Yes, a competent and reliable bookkeeping team is important at tax time. But that can be just as important at year's end, if not more so. Having clean, audit-ready books will not only help you at tax time, but can also help you prepare accurate budgets as you a build a business blueprint for the coming year.
Garbage in, Garbage Out
That saying is as true of bookkeeping as it is of computer programming. If you've neglected to keep organized, accurate financial records throughout the year, there's only so much your accountant can do for you. Lost a stack of receipts? Forgot to record your mileage last March? Inaccurately logged a sales transaction last summer? You might be out of luck. And even if you're able to enlist a CPA to straighten it all out, it's not a good use of their time or your money.
That's why if you don't have the in-house talent, it's critical to use an outsourced bookkeeping services provider all year long. By establishing thorough, transparent procedures and employing shareable online tools, your bookkeeper will keep an eye on the critical details that business owners often overlook.If your bookkeeping services provider starts with a clean slate in January and performs regular reconciliations all year, then compiling your year-end financials in December will feel more like a routine fiscal physical than a trip to the emergency room.
Even an organized, well-intended business owner can inadvertently go off the rails. Perhaps you're using cash accounting when you should be using accrual accounting. Or maybe you've misinterpreted your cash flow statements.
The reality is, there are so many ways for a small business to be caught short in an audit that operating without a competent bookkeeping services provider could lead to easily-avoidable problems.
On a related note, a bookkeeping services provider will also ensure your business files the correct federal forms, including 1099s and W-2s, by the correct deadlines. They'll also make sure you file the appropriate tax documents in your state and remain in compliance with filing requirements with other states where you do business.
Keeping Good Books = Keeping Score
Avoiding trouble is only the most obvious benefit of enlisting a bookkeeping services provider to compile your year-end financial reporting. Equally important, your provider can help you interpret your business' financial vital signs and use them as a basis for budget forecasting and strategic planning. (This service is particularly valuable for startups.)
Just as sophisticated software analytics has transformed everything from Wall Street firms to professional sports scouting, it has enabled bookkeeping services providers to dive deeper into the numbers than ever before. Tools are available to not only automate credit card payments and manage source documents, but also make it easier to identify key performance indicators (KPIs). Having KPIs at your disposal, in turn, enables you to diagnose your business' health at a glance and pinpoint both potential trouble spots and opportunities for growth.So if you're panicking over your year-end financial reporting, why not channel that panic into positive energy and enlist an outsourced bookkeeping services provider now to keep you on track throughout all of 2018?