save yourself time and stress with a cloud accounting software solution. Xero is a great fit for most of our small to medium business clients and we use it ourselves. Of course, one size doesn’t fit all, so we always look for the best software to suit the unique needs of your business.

If you’re not already Single Touch Payroll (STP) compliant, now is the time for you to consider both payroll and accounting software solutions for your business. Remember STP is compulsory for all employers from 1 July 2019.

Moving your bookkeeping online offers many advantages, such as:

  • Instant reports and real time insights on profit and loss, customer accounts, payroll, and your financial “big picture”
  • Simplified data entry so you can collate and print invoices, purchase orders, and payroll much faster
  • Improved accuracy through automation (once you enter data , the software handles all subsequent calculations and processes)
  • Efficiency gains and access to real-time data that you can easily share with your advisers (this will transform the way you do business)

A final word on bookkeeping

Adopting quick, intuitive and automated practices will shift bookkeeping from being your enemy to your friend. Because, when it comes to bookkeeping, keeping up to date is key to ensuring the long-term profitability of your business.

Viewing your true financial position and sharing information with your accountants and advisers in real time will help you catch any red flags and keep your finances on track. And simplifying your processes will get you back to doing what you love.

Are you ready to save yourself time and give your business the best chance of success? A Synectic adviser can help you improve your bookkeeping, so you can invest your talents and energy where they will benefit you most.

Contact an Adviser


8 smart ways to manage your debtors for business success

5 common bookkeeping fails – and how to easily avoid them

What really matters