7 Common Small Business Accounting Mistakes

Keeping your company books in order can be tough. It’s hard to find the time to give it the proper attention. When you finally do, understanding the complicated, ever-changing accounting rules can be a challenge. Consider these common accounting mistakes to ensure they do not happen to your business:

  1. Mixing in personal expenses. Having non-business costs included in your financials will harm your business in three ways. First, your financial statements will not accurately portray your business performance. Second, personal expenses are a drag on your available cash. Third, the IRS is quick to deny legitimate business expenses as tax deductions if it perceives that personal expenses are comingled. Common sources of non-business expenses to watch for are credit card charges and expense reimbursements.
  2. Not keeping your books current. Think bookkeeping is frustrating? Try waiting a month or two to enter your transactions. Falling behind has a compounding effect on the time needed to get back on track. Complex entries get even more complicated as your ability to quickly recall transaction details diminishes over time. All the while, your business continues to run and set you back even more. Set a goal to have all transactions entered by the end of every week.
  3. Entering capital assets as expenses. Because capital assets provide long-term value, they are entered on the balance sheet and depreciated over multiple years. Mis­classifying a capital asset as an expense will torpedo your net income for that period. To avoid this, review large purchases and comb expense accounts likely to be hiding capital assets during your month-end review. Remember, while you depreciate these capital assets over many years on your books, special tax treatment allows certain capital assets to be fully deducted on your taxes.
  4. Not performing monthly bank reconciliations. When you receive your monthly bank statements, ensure they are reconciled to your books within a week or two. Bank reconciliations almost always identify errors. Delaying bank reconciliations will add unneeded complexity and decrease your chances of correcting an error.
  5. Mishandling of sales tax. Many businesses book sales tax they receive as revenue. This is not the proper treatment. Sales tax you receive should be entered as a liability until you remit it to the proper tax authority, ultimately avoiding your income statement altogether. Conversely, sales tax you pay on purchases should be booked as an expense.
  6. Lacking proper documentation. Most business owners know that you need to save invoices and receipts for sales and purchases, but what about documentation for adjustments and journal entries? Proving these are just as important. Contracts, time sheets and shipping documents are some examples of substantiation required to support your entries.
  7. Devoting too much of your time. Most entrepreneurs start their business for reasons other than spending hours working on the books. Don’t get bogged down worrying about the inner-workings of accounting rules and tax laws. Partnering with an expert to handle your bookkeeping needs can free you up to use your expertise where it’s needed the most — running and growing your business.

Contact us today to discuss your business bookkeeping needs or to schedule an appointment.

calculator to keep company books in order

As always, we hope you find our tips and news for businesses valuable, and look forward to receiving your feedback. Companies focused on growth have sought the help of Insero & Co. for more than 40 years. During that time they have consistently experienced the peace of mind that comes from knowing their CPA firm takes the concept of integrity seriously. Should you have any questions, please contact us directly.