The Must-Have Small Business Accounting Checklist

You can store them in a file, organize them by date or alphabetical order, or use an expense tracking system. Before you can get your business a bank account, you’ll need to register it with the state. Your business needs a name and other personalized details for you to open an account.

All you need is a simple statement showing your current cash position, expected upcoming cash receipts, and expected cash payments for this period. There are a few business accounting basics you should understand to ensure your business operations run smoothly. While you may be an expert at sales or marketing, you should never undermine the importance of basic accounting. Without a clear financial picture, it can be nearly impossible to move your business forward. Below, you’ll find important accounting terms and principles that can help you get started.

The annual financial report is your detailed proof that you and your team did a great job and a way of communicating the company’s strategy for the year ahead. There are many purposes inbuilt within an effective accounts payable process. In this checklist, you’ll start at the point of preparing your takings for the bank, and then you’ll be checking your own math – and that of the bank – to make sure it’s all correct. This checklist will provide a streamlined method of creating invoices while saving time in the process. In this checklist, we focus on the administrative tasks required to bring someone new into your company, and then guide you through bedding a team member into the group.

  1. One of the easiest ways to stay in compliance is to open a separate bank account and credit or debit card for all business transactions.
  2. You’ll have a better outcome and be proactive in protecting the financial interests of your company.
  3. Business accounting is the process of gathering and analyzing financial information on business activity, recording transactions, and producing financial statements.

You don’t need to be a CPA to create a balance sheet or an invoice. Our checklists enable anyone to perform accounting activities, and as you go through you’ll see the different steps explained where necessary. For many small businesses, the year-end accounting process can feel overwhelming.

It’s geared toward US companies but has a broad enough scope to assist businesses internationally. It’s geared to work for companies with both partnership and corporation structures. If you’re starting off in business, you might not know how much tax you have to pay or what you’re paying that tax for. This helps you work out your gross profit, your profit before taxes, your retained earnings, and other important terms any good accounting overview of your business will need to represent.

One of the best ways to handle the hectic schedules is to maintain a calendar with fixed hours dedicated to monitoring accounts every day. Don’t overlook the important step of creating the right entity for your business. As you talk to a legal professional, you can understand how these pros and cons will affect the long-term outcome for your business efforts. Consult the infographic at the bottom of this post as a quick reference. And download and print the list below; it’s a handy guide that will help keep your small business in sound financial shape.

Consequences of Neglecting Your Accounting Checklist

Ideally, vendors should offer 30 days to settle payments, you can often negotiate longer terms if your company is low on cash. While you’re at it, identify trouble spots, and make adjustments to improve sales and margins. Whether you have a seasoned or new business, brick and mortar or eCommerce, there are numerous monthly accounting tasks you need to handle. One of the easiest ways to stay in compliance is to open a separate bank account and credit or debit card for all business transactions. You usually need to bring your articles of incorporation or organization, employer identification number (EIN), and personal identification.


If you’re looking for a specific answer, use the links below to jump to a section of your choosing. Reconciling bank accounts and credit cards is an important part of the year-end procedures. You can compare your bank account statement with accounting records to verify the spending.

Pay vendors and sign checks

Create a payroll file sorted by payroll date and a bank statement file sorted by month. Many accounting software systems let you scan paper receipts and avoid physical files altogether. Accounting is an essential part of running a business, whether you’re a small mom-and-pop shop or a large corporation.

If you are only just starting out and have no clue where to begin, this article is for you. We will take you through the essentials of setting up your accounting for a new business. Sending invoices notifies your customers about a payment, but you’ll still need to find a way to accept that payment. For example, if you pay for a software subscription, record that transaction. You may also keep receipts for fuel expenses you rack up while travelling for your business.

Review sales tax and make quarterly payments

Accounting software makes it possible to do much of this on your own, though you may decide to outsource some basic bookkeeping tasks to an online bookkeeping service as your small business grows. Online bookkeeping systems make it easy to outsource your accounting to a company like Enkel when things get too complex, time-consuming, or costly. It is smart to have regular internal audits and bank reconciliations to ensure that all of the accounts are in order. A little bit of proactive work right now can go a long way to helping you avoid a big headache in the future. Keeping track of inventory on a daily basis also reduces theft or loss of merchandise. For more information, check out our guide to the best inventory management software.

Well, to answer the question, yes; it is entirely possible to do accounting on your own. How well you do it depends on the scale of the business and your depth of knowledge on the matter. As we saw, there are various online bookkeeping software options that can help record transactions and streamline various accounting processes.

Compute estimated income tax and make payments

After you’ve determined the value of each unsellable inventory item, you can take a write-down on the total value of those items, and deduct that figure from your year-end taxes. Each quarter, you should take a close look at your profit and loss statement to get a firm understanding of the financial condition of your small business. This evaluation should look at your profitability, profit spending habits, asset stability, and the difference between revenue and expenses. The goal is to identify any trouble areas and make adjustments that will help the business be more profitable. The filing system can be set up any way you choose, but you’ll probably want to include files for payroll, vendor invoices, and expense receipts sorted by category. For instance, if your vendors offer early payment discounts, schedule the payments early to take advantage of them.

It will also help keep track of payroll expenses so you can make changes to your labor mix and stay within your own budgets. It is essential to do this every day, because it’s easier to spot discrepancies with recent transactions. You’re also bound by state labor laws and workers’ compensation requirements. Each employee will need to receive a W-2 and contractors earning over $600 will receive a 1099 so they can file their taxes.

This is one of your key reports for itemizing what the company owes and owns. This checklist guides you through what documentation you will need to consult, how to structure new business accounting checklist and record your report, and how to work out the important final figures. This process brings all of the different employees involved in the process, into the conversation.