Bookkeeping 101: Bookkeeping Basics for Small Businesses

Business bookkeeping principles

Accounting is for trained professionals who can give a fuller summary of your company’s financial realities. Accountants rely on financial statements from bookkeepers to do their work, but they also look for larger trends and the way money works across the business. That’s why it’s so important to understand the nuances between bookkeeping and accounting. Both of these aspects of your business are crucial for financial management and decision-making. Today, we’ll go over the differences between bookkeeping and accounting so that you can figure out how to allocate resources effectively. Journal entries are the initial records of financial transactions in chronological order.

At the same time, businesses need to make sure they pay their own bills on time to avoid late fees and maintain a solid reputation. These expenses that haven’t been paid yet are categorized as accounts payable. Accounting principles differ around the world, meaning that it’s not always easy to compare the financial statements of companies from different countries.


Mrs. White gave you £10 / $10 and somewhere else in your accounts you have have £10 / $10 being deposited in your bank account but we would not know how that money came to be generated. The ten pounds does business bookkeeping not magically appear in an account; it was a payment for some thing. A double-entry system is designed to clearly show where the money you place into the bank account came from and how it was generated.

Assets, liabilities, and equity make up the accounts that compose the company’s balance sheet. The financial transactions are all recorded, but they have to be summarized at the end of specific time periods. Other smaller firms may require reports only at the end of the year in preparation for doing taxes.

How to Make Journal Entries for Bookkeeping

These critics claim having strict rules means that companies must spend an unfair amount of their resources to comply with industry standards. This accounting principle defines the two most common accounting methods firms use – accrual basis and cash basis. In accrual basis accounting, financial statements match income and expenses when they are incurred. For example, accrual-based accounting would track an invoice as it’s sent out and not when it’s paid. Cash basis accounting only reflects income as invoices are received and expenses as bills are paid. A bookkeeping system is merely an established method of tracking income and expenses so that you can readily tell how your business is faring.

  • It only works if your company is relatively small with a low volume of transactions.
  • In bookkeeping, you have to record each financial transaction in the accounting journal that falls into one of these three categories.
  • Following GAAP guidelines and being GAAP compliant is an essential responsibility of any publicly traded U.S. company.
  • This guide is designed to simplify the bookkeeping process for you, providing you with the basics from proper setup of all of your accounts to why it’s important to record transactions promptly.
  • With this type of service, you can communicate completely by email or phone without having to set aside time to meet in person.
  • It’s not just about recording transactions; it’s about understanding and utilizing financial information to grow your company.

This principle is essential for accurately reflecting a company’s financial performance. Bookkeeping data is used for financial analysis, allowing businesses to assess performance, plan for the future, and make informed financial decisions. Business owners can use this data to assess the profitability of their operations, identify areas for improvement, and make strategic decisions to drive growth.

What is the Difference Between Bookkeeping and Accounting?

This guide is designed to simplify the bookkeeping process for you, providing you with the basics from proper setup of all of your accounts to why it’s important to record transactions promptly. Essentially, this principle requires accountants to report financial information only in the relevant accounting period. For example, if an accounting team is compiling a report on the revenue earned within a quarter, the report must focus only on that exact period. Companies also have to set up their computerized accounting systems when they set up bookkeeping for their businesses.

  • In Europe and elsewhere, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are established by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).
  • The service you decide to use depends on the needs of your business and may include extra features such as payroll or tax documents.
  • Although privately held companies are not required to abide by GAAP, publicly traded companies must file GAAP-compliant financial statements to be listed on a stock exchange.
  • IFRS is a standards-based approach that is used internationally, while GAAP is a rules-based system used primarily in the U.S.
  • GAAP is managed and published by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which regularly updates the list of principles and standards.
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