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Bookkeeping Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

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This post lists the top most common bookkeeping mistakes made by small businesses which many will encounter at some stage of their business growth.

From one-person entities to major corporations, bookkeeping is a significant part of any business operation. While it is typically not one of the more glamorous jobs, bookkeeping is crucial for a company’s success, and errors can cost the company significantly. Below are some of the most common errors that small business owners would want to avoid.

  1. Not saving receipts of less than $75. While such receipts may not be required by the CRA they provide backup documentation for the many deductions you may claim. It is very simple to have a folder for such receipts, which can prove valuable at tax reporting time.
  2. Doing it yourself. No matter how much they hate it, many small business owners insist upon handling the books themselves. Having a competent bookkeeper coming in to handle the books can be very beneficial as they have the skills to do the job quickly and efficiently and will provide a second pair of eyes to find errors and make valuable suggestions.
  3. Forgetting to track reimbursable expenses. Small business owners often pay for expenses out of pocket or with their own personal credit card then make the mistakes of failing to track these expenses. They then fail to submit the expenses to the company for reimbursement.
  4. Not properly classifying employees. The proliferation of independent contractors, consultants, and freelancers has made it difficult to determine who is on staff and who is not, which results in misfiling when it comes to filing taxes since there are different rules and regulations for employees and non-employees.
  5. Lack of communication. Having someone handling bookkeeping is only effective if they are kept up to date on all financial transactions. A frequent mistake is paying someone a bonus and not reporting it or buying supplies and not providing the bookkeeper with the information or receipts.
  6. Not reconciling the books with the bank statement each month. One of the fundamental aspects of bookkeeping is reconciling the books and bank statements every month. Nonetheless, there are businesses that do not do this and others where errors are made by not doing it properly.
  7. No backup. The paperless office does not exist in the real world, where audits do still exist. A paper trail, documentation or verification in the form of backup documents should be available, especially if all files are on the computer system, which could be prone to technical problems.
  8. Not deducting sales tax. A common mistake in retail businesses is not deducting the sales tax from the total sales. This results in a higher total sales amount and does not lower the amount of taxes due.
  9. Petty cash nonchalance. A system should be set up whereby a set amount of money is in petty cash and each time money is taken out for any purpose, a petty cash slip is filled out. When the fund is exhausted, the slips will total the original amount and a check can be written to cash to set up the full amount again.
  10. Miscategorization or overcategorization. There are fairly standard categories for expenses. However, often expenses are entered into the wrong categories or too many categories are created. Use general bookkeeping guidelines for standard categorization and create as few new categories as possible. Try to follow generally accepted accounting practices.

An outsourced bookkeeping solution can help in avoiding mistakes like these. Online bookkeeping can be a an affordable and cost effective outsourced solution to solve this.

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LedgersOnline provides affordable bookkeeping services for any business anywhere.

Contact us or learn more about our affordable bookkeeping services and see how we can help you with your books regardless of your location with clients across North America.

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