What Bookkeeping Tasks Need to be Done + When
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Check Bank Balances
It's a good idea to always be aware of your bank balances. You'll know if you are getting low or sitting ok. Looking weekly also helps you see trends in your monthly finances. When do you have the most money in the bank? When do you get paid by most clients? When do most of your bills go out?
Mark Client Payments on Invoices
If client payments are marked automatically by your bookkeeping software, be sure to mark them weekly.
An example of how this can be a problem if you don't mark payments. Let's say you send out two invoices in two weeks. The client pays the first, but you don't mark it paid. When they get the second invoice it will show they owe the 1st and 2nd invoices. This could cause the client to get upset that their previous payment wasn't recorded.
Pay Any Bills Due & Mark as Paid
Always stay up to date on bills to make sure you aren't charged late fees. Again, mark these as paid so you don't accidently pay a bill twice.
Save & Organize Receipts
Your bank statement won't cut it for the IRS if you are audited. Do yourself a favor and save every receipt for your business.
>>>Not sure where to start? Check out our post Why & How to File Business Receipts
Amazingly many business owners fail to send invoices! They do the work, deliver, and then move on without invoicing the client. Meanwhile the client keeps wondering when the invoice is coming!
If you don't send an invoice, you can't get paid!
Categorize Transactions in Bookkeeping Software
I know, bookkeeping blah! But it's so important to stay up to date on your bookkeeping. Imagine you spent $43.47 at a Office Depot. When it comes through your bank statement/feed it says $43.47 - Thank you for payment!
What in the world was that charge?! Well hopefully you kept the receipt and OH, that's what it was! But what if you threw it away? And now instead of trying to remember what you spent on a week ago, let's say you got behind 6 months! Do you really think you'll remember what that $43.47 was spent on? Probably not.
>>>Wondering what I mean by categorizing transactions? Check out What is Bookkeeping?
Move Money to Savings
You should be moving money to a savings account for taxes at the very least for money you received that week. You may wish to do this every other week, but do not wait until the end of the month! There won't be any money left to move!
It's also a good idea to put money aside for profit and any other large expenses you have coming up over the next year.
Follow-up on Unpaid Invoices
Hey, sometimes clients forget to pay an invoice. Don't get your panties in bunch and freak out!
The best thing to do is calmly send an email saying, "Hey your invoice of $xx was due on this date. Just sending a reminder :)"
A lot of contractors get paid on a monthly basis. And just like you freak out when you don't get paid, they freak out when you don't pay them. So set a schedule and keep to it!
That's right! You are your BEST employee! You worry and care about the business, lose sleep, see the vision, and frankly work your ass off for the business. So if you aren't the best paid person on your team...well, that's a problem!
Reconcile Bank Balances
Big scary word alert! Straight up though, this just means make sure the balance of your accounts in your bookkeeping software matches your bank, credit cards, and loan statements. No big ;)
Pull Income Statements, Balance Sheets, + Any Other Reports You Like to Look At
I see you! On that odd month you actually do get your books up to date, you then move on as quickly as you can. Financial reports? HAHAHA just no!
But wait! These reports are full of valuable information. Even if you aren't 100% sure what you're looking at, still take a minute to look. Over time it will start to make more sense!
Make Estimated Income Tax Payments
These are NOT due on perfect 3 month quarters. Instead, mark your calendar for the due dates:
- April 15 (for January - March)
- June 15 (for April - May)
- September 15 (for June - August)
- January 15 (for September - December)
A lot of people simply pay 100% or 110% of what they paid the previous year. Others pay 30-35% of their net income. And others will send their reports to their accountant to get a more accurate estimate. No way is wrong and this is more of an art than science!
Review Prior Quarter's Goals to Actuals
Three months / 12 weeks / 90 days is a great amount of time to set goals for. It's not too long, but not too short to make a difference.
But a goal is useless if you don't focus on it and then see how you actually did. If you succeeded, just missed it, or fell way short.
Set Next Quarter Goals
Now that you know how you did the previous quarter, you can re-aim this quarter to hit your new goals.
Set an income goal and then figure out how you're going to make it happen. Break it down piece by piece into bite-size tasks.
Follow-Up on Unpaid Invoices, Give Up, or Send to Collections
Once you've followed up nicely, at some point you have to drop the friendly demeanor and let them know you mean business. Some people add interest to unpaid invoices, others feel like it's not worth the effort and count it as a loss (if they are on accrual basis), and others will send the invoice to collections to try to collect at least a portion of the original total.
If you've been putting money aside for profit each week, each quarter it's time to take a withdrawal from that account. DON'T take all of the profit!! Just a portion of it so it can keep accumulating.
Then spend this money on some seriously awesome thing you've been salivating over. Don't put it back into your business. You need to spend it on something that will uplevel your success mindset!
>>>I first learned about this idea from reading Profit First.
Pull Reports Requested from Accountant
These will usually include your Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Statement of Cash Flows. They may also ask for your General Ledger, Aged Receivables, Aged Payables, and a list of contractors and how much they were paid.
Every accountant is SO VERY DIFFERENT! You need to ask yours what they need from you.
Review Annual Reports Against Goals
Again, like you did with the quarterly goals, you need to do the same thing for annual goals. See if you hit your mark!
Set New Year Goals
Deciding what you will be shooting for the next year is a big step. You need to push yourself without overwhelming yourself.
But I will say by doing this, I was able to double my revenue in a year! So I definitely recommend it!
Reassess Your Salary, Profit, Tax Savings, and Expenses
Did you overspend in the previous year? Figure out how to cut expenses to raise your profit. Did you underpay in taxes? Raise the percentage you pay this year. Did you barely pay yourself anything? Figure out how to raise your paycheck!
Planning these out is how you reach financial health. If left to sort itself out, your finances will not fall in place like you hope!