How To Start a Bookkeeping Business in 8 Steps for 2023 + Checklist


Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology. Accounting services let you easily create any transaction that a small business is likely to need. The most common of these are invoices and bills, and most of the services we reviewed support them. In general, accounting services are easy to use, with standard navigation tools, icons, and colors to help you figure out what you need to know.

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Accounting software helps small business owners easily track their financial accounts, income and expenses, prep for tax season and keep tabs on financials. For many small businesses, software is the more affordable alternative to hiring an accountant or a large firm to manage their accounting, tax prep and payroll. However, with so many options on the market today, choosing the right solution can be a challenge. To help, we’ve narrowed in on the best options for a wide variety of small businesses. In other cases, even if you are an educated accounting professional, you still might want to hire a professional to assist in your company’s accounting and bookkeeping system. Having an expert in business finances can help with journal entries and set up great accounting systems.

Side Note: What is the Difference Between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant?

Are most of your customers in a certain geographic area, like the Pacific Northwest? You’ll want to find out why and make business decisions based on your findings. For example, you might decide to run ads geographically targeted to that area or open an office there for easier access to your prime demographic. We recommend chatting with a CPA before you make any firm decisions.

Besides its primary bench accountings, it also offers a custom plan with custom pricing for businesses with complex needs. We believe that it’s our team’s job to help save our CEOs time and take care of the basic bookkeeping tasks that other services dump onto their clients. As pioneers in cloud accounting, Kruze has been an Intuit Firm of the Future Finalist, an Expensify Emerging Partner of the Year, and is a Gusto Gold Partner. Kruze’s finance and bookkeeping team combines experienced startup accountants with the best off the shelf, and custom built, accounting software. We automate everything but have our experts keep an eye on your financials to catch the mistakes the systems make. Founders shouldn’t be burdened with making sure they carefully and correctly code financial transactions so automated bookkeeping services don’t mess up.

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There are many bookkeeping software programs to choose from, so it’s vital to do your research before deciding. If you’re a brand-new business, chances are you don’t have any tax returns yet. However, once you do, those returns must be filed away and kept for at least three years, although it may be a good idea to keep them longer. Startup business accounting can be particularly important since it’s likely that you’re operating your new business on a tight budget. But even if you’re lucky enough to have millions backing your business, your investors are going to want to know what you’re spending their money on.

How can I learn how to use accounting software?

Revenue is all the income a business receives in selling its products or services. Costs, also known as the cost of goods sold, is all the money a business spends to buy or manufacture the goods or services it sells to its customers. The Purchases account on the chart of accounts tracks goods purchased.

  • The specific answer to this question can vary somewhat depending on the extent of bookkeeping services your company needs, and how often you require the services of a small business bookkeeper.
  • Marketing is one of the most difficult things for accountants and bookkeepers to master.
  • Many small business owners create this statement when investors want to see how profitable the business is.
  • Read this guide from Tax Robot to learn how to start bookkeeping for your business.

Reports are your reward for keeping up with your daily work and completing it correctly. Every small business accounting service comes with templates for numerous types of insightful output. You select one, customize it by using the filter and display options provided, and let the software pour your own company data into it. It only takes a few seconds to generate a report after you have defined it. The other small business accounting software with a totally free version is Zoho Books. It’s a better choice for anyone who already uses other Zoho software, as well as businesses that plan to grow.

How To Start A Bookkeeping Business (2023 Guide)

The accountant also prepares year-end financial statements and the proper accounts for the firm. The year-end reports prepared by the accountant have to adhere to the standards established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board . These rules are called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles .

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It’s less complex and more routine, requiring little more than fundamental financial skills in most cases. Accurate, up-to-date records are necessary for many of your startup’s essential processes, including applying for financing and managing your tax obligations. A professional bookkeeper may charge $20-$30 per hour for services. This amount can range based on the bookkeeper’s location, level of expertise, and availability.

Our clients are portfolio companies of top technology and Silicon Valley investors, including Y-Combinator, Kleiner, Sequoia, Khsola, Launch, Techstars and more. With us, your books and taxes are in order when it’s time to raise another round of venture financing. Our accountants serve startups all over the US, with offices in Austin, San Francisco, Silicon Valley , Los Angeles and New York City.

Plus, they’re available for questions during regular business hours. Finally, they generate the reports you need so you’re ready to prepare your taxes or hand them off to your accountant. Wave offers fee-based bookkeeping services, but they lack Intuit QuickBooks Live’s interactive quality. There are other reports, though, that aren’t so easy to understand.

If your business plans to take advantage of the R&D tax credit, choose software to help you automate this process. Again, any accounting software application you purchase will have an invoicing component included, which means accounts receivable tracking as well. If you want to get paid, be sure that you’re regularly invoicing and following up on those invoices. Are you ready to do accounting for your startup but aren’t sure where to begin? We’ll explain the importance of tracking financial transactions and when it’s OK to handle accounting on your own.


But, like errors and omissions insurance I stress the importance of you having it. Figuring out what to charge is any small-business owner’s greatest challenge. Too little and you aren’t fairly compensated for your work; too much and you’ll have a tough time competing with other bookkeeping businesses. The cash-out date is the estimated date you’ll be in business until given your monthly spend and the remainder of the investment you have sitting in your bank account.

This will show your team these values at specific points in time. Reviewing the financial health of your business should also be checked monthly. A question every founder asks is, “do we have enough money to keep operating? ” Looking into your financial standing will help your company see if it has enough cash coming in or if it is time to make changes.

financial statements

Once you’ve settled on a business name, you’ll need to register your business in the state in which you will do business. Fortunately, you don’t have to hold onto physical documents anymore. In fact, an accountant will probably be pretty annoyed with you if you bring them a shoebox full of crumpled paper receipts every year for tax purposes. The primary difference between the two processes is that bookkeeping is an administrative task involving little critical thought.


We looked at dozens of third-party user reviews to see if the providers live up to their marketing claims. This helped to gauge the quality of each product further and provide deeper insights into what each does well—and where they fall short. QuickBooks is a good choice for freelancers and small businesses that need a simple way to track expenses, organize receipts and log mileage. Understanding where your transactions are coming from is vital to your startup. If you know this metric, you can run geographical ads targeted in that area, have an office closer to your customer base, and more. The majority of these records you should store for at least three years in your documents.

  • Some students even get their first client while still in the course!
  • Beyond early-stage startup accounting, you will want to have an accountant during tax season to help with accounting services.
  • With the advent of online banking, bulky bank statements are a thing of the past.

These include NCH, Zoho Books, Kashoo, ZipBooks, Sunrise, GnuCash, TrulySmall Invoices and Wave Accounting. Best practices will be to do journal entries yourself if cash is tight in an early startup. For newer teams, keeping business expenses low is the top priority. A runway is a metric that shows how much cash is on hand compared with how much you spend each month. If you have $11,000 in the bank account and project to spend $1,000 per month, then you have 11 months of the runway if you do not make a penny in revenue. The balance sheet statement shows everything that your business owns , owes , and the value of the business owner’s investments (owner’s equity).

It supports multiple currencies and has a smart selection of features for very small businesses. It doesn’t have a dedicated time-tracking tool, comprehensive mobile access, or inventory management, though. Online accounting software can help you make smarter and better-informed plans for an uncertain future by organizing and automating your daily financial tasks. Every year, we test and rate the top web-based accounting services.

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