Accounting for Startups: 7 Bookkeeping Tips for Your Startup

A startup’s team members represent a significant expense in most cases. As a result, you might find yourself spending a lot of time and tedious work paying employees. Opening a business account is as elementary as opening a personal account. It’s vital in helping automate bookkeeping and establishing your firm’s credit history. Opt for a preferable banking institution that offers the right combination of features, benefits, and costs. For now, we don’t have to worry about any of that so we’re going to start with an accounting system that’s very easy to understand and manage.

  • I like to use the analogy of thinking about accountants as architects versus archeologists.
  • At any moment, executives or team members may own public or private stock in any of the third party companies we mention.
  • Using accounting software, running financial statements takes less than a minute, but the details in those reports can tell you a lot about your business.
  • After entering your bills in accounts payable, track them weekly to make sure that they’re paid on time.
  • FinancePal doesn’t just help with accounting, we also provide bookkeeping for startups.
  • But properly tracking your financial transactions is part of being a business owner, whether you’re a startup or an established business owner.

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. Your supplier calls to let you know that they won’t be shipping any products until you pay your bill. While you may not keep physical checks anymore, be sure that you keep your bank statements handy so you can determine if a check has cleared and, if so, request a copy of the check to give your supplier.

Best Business Credit Cards for Startups: 8 Top Picks To Consider

If you believe the rhetoric, it’s a doomsday scenario for those of us who’ve built firms and careers around the language of business, so to speak. Estimate how many hours, on average, you would spend on startup accounting. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there’s continuity from sales to services to support. You’ll also want to keep track of those smaller expenses such as parking fees, postage, printing, and mileage.

You juggle many hats and managing the books shouldn’t be one of them! If you are going to be acquired by a publicly-traded company for hundreds of millions or billions, GAAP will be important. It also makes running your business a lot easier because you are going to see what is going on all the time. Of course, having the right systems set up can dramatically lower the amount of effort required; we’ll get to those systems in a moment. Sending timely reminders and following up on overdue invoices can encourage prompt payment. Additionally, consider implementing a late-payment fee policy to encourage clients to pay on time.

Don’t Mix Personal and Business Expenses

In the beginning, most of your transactions will likely be sales and expenses. Closely tracking these numbers is critical for keeping accurate financial records. Opening a bank account for your startup is fairly simple and takes just a few steps to set up. To begin, you’ll need to figure out which banking institution you’d like to open an account with.

accounting advice for startups

They’re experts on history who gain expertise through historical documents and artifacts. For many who’ve made a living out of numbers, it’s hard to argue. The Association of International Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)’s 2021 Trends Report (download required) showed the number of CPA exam candidates decreased substantially in 2020—17% between 2019 and 2020.

Best accounting software for startups

When we think about complicated financial statements tax returns, or cash flow statements, most of that we’ll farm out to someone with real business accounting experience. We can build a basic accounting system to track our business transactions (think bank statements and credit card statements) using a simple spreadsheet. An automated accounting system is a tool connected to your business bank account and credit cards. It automatically creates a record for each financial transaction and helps you pay bills, schedule invoices, and create financial reports. Another common method is accrual basis accounting, where you record financial transactions when they’re slated.

accounting advice for startups

The more knowledge you can acquire at this stage about tax, the better prepared you’ll be as your business begins to expand. Transactions are recorded in their corresponding journals—most transactions will be part of the general journal. Two entries should be made for every transaction, a debit and a credit. An expense is incurred when the business receives the goods or services, not when you get the bill. Revenue is earned when a sale is made and the goods are provided to the other party, not when you simply collect the money for the goods or services. A report called Profit and Loss is created to show a business entity’s net income or loss in that particular accounting period.


Regardless of how far along you are in getting your startup off the ground, our streamlined bookkeeping platform will help you stay on top of your finances. As you can see, there is a lot that goes into maintaining accurate books and financial records. With all the responsibilities you already have as a business owner, taking on these financial responsibilities may become overwhelming, especially if you have not overseen business finances before.

  • As a result, you might find yourself spending a lot of time and tedious work paying employees.
  • The Association of International Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)’s 2021 Trends Report (download required) showed the number of CPA exam candidates decreased substantially in 2020—17% between 2019 and 2020.
  • But eventually you’ll need to set up your accounting systems, and the longer you wait, the more you’ll have to go back and fix, just like technical debt.
  • For that reason, we encourage you to start preparing for your tax as soon as possible.
  • Quickbooks Online is another popular online accounting software providing users with the services they need to maintain a financially healthy business.

Investing in a professional tax accountant can bring immense value to your business, with a time commitment of a few hours per week or month. An Institute of Business Forecasting and Planning study confirms that businesses can save up to $3.5 million per year with accurate financial forecasting. Whether you are documenting your monthly expenses, getting tax papers in order, or taking care of bills, organizing your accounting back-office is essential.

Accounting Software for Startups

Look for software that integrates with your bank accounts and offers features like online payment processing and automatic data syncing. In this digital age, leveraging technology to automate accounting processes can save time and reduce the likelihood of human error. In such a scenario, it may be difficult to obtain the necessary funding for business expansion or complete capital expenditures. Having your accounting and bookkeeping in order will help you get external funding or bank financing for major purchases. Whenever there is a major purchase in the offing, a business will need to have adequate cash flow to meet it.

accounting advice for startups

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