How To Do Accounting For Small Business MAY 11, 20246 MIN READ
How To Do Accounting For Small Business


Small business accounting involves meticulously recording all income and expenses and extracting financial data from transactions. It's a vital task that enables owners to efficiently track and manage finances, particularly in the early stages. This article will explain the ways of accounting for a business.

For instance, it helps in understanding past and current business performance, generating invoices, and handling payroll.

What Is Business Accounting?

Business accounting encompasses both bookkeeping and managerial accounting, facilitating the management of a company's daily financial activities while charting long-term financial objectives. It involves a spectrum of tasks, from forecasting to invoicing, enabling informed decision-making at both strategic and operational levels through financial tracking, analysis, recordkeeping, budgeting, and more.

Primarily geared towards smaller enterprises, business accounting can be handled internally or outsourced to an accounting firm based on the company's size and requirements. At its core, business accounting revolves around management, focusing on monitoring vital aspects like cash flow, expenses, and inventory.

Financial advisors leverage the insights gleaned from business accounting to aid small business owners in pivotal financial decisions concerning both future plans and day-to-day operations.

How to Make Accounting for Small Business?

As a small business proprietor, embarking on accounting entails laying a solid groundwork. This encompasses four essential activities:

1. Establishing a bank account for your small business.

Setting up a business bank account is essential for segregating business and personal finances, a practice crucial for streamlined tax filing, particularly if you intend to claim deductible expenses. When opening a small business bank account, certain prerequisites typically include:

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security number, depending on your business structure. For instance, if you operate as a sole proprietor, you may use your Social Security number.

  • Business formation documents, such as articles of incorporation or partnership agreements, depending on your business type, you can look to affiliate marketing niches for reference.

  • Ownership agreements detailing the share of ownership among partners or shareholders.

  • A business license, if your state mandates it for conducting business operations.

2. Selecting an accounting approach.

Your choice of accounting method dictates how you record income and expenses throughout the year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers two options: cash and accrual. Let's explore each:

  • Cash Method: With this approach, you record income and expenses when cash actually exchanges hands. For example, if you receive payment from a customer in December, you report it as income in that month, just like the biggest online shopping websites, regardless of when the work was completed.

  • Accrual Method: Here, you record income and expenses when they're earned or incurred, regardless of when the cash is received or paid. For instance, if you invoice a client in December for work completed in that month, you record the income in December, even if the payment arrives in January.

Each method has its pros and cons, impacting your financial reporting and tax obligations. It's crucial to weigh these factors and choose the method that aligns best with your business's needs and goals.

3. Refined Trial Balance

After adjusting entries are made, the next step involves preparing an adjusted trial balance. This crucial step ensures that the total debits align with the total credits following the adjustment process. Essentially, it serves as a final check to verify the accuracy of the accounting records before proceeding to generate the business's financial statements.

Let's say a company accrues $1,000 of unpaid expenses at the end of the accounting period. After recording this adjustment, the adjusted trial balance confirms that the total debits equal the total credits, validating the accuracy of the financial data. This paves the way for the preparation of the company's comprehensive financial statements, providing stakeholders with a clear picture of its financial health.

4. Deciding on the fiscal year for your business.

A fiscal year spans 12 consecutive months during which accounting transactions are recorded. Small business owners have the flexibility to determine the start and end dates of their fiscal year, as long as it covers a full 12-month period.

For example, you could opt to commence your fiscal year on July 1, concluding on June 30 of the subsequent calendar year. Alternatively, you might prefer a conventional approach, aligning your fiscal year with the standard calendar year. This decision hinges on what best suits your business needs.

Suppose you operate a seasonal enterprise, such as a beach resort. In that case, you may elect to synchronize your fiscal year with the start or conclusion of your peak sales season. This strategic alignment ensures that your financial reporting accurately reflects the fluctuations in revenue and expenses throughout the year, providing a clearer picture of your business's performance.

Examples When Selecting Accounting Software

Accounting software streamlines financial management, aids in tax preparation, and offers insights into a company's financial status. With a plethora of options available, businesses can select software tailored to their needs and budget. Factors like business type, industry, online wholesale market, and workforce size play a crucial role in determining the most suitable accounting software.

Here are some top accounting software systems:

  • QuickBooks Online

This versatile accounting solution caters to the needs of small business owners and freelancers alike. Its robust feature set includes invoicing, payment tracking, payroll management, receipt capture, customizable report generation, project management tools, and assistance in identifying tax deductions. The availability of these features varies depending on the chosen plan.

  • FreshBooks

Renowned for its user-friendly mobile app and online platform, FreshBooks enables seamless integration of online payments into its system. It offers extensive customization options, prioritizing customer-centricity. Additional functionalities encompass time tracking, project management tools, report generation, payment tracking, and the ability to convert estimates into invoices.

  • Xero

This cloud-based accounting software caters to small and medium-sized enterprises with its range of features. With three distinct plans, Xero offers tools such as expense management, bank connectivity, and online payment capabilities. Furthermore, it facilitates project tracking, payroll management, and inventory tracking, making it a comprehensive solution for businesses of varying sizes and complexities.


Embrace business accounting principles to steer your small business towards its goals and financial aspirations. Enroll in the "Introduction to Financial Accounting" course offered by UPenn to grasp essential skills like interpreting income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Alternatively, gain a solid foundation in bookkeeping through Intuit's professional certificate program. These resources empower you to make informed financial decisions and propel your business forward with confidence.

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