Keeping Records In The 21st Century

Recordkeeping, Bookkeeping & Accounting

Recordkeeping, bookkeeping and accounting are 3 related activities, each of which is important for any business. Understanding the difference – and how best to get value for money for each – is an important survival skill for any small business.

Over the last 35 years or so, bookkeeping for small business has evolved from an essentially manual function, to an automated system that pulls transaction data from your bank and automatically allocates debits and credits to the appropriate accounts.

No more calculating on your own because most accounting software automatically calculates your financials for you.

from PROS AND CONS TO USING AN ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE – StartupSavant.com

Or at least that is the dream.

There are – in our view – 3 excellent choices of online accounting software for small business:

  1. Xero
  2. QBO
  3. Wave

For most early stage companies any of these would serve adequately. Often startups will ask: Which of these should I use? From our perspective that is the wrong question.

It is always best to identify the person who will be taking on the bookkeeping role first – and then consult with your CPA.

The right question is:

Who should I get to do the accounting?

Now that accounting software is pulling the transaction data directly from the bank, the dream is to pull data directly from receipts using artificial intelligence. There are a number of applications that purport to do this.

The first 2 target CPAs who are then expected to recommend this record-keeping software to their small business clients:

Record-Keeping
Receipt-Bank targets CPAs to recommend to their small business clients
  1. Receipt-Bank.com
  2. HubDoc.com

Receipt-Bank Plans

By contrast, Expensify targets small businesses directly with monthly subscriptions based upon the number of people filing expense claims.

Expensify Plans

It’s likely that most CPAs don’t have the capacity to adequately test all of these tools. Certainly I don’t. However my gut instinct tells me that each of these solutions might be somewhat useful, however I typically prefer tools that are more widely applicable. I prefer to ensure that the investment in learning the tool provides opportunities to adapt it more broadly.

The better approach in our view, is to develop the capability to build your record-keeping system using a generic tool like SmartSheet or GOOGLE Forms-

GOOGLE FORMS

SmartSheet

Ideally your CPA firm would assist with the design of record-keeping systems that meet your particular needs. Examples could include documentation for SR&ED technological uncertainties, deposit books (with cheque images attached), expense reporting for staff, timesheets customized for your needs, query sheets and so forth.

 

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