PDF Accounting Made Simple: Business Accounting Basics

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Subtract your on-hand cash amount at the end of that period from your on-hand cash at the beginning, then divide that number by the number of months in the period or by your chosen cadence. Capital refers to the money you have to invest or spend on growing your business. Reducing your COGS can help you increase profit without increasing sales. Equity refers to the amount of money invested in a business by its owners. A business with healthy positive equity is attractive to potential investors , lenders, and buyers.

Expenses include any purchases you make or money you spend in an effort to generate revenue. A fiscal year is the time period a company uses for accounting.

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The start and end dates of your fiscal year are determined by your company; some coincide with the calendar year, while others vary based on when accountants can prepare financial statements. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, otherwise known as GAAP, refers to the widely accepted guidelines for accounting and financial reporting.

GAAP compliance is especially important for publicly-traded companies as many investors and lenders also rely on and prefer to trust GAAP-compliant reporting when making their decisions. Liabilities are everything that your company owes in the long or short term. Your liabilities could include a credit card balance, payroll, taxes, or a loan. You can do this by staying on top of your net profit amount, setting aside some of your revenue in a separate savings account, or paying your estimated taxes every quarter like employer withholding.

Your revenue is the total amount of money you collect in exchange for your goods or services before any expenses are taken out. However, they will help you better understand how to do accounting for your small business — which we review next. Accounting is a complex discipline. Note : This is simply an overview of the discipline of accounting.

For your first order of business, decide where to keep your money. If your business is an LLC, Partnership, or Corporation, you are required to have a separate business bank account. Having a separate bank account for your business income and expenses will make your accounting easier. Believe me — only having to look at one set of bank statements is a lifesaver during tax season. Look for a bank that has a local branch as well as robust online banking.

Top 15 Accounting Books Recommended Most Times by Business Owners, Students or Accounting Pro’s

Also, be sure the bank can integrate with your point-of-sale POS system and other technological needs. Business bank accounts typically charge more than personal accounts and often have a higher minimum balance. Check these numbers before committing to a bank and a business account. And remember, before you can open any business accounts, you must have a registered business name. Finally, consider opening a business credit card.

Also, Corporations and LLCs are required to have a separate line of credit outside their personal accounts. Many business expenses are tax deductions — expenses that deduct from what you owe in taxes. The catch? In order to claim a deduction, you need to keep a record of that expense. Historically, keeping, filing, and reviewing paper receipts was a time-consuming task. My mom used to pay year-old me to organize receipts by date and highlight the vendor and total amount … now I understand why. Software, apps, and cloud-based bookkeepers have made it a breeze to track expenses and not have to keep hundreds of receipts lying around.

Check out solutions like Rydoo , Expensify , Zoho Expense , and Shoeboxed to help manage your expenses. In case you need to support these expenses, we recommend that you keep the following documents. Rule of thumb: When in doubt, keep everything. Basically, bookkeeping keeps you from spending and making money without tracking it. Bookkeeping is an ongoing task. Technically, you should be doing it every day, but we all know life can get in the way. Ideally, you should complete your bookkeeping every month so you can keep a thumb on the pulse of your income, expenses, and overall business performance.

This method is more commonly used as it more accurately depicts the performance of a business over time.

Do you plan on hiring employees or contractors? Payroll is another tedious yet required part of accounting.


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Hallelujah for modern day technology, right? Employees and independent contractors are classified differently and give your business different tax deductions. You can deduct employee wages salaries and commission bonuses employee education expenses, and employee benefits accident and health plans, adoption assistance, life insurance, and more from your taxes. You can also deduct payroll taxes, which are employment taxes paid on behalf of your employees like Social Security and Medicare as well as federal and state unemployment taxes.

Employees should submit a W-4 form so you know how much tax to withhold. In exchange, you should provide employees with a W-2 form , which summarizes their yearly gross pay. They use this to pay personal taxes. A form tells the government how much you spent for their services — so you can write this amount on your tax return, and so they can assume the tax burden on their return.

Business Accounting - P1 : Accounting Basics Definition

This sounds like more fun, huh? Your method of collecting money is often referred to as your payment gateway. Depending on the nature of your business, how you collect money will vary. As a freelance writer, I rarely work with clients in person. Because of that, I collect most of my payments through an online gateway. PayPal is a popular choice for collecting payments. You can also use software like Wave , Xero or Bench. Not only can you invoice clients through these programs, but you can also conduct bookkeeping, payroll, and other accounting tasks.

These charge fees, though, so consider that when making your decision. Another way to collect payment is through mobile applications like Venmo or Square Cash — just be sure to send an invoice as proof of payment. Lastly, you can always collect payment via check … it just takes a bit longer than an online transfer. Send an invoice with this method, too. Collecting money in person at a storefront, marketplace, etc. Financial accounting focuses on the reporting of an organization's financial information to external users of the information, such as investors, potential investors and creditors.

It calculates and records business transactions and prepares financial statements for the external users in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles GAAP. Financial accounting produces past-oriented reports—for example the financial statements prepared in reports on performance in —on an annual or quarterly basis, generally about the organization as a whole. This branch of accounting is also studied as part of the board exams for qualifying as an actuary.

These two types of professionals, accountants and actuaries, have created a culture of being archrivals. Management accounting focuses on the measurement, analysis and reporting of information that can help managers in making decisions to fulfill the goals of an organization. In management accounting, internal measures and reports are based on cost-benefit analysis , and are not required to follow the generally accepted accounting principle GAAP.

The result of research from across 20 countries in five continents, the principles aim to guide best practice in the discipline. Management accounting produces future-oriented reports—for example the budget for is prepared in —and the time span of reports varies widely. Such reports may include both financial and non financial information, and may, for example, focus on specific products and departments.

#2 – Accounting for Non-Accountants

Auditing is the verification of assertions made by others regarding a payoff, [35] and in the context of accounting it is the " unbiased examination and evaluation of the financial statements of an organization". An audit of financial statements aims to express or disclaim an opinion on the financial statements. The auditor expresses an opinion on the fairness with which the financial statements presents the financial position, results of operations, and cash flows of an entity, in accordance with the generally acceptable accounting principle GAAP and "in all material respects".

An auditor is also required to identify circumstances in which the generally acceptable accounting principles GAAP has not been consistently observed.