#1: Monitor the Financial Success or Failure of Your Business
It’s hard to know where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been. The same is true with your business – it’s hard to know how your business is doing without a clear financial picture. A good financial system provides answers to the questions: Am I making money? Are sales increasing? How do expenditures compare to sales?
#2: Provides the Information You Need to Make Decisions
Evaluating financial consequences should be part of every business decision. Without accurate records and financial information, it’s difficult to forecast the impact of any given course of action. For example, financial information gives insight as to whether or not it pays to hire another salesperson. Accurate records reveal the profitability of any line item.
#3: Obtain Bank Financing
The best time to seek financing is when you don’t need it. The bank will want to see your income statement, balance sheet and tax returns for the most current and prior years, as well as projected statements showing the impact of the requested loan.
#4: Obtain Other Sources of Capital
If your business has reached the point where you need to take in a partner or investor, any prospective associate will want to become intimately familiar with your financial picture. Suppliers and other creditors may also ask for certain financial records. The source of this information is based on your day-to-day recordkeeping.
#5: Prepare a Budget
All businesses should use budgets for planning purposes. Budgets keep businesses on track by forecasting cash needs and controlling expenditures. When companies seek financing, bankers or prospective investors look for budgets as evidence of planning and stability.
#6: Prepare Your Income Tax Return
No matter what your business entity, you must file an income tax return and pay income taxes. With good records, preparing an accurate tax return will be easier and filing will more likely be done on time. Poor recordkeeping may result in underpayment or overpayment of your taxes. If your CPA prepares your tax return, poor records could result in higher accounting costs.
#7: Comply with Federal and State Payroll Tax Rules
If you have employees, you are aware of the myriad of rules and regulations relating to payroll taxes. Payroll tax must be deposited according to strict deadlines. Late payments of payroll taxes result in severe penalties, including jail time!
Payroll tax returns must be filed quarterly, and must reconcile with payroll deposits made during the quarter. At year end, you’re required to give employees and the government W-2 forms, which must agree with your quarterly payroll returns. Sound bookkeeping practices, even if you use a payroll processor, will make compliance with payroll rules easy. Poor records will make it impossible.
#8: Submit Sales Taxes
If you collect sales tax, good records make it easy for you to compute the tax due and prepare the required reports. Sales tax must be deposited according to strict deadlines. Late payment of sales taxes can result in severe and unnecessary penalties and interest.
#9: Distribute Profits
If your business is a partnership, you will need good records to determine the correct amount of profits to distribute to each partner. If you’re operating as a corporation, profits that you’ll be paying out as dividends to the shareholders must be determined.