Okay, so book-keeping might not seem like the most glamorous to task to add to the list of things that every small business owner should do, but it’s essential to staying on top of your business finances. Here are my top 6 monthly bookkeeping tasks.

Check your bank balance

Checking your bank balance might not seem like it’s a bookkeeping task but it is vital and should be done at least once a week, and preferably every day.  Nowadays you can easily access your bank balance and review recent transactions from an app on your phone.

If you use bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks or SageOne, then you can link your bank account to the software.  Each time you are in the office, you can log in and get it to upload the previous day(s) transactions into your accounts.  This allows you to check your balance and to analyse the transactions in one step. This step could be outsourced to your book-keeper or admin assistant, as they don’t gain access to your bank account.

File your records

Saving your invoices and receipts can be done electronically, scanning any documents you receive in a paper format.  Some online accounting software allows you to attach your electronic invoice/receipt to the transaction within the software itself.  Alternatively, you can save the files to folders on your computer in month order, making sure that the folders are adequately backed up.  Backing up to the cloud, using services such as Dropbox, is a good and relatively cheap solution.

Recording transactions

Using software makes life easy, especially if you use the software to download your bank transactions automatically.  If you aren’t using software, then you still need to have a method of summarising your monthly sales and expenses.  You can do this by using a simple spreadsheet or book-keeping journal.  This is often a task that can be outsourced to a bookkeeper, accountant or admin assistant.  The key is to ensure that this bookkeeping task is kept up to date so that it doesn’t become too onerous and time-consuming.

Profits and Tax

Calculate your profit each month, so you know how well you are doing, and so that you can calculate how much money you should be saving in a separate bank account for your tax liability.  In simple terms, your profit is calculated as Revenue minus Expenses.

Review your financial performance

If you use the services of an accountant, then they might be able to provide some insight into your figures as part of the package they offer.  Otherwise, you should review your income, expenses, profit and cash flow. Examining the figures will help you highlight what’s working and what isn’t and help you make any necessary changes.

Plan for the next month

Business budgeting and planning should be fluid and updated on a monthly basis for any new information come to light during the review of your past month’s financial performance.  For example, this could be diverting marketing budget to an area that is doing well, but you need to increase sales.