By Chrissie Brown

No one is going to be wheeling out the celebratory fizz and jazz hands at the thought of doing their books. At best it’s laborious, at worst it’s frightening. However, it’s for this very reason that you need to do everything in your power to streamline your accounts and do your accounting more efficiently. You may still find it dull, but it’ll be less panic inducing and most importantly, will take less time.

Business owners are usually juggling multiple workloads at once, which can often mean they’re too busy to devote time just to accounting. As a business owner you may find accounting too complicated and full of jargon. Or maybe you’re too laden down to take care of that looming tax return. Perhaps you know your accounts are capable of telling you something, you just don’t know how to read them.

These are all good reasons to make time to tackle your accounts and start approaching them better, giving you back the control. Here are some of the best ways small business owners can get on top of their accounting.

Little and often

Your business books are only as daunting as you let them become. If you use a ‘little and often’ approach then they will never turn in to the looming monster you fear.

If you are responsible for the business accounts, even if it’s not your primary function, segregate some time. Try to allocate 30 minutes to an hour each week for working just on keeping the books up to date.

Also look at cloud accounting options which will free you up to do your books at any location and on the move.

What’s more, it’s considerably easier to do the books and spot potential problems if accounting is a regular habit. This is your time to raise invoices, chase them and sort receipts and expenses. Think of this process as akin to housekeeping: much easier if you do a small amount regularly compared to saving it up for one big blitz.

Put everything in one place

In the same way that if receipts don’t have a set home you lose them, the same can be said for every other aspect of keeping books.

Use a business bank account so that business and personal finances are separate, even if you’re a sole trader. It makes things much simpler from an accounting point of view and it won’t take long to set up. This really comes in to its own if HMRC do a review as there will be no blurry lines. It’s also useful if you use cloud accounting with bank feeds.

A business bank account is also handy for when you want to use your accounts for business decision-making. Being able to quickly generate reports means you don’t get in a tangle over equations or rules. You just get the data you need.

Don’t shy away from it

Really, don’t. Accounts go wrong and become scary when you bury your head in the sand. However, when you face them head on they can become a tool for business growth.

It may seem tempting to do an ostrich in a panic act, but it never works when it comes to accounting. Be confident, you run your own business! The accounts won’t beat you.

Chrissie Brown is a writer for leading small business accounting software Pandle. Easy to use, efficient and accurate. Pandle makes it easy for any small business owner to become an expert bookkeeper. Visit the website for more details and to sign up for free:

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