Accountancy for Small Business
Posted on 27th August 2021 at 10:29
Accountancy is referred to as the language of business, similarly when learning a new language you can feel overwhelmed or completely lost at the beginning. In this article we will go through the 4 cornerstones of accountancy, with examples, so you can start to get to grips with the basics.
What is accounting?
Accounting is the recording, reporting, interpreting and analysis of everything that happens within your business linked to financial matters. These are the 4 cornerstones of accounting. It is important you have your books in order from day one as it can be a headache to go back and opportunities to save your business money may get missed.
Record all transactions
There are 5 different types of transactions your business can make; it is important all of these are recorded to give you a clear picture of the finances of your business.
Revenue / sales – all money coming into the business from selling your products and/or services.
Expenses – any money you are spending to run your business.
Assets – this measures -
the future value of equipment or premise you own to produce your product or carry out your service,
monies owed to you from customers
cash held in your bank (assuming this is in the black)
Liabilities – any debts of the business, including loans, financing etc.
Equity – this represents the money the owners would be left with if all assets & liabilities were sold & settled.
Once you’ve set up your business account with your selected bank sync it with your bookkeeping system to keep the recording of all the above as efficient and easy as possible.
Reports about your business
There are many different types of reports you can run depending on the information you need. Many of them have specific names, your accountant should be running these so you can ask to have a look or you can run them yourself using your bookkeeping software. Here are some common ones to know.
Income Statement/Profit and Loss Account (P&L) – this shows you whether your business is growing or slowing. Most businesses typically produce a P&L on a monthly basis to track performance in the prior month. This report gives business owners a sense check on the underlying trajectory of the business and whether there is a need to review costs or invest further to drive growth.
Balance Sheet – this is laid out in a ‘T’ shape and is called a balance sheet because it should balance on each side, like a pair of scales, to account for all the transactions in and out of the business. These can be produced either at the end of the financial year or at the end of every month to keep a closer eye on your finances.
Cash Flow Statement – this is a vital report you should have access to as bad cash flow is where most new businesses trip up. This gives you a much better idea of what is really going on in your business and how much cash you are owed and have available right now. This can help you make important decisions about expenditure for growth. Remember – “Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is King!”
In the event you are trying to raise money to grow your business, acquire or even sell, you will in all likelihood need at least 12 months’ worth of financial reports in support.
Interpreting & Analysing
We have put these two together, they are not the same thing but do go hand-in-hand. Going back to our analogy of learning a new language, interpretation is vital, there will be nuisances and different ways of classifying the data so it can be interpreted differently. Be very clear about what you want to know and communicate this with your accountant or know the correct report to run to find out. Once this is done you can analyse the data factoring in your growth plans to see if they’re achievable. You can use accounting formula’s to determine results, here some examples.
Net Profit Margin = (Revenue – Cost) / Revenue. You can use this cleverly to see if you can afford a loss-leader to get customers through the door. For example, can margins be made up other places to keep prices low on eye-grabbing products that are coveted.
Return on advertising spend = current advertising cost / revenue. This isn’t always this simple however it gives you a figure to work with.
How liquid the company is = current assets / current liabilities. Again, this a simplistic equation however it’s a good base figure to start with.
Getting an accountant early on, even though it may feel like an unnecessary expense, is essential and well worth the money. There are different kinds of accountants out there, if you are a numerically literate person that feels confident doing accounts you may just want one to check over everything and file for you, cheaper packages can be found to just cover the basics. There are lots of cloud-based software packages that are compatible on your mobile as well as your desktop and allow you to check your accounts in real-time and record specific transactions when you are out and about to save time.
Tagged as: Accountancy, Accounting, Finance, How to set up a business, HRMC, Setting up a business, Tax
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