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Bookkeepers are the backbone of our organizations, working diligently to keep our financial records in order. Their organizational skills are an essential component to the success of any corporation. From single person teams to large organizations, they keep the fiscal data structured so that we can easily extract the information needed to make key business decisions. If you are just starting out, you may be weighing the pros and cons of hiring a bookkeeper for your small business. Perhaps you are wondering if paying someone to maintain the books is worth the cost involved.

Many business owners underestimate the amount of time and energy that is required to track their company's fiscal details. The job of bookkeepers takes patience and diligence. Tracking all receipts, even those less than $100, is essential when it is time to file our taxes. Should the IRS decide to audit us, being able to locate our receipts quickly is also crucial. Unfortunately, a paperless office system is not a possibility, and so keeping an organized paper trail is an essential task that bookkeepers perform. Although it is a job that a company owner can handle, an owner ought to be focused on core business activities rather than the financial minutiae involved in this type of work.

Account Statement Reconciliation

Bookkeepers can function as another set of eyes to help us avoid one of the most common basic accounting errors caused by not reconciling our accounts with our bank statements. Reconciling the records and bank statements each month is one of the most important tasks bookkeepers perform. Errors can be made by not doing this on a monthly basis, and they are not uncommon even when we think we have reconciled correctly. This is why having a competent, trusted bookkeeper working on your books is so important. Even the most minor inconsistency between the records and account statement can turn into a potentially large, costly issue when not corrected. We can avoid overdraft fees and potential fines by keeping our books balanced to our account statements.

Bank statement reconciliation is an important financial auditing task that each company must do to ensure there are no mistakes or unauthorized transactions. A good bookkeeper reviews the bank statement each month, enters the fees charged by the bank, and reconciles the statement. If months have gone by and this task has not been done, chances are good that there will be a problem. When our books match up to our account balances, we can be sure that the bank has not made an error on their end. If an employee was stealing money or a check had not cleared, reconciliation would reveal these issues so we could deal with them appropriately. Bookkeepers are skilled at identifying issues and correcting them promptly so we can work on growing our organization.

Proper Categorization of Expenses

Bookkeepers must properly categorize expenses so a company can know where it is spending its money. Expenses have to be tracked in standard categories such as meals and entertainment, office supplies, salaries and utilities. Miscategorization or overcategorization is a common source of error that can lead to significant time wasted at tax season trying to find the items that were improperly categorized. Accurate categorization of expenses also allows company owners to identify specific areas where expenditures are inflated, such as utilities or supply orders, so these expenses can be reduced. Without an accurate system in place, we run the risk of losing track of where the money is going and overspending.

Bookkeepers are expert users of double entry accounting software, which helps them to keep the books balanced and produce the financial reports that drive key decisions. The time a bookkeeper can save us makes them an invaluable resource to our organizations. When we consider the time and energy involved to post all of the company's transactions to the correct category, reconcile the accounts, discover the source of errors, and produce financial reports, it is clearly worthwhile to hire a person devoted to this task. When corporate leaders choose to handle the accounting themselves, it is all too common for other tasks to take precedence. This is a dangerous risk for an owner to take, and at worst could result in the failure of the venture.

An effective bookkeeping system must ideally be attended to on a daily basis. Some business owners and entrepreneurs mistakenly assume that accounting is just for tax season. The reality is that we need to know how our businesses are doing throughout the year in order to plan, project, and make decisions. The services that bookkeepers provide to our companies help us do just that while freeing up time that we can spend leading the company. When you're ready, use our free service to locate reputable, affordable service providers near you.