5 Tips to Get Your Bookkeeping Right From Day One

  • Small business owners have a lot on their plate, and it's all too easy to lose track of financial record keeping.
  • While it's possible to live off Excel spreadsheets or online accounting software,  there are some key differences in bookkeeping habits between businesses that fail and those that succeed.
  • Keep reading to learn 5 tips that will help you get your bookkeeping right from day one.

For entrepreneurs, coming up with an idea and starting a new business can happen with a blink of an eye.

The challenge comes when money starts heading out the door for expenses such as office rent, internet costs, paying employees or contractors, when revenue starts coming in the door and staying up to date and compliant with the ATO.

A very small business may get away with living off spreadsheets or free online accounting tools to get you by, but from my experience working with a number of startups, there are some very clear differences between the businesses that fail and the ones that get past year one.

What bookkeeping challenges do small businesses face?

Here are some of the most common bookkeeping challenges small business owners face:

  • Not invoicing your customers correctly or on time leading to lost income and poor customer experience.
  • Losing important receipts or not allocating then to the correct expense accounts, which could mean paying to much tax or not being able to justify the expense to the tax department.
  • Incorrect preparation of your BAS. You will pay either too much or too little to the ATO. Both will result in you being out of pocket somewhere down the line.
  • Wasted time being spent by yourself or an employee on record keeping, data entry mistakes and liaising with external groups like the ATO. Surely, your time is more valuable doing other things like selling your products or services.
  • Unable to correctly reconcile business loan accounts. Very costly when your accountant needs to come in and determine what is right or wrong or worst case you are audited.
  • Pouring money down the drain when an external bookkeeper or accountant needs to fix up your mistakes when it could have been down correctly the first time.

What are the top bookkeeping tips for small businesses?

Here are 5 bookkeeping tips to help you get your small business accounts right from day one:

  1. Educate yourself
  2. Get the right software
  3. Set up a chart of accounts
  4. Prepare your BAS correctly 
  5. Set aside time to review your accounts regularly 

1. Educate yourself

If you are going to do it yourself, then educate yourself. Find a bookkeeping course or pay for some training from people who know what they are doing.

2. Get the right software

Find the right online bookkeeping software program. It can only cost as little as $29 per month to have a complete accounting package that can do all your invoicing, tracking expenses, attaching important files like receipts and BAS preparation.

3. Set up a chart of accounts 

Set your chart of accounts up correctly. Have a chat with your accountant if you have one. You will be charged by your accountant at years end to make changes if you just go with what you think is best.

4. Prepare your BAS correctly 

Prepare your BAS correctly. This will save you time and money. Don’t take it for granted that your revenue and expenses have the right tax code associated with each transaction.

If your accounting software allows it, run some detailed general ledger reports to make sure everything is in the right place before lodging with the ATO and setup matching rules when importing your bank transactions to save yourself time.

5. Set aside time to review your accounts regularly 

Find time each month to actually sit and review your profit & loss reports, balance sheet, and cash flow. A great way to keep on top of how you are performing and it will also highlight issues in your bookkeeping that you can have someone fix straight away.

If you have any other tips that would also help please feel free to leave a comment below.

Andrew Oldham

National Business Manager at

Passionate about helping other people achieve success personally and in the business. https://www.facebook.com/howtotranformyourlife

Comments (1)
Arrnell Gapusan

Arrnell Gapusan, Community Manager at SavvySME

Wonderful article Andrew. Thanks for sharing