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One thing that all small businesses have in common is the need to keep records.  Bookkeeping is essential and it will help you to complete your tax return each year, too.

Free accounting software

Of course, many people hire an accountant to do their bookkeeping for them in addition to filling in the required information on their tax return.  This is the best way to make sure that everything is done properly and to ensure that you are claiming for all the legitimate expenses that you should be. A key thing to remember why accountants are integral to all businesses is their ability to best advise you how to legally reduce your tax liability.

But one thing that many people don’t realise is that an accountant will charge you more if they have to do more work.  It makes sense of course, but the more bookkeeping you can do yourself the less you will need to pay your accountant each year.

So with that in mind let’s see what else you can do to keep accurate records yourself.

Buy a Book

There are lots of good books out there that will give you the knowledge you need to be able to keep your own records more accurately.  A rough set of records and a bag full of receipts is the sure way to get a large bill from the accountant who has to sort them all out!

As such investing in some good quality books to help you understand the process of bookkeeping is a good investment in the future of your business – and in your cash flow.

The main thing to remember is to make sure you get an up to date bookkeeping book.  It will contain all the relevant information that you will need to know.

Take a Course

There are a number of good bookkeeping courses available that you can take to learn more about how to maintain your own records.  For example the Open University has courses that you can fit into your own free time as and when you can at home.

Alternatively you might be able to enrol in a bookkeeping course at your local college or night school.  These usually give you some kind of qualification as well, which you might even be able to use to help out other people in the future.

Buy Accounting Software

There are lots of different software programs you can buy to install on your computer if you would prefer keeping your accounts electronically.  The good thing to be said about these is that they take a lot of the hard work out of doing certain things.  For example the calculations might be done for you, instead of you having to work them all out on a calculator.  Needless to say this can save you valuable time and energy that could be better spent growing your business.

Free accounting software

Some software programs are available to download online, and in this case you can often get a free trial to experiment with before buying it.  Find one you are comfortable with and then learn how to use it on a day to day basis.

Keep a Spreadsheet

Some people don’t actually use any kind of software to help them do their accounts.  They will use a spreadsheet set up exactly how it needs to be for their particular business, and keep all the details on that.

This has the advantage of allowing you to email your accounts over to your accountant, which is a lot faster than going to see them in person.

Alternatively you could do things the old fashioned way and keep your accounts quite literally in one or more ledgers or accounting books.  This is not as practical now that there are many other ways of doing it electronically, but for some it is still the preferred method.

As you can see there are plenty of choices available to you when it comes to bookkeeping.  The main thing is to do as much as you can yourself and to find the right method that appeals to you the most.  There is certainly a lot of information out there that you can use to help you keep your small business records adequately.

And as we have already learned, the more knowledge you have in keeping good records, the less you will have to pay to your accountant.

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