Bookkeeping is an essential business task, helping you to keep track of your finances and support good business operation. In this blog, we look at the need and various options for finding bookkeeping help for small business success.

What’s in this blog?

Why do you need bookkeeping help?

For small business owners, the primary focus should be on growth and ensuring customer satisfaction. However, the importance of managing your financial records well cannot be ignored. From tracking expenses to managing invoices, bookkeeping can quickly become a time-consuming task that detracts from your core business activities. And yet, accurate financial records are crucial for informed decision-making, securing loans, and staying compliant with tax and other financial regulations. In fact, without professional bookkeeping assistance, you risk creating errors that could lead to penalties or financial losses.

Choosing to outsource your bookkeeping to an expert is not only a strategic move for financial management but also a means to free up your valuable time, allowing you to concentrate on what you do best – running your business. By finding reliable bookkeeping for the small business community, you can have peace of mind knowing that your financial affairs are being meticulously managed, leaving you to focus on driving your business forward.

What’s the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

While the nuances between bookkeeping support services and accounting services are important, small business owners often require both to ensure their financial health is well managed. Bookkeeping lays the groundwork — it involves the daily record-keeping of all financial transactions, including sales, receipts, purchases, and payments. The methodical nature of this process helps to maintain orderly financial records and is critical for the operational success of any small business. Accounting takes these records to the next level. It synthesises the data provided by bookkeeping to produce financial models.

This informs strategic decision-making, tax filing, and financial forecasting. So you can see that finding bookkeeping help – for small business owners in particular – is the first step towards gaining clear financial insight and control. Skilled bookkeepers can help businesses to streamline their processes, ensuring that each transaction is accurately logged and that their accounts are ready for any in-depth financial analysis or audits that might follow.

What’s involved in bookkeeping?

Despite its name, bookkeeping isn’t just about reconciling books at the end of a financial period. Instead, it’s about establishing a consistent system that captures the detailed financial story of your business. Effective bookkeeping help for small business owners has many advantages, all of which steer the business towards a trajectory of sustainable growth and success. Some of the tasks involved in day-to-day bookkeeping for start-up or micro businesses include:

1. Recording financial transactions

Every sale, purchase, payment, and receipt is documented in real-time. This continuous documentation ensures that financial records are always up-to-date, which is crucial for analysing the business performance.

2. Organising transactions into ledgers

Entries are systematically categorised and posted into appropriate accounts within the ledger. The ledger serves as a central store for all financial data, making it easier to retrieve information when needed.

3. Reconciling bank statements

Matching the internal financial records against the bank statements to ensure accuracy. Regular reconciliation helps to identify discrepancies early on, preventing potential financial errors.

4. Managing accounts payable

Keeping track of money owed to suppliers and making timely payments. Effective management of payables ensures good supplier relationships and avoids late payment penalties.

5. Handling accounts receivable

Monitoring incoming payments from customers and chasing overdue invoices. Diligent tracking helps maintain a healthy cash flow by ensuring that customers pay within the agreed credit terms.

6. Supporting audits

Providing clear and organised records to support the audit process, if and when required. Having well-organised financial documentation can streamline audits and verify the accuracy of financial reporting. Bookkeeping is integral to the operation of a business, ensuring financial accuracy and providing the foundation for informed decision-making. With a consistent and detailed bookkeeping system, small business owners can optimise financial management, which is essential to the sustainability and expansion of the business.

What are the advantages of getting bookkeeping help?

For a small business, having considered the obvious benefits of hiring a bookkeeper, it’s worth delving a little deeper into the operational perks that bookkeeping help can bring. A skilled bookkeeper doesn’t just crunch numbers – they streamline your financial processes, resulting in efficient cash flow management and timely invoicing that can significantly improve your business’s liquidity. What’s more, having good visibility over your accounts receivable and payable, your business minimises the risk of late payment penalties and enjoys better relationships with suppliers, thanks to regular, reliable transactions.

These financial efficiencies can be transformative in the fast-moving world of small business where staying ahead of the curve can mean the difference between surviving and thriving. To make the most of these advantages, finding the right bookkeeping help is crucial—someone who not only has the expertise but also aligns with the way you run your business. Bookkeepers have specialist finance skills, along with the attention to detail that you need to make sure that your business is financially stable, that your invoices and purchasing processes are in order, that you pay any staff and suppliers on time and outstanding payments are chased when necessary. Bookkeepers will also run a range of reports, so that you can see how your business is operating and plan for the future.

Who can manage your bookkeeping?

When considering who can manage your bookkeeping, it’s useful to take the time to understand the options available for small business owners. For those business owners who are just starting out, or are running a smaller enterprise, hiring an in-house bookkeeper may not be financially feasible. In such cases, outsourcing to a local firm or utilising a reliable online bookkeeping service can be a cost-effective and efficient alternative, ensuring your finances are meticulously organised without the need for a full-time staff member.

Additionally, bookkeeping software solutions offer a degree of automation, helping business owners keep track of their financial transactions with ease. It’s essential to weigh the benefits and limitations of each option while considering factors such as budget, business size, and the complexity of your financial needs to determine the best bookkeeping support for your business. Remember, the right bookkeeping help for small business can not only save you time and prevent costly mistakes, but can also provide critical financial insights to inform your business decisions.

Here are some of the most common options for managing bookkeeping tasks:

1. In-house bookkeeper

An in-house bookkeeper is a dedicated employee who manages the company’s financial records. Having an in-house bookkeeper means that someone is consistently available to handle financial queries and tasks, providing day-to-day support.

2. Certified accountant

A certified accountant, while more expensive, can offer more in-depth financial analysis and strategic planning. Certified accountants can not only keep financial records straight but also offer tax advice and insights into financial planning for your business’s future.

3. Freelance bookkeepers

Hiring a freelancer can be a cost-effective option for smaller or simpler bookkeeping needs. Freelance bookkeepers provide flexibility and can be a good solution for businesses that do not require full-time financial management.

4. Accounting services

Outsource bookkeeping and reduce cost by using a professional accounting firm. This allows you to access expert bookkeeping services without hiring a full-time employee. This option can save on overhead costs while still ensuring that a professional is managing your financial records.

5. Virtual Assistant (VA) with bookkeeping skills

A VA can handle bookkeeping tasks remotely, freeing up your time to focus on other areas of the business. VAs can be versatile and may be able to provide both bookkeeping and admin services to support your business.

6. Bookkeeping software solutions

Various software programs can automate parts of the bookkeeping process, such as categorising expenses and generating invoices. Using bookkeeping software helps in cutting down manual entry errors and allows real-time access to financial data, although it may require some learning to use effectively.

7. Hybrid approach

Combining software solutions with human oversight can offer a balance of efficiency and personalisation. A hybrid approach allows the business owner to leverage the speed and accuracy of automation with the expertise and judgement of a professional bookkeeper.

When choosing who will manage your bookkeeping, consider the specific needs and resources of your business, bearing in mind that as your business grows, you may need to reassess your bookkeeping solution. Independent virtual assistants and freelance bookkeepers will have the skills you need to handle the tasks you want to outsource and, in the case of a VA, can extend those services in other ways to support your business. For finance purposes, consider outsourcing any or all of these tasks:

  • Account set up/credit checks
  • Expense management
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Company credit card management
  • General bookkeeping
  • Account payables (payments creation)
  • Ecommerce payment processing
  • Invoicing
  • Account receivables (debtors follow up)
  • Credit control and late payment chasing
  • Entering transactions
  • Helping prepare your quarterly or annual taxes
  • Running reports on spending patterns

The advantages of choosing a virtual assistant

A virtual assistant service allows you to access exactly the skills you need. For your finance department, a VA with bookkeeping skills and experience will give you confidence that everything will be handled competently. More importantly, you get exceptional value for money – for a fixed hourly rate, with no hidden extras, the bookkeeper will work on your business, chasing debtors, managing your day-to-day finance needs and working on any special projects as they arise. And because a virtual assistant service uses a team of experts, you don’t have to worry about your bookkeeper taking a holiday or having sick days – your work will automatically be covered by another experienced and vetted team member.

Things to consider when looking for a bookkeeper

You don’t want to make this decision more than once, so you should take the time to make the best choice for your bookkeeping and admin services. Here are some important things to consider:

  • Which tasks do you want to outsource?
  • Can your chosen service handle all of these tasks?
  • Do they have the skills and capacity to take on a wider range of business finance support if you need them to?
  • Can they adapt as your business grows?
  • Can they work well alongside other people in your business?
  • Do they take the time to understand your goals and are they prepared to work towards them with you?
  • Do they offer a flexible approach and real value for money?
  • Are they able to work with your existing financial software?
  • Do they have systems in place to ensure your financial data is secure?
  • Do they have non-disclosure agreements in place to protect your business?
  • Can they offer other services alongside finance that help to remove the admin burden from you and actively look for ways to help your business to grow?

It’s also important that you check your chosen bookkeeping support meets UK regulations. In our experience, there are people offering bookkeeping services who do not work within current money laundering legislation, so please check with the providers you are considering, to make sure they meet requirements. For example, the legislation requires that anyone managing your financial records should be registered with HMRC as offering financial services support, if they are not already under the supervision of a recognised body. They should also be committed to following all relevant rules on anti-money laundering. You can find out more about this in our blog, Is your virtual bookkeeping assistant breaking the law

Whatever choice you make, outsourcing bookkeeping will free up your time to concentrate on running and growing your business. Working with a dedicated team will save you money, and give you the confidence that everything is being handled efficiently and professionally, giving everyone who comes into contact with your business a great impression. Bookkeeping help for small business owners comes in all shapes and sizes – the most important thing is to find a way of working that fits with your style, offers you great value for money and the knowledge that the job is being done.

If you found this bookkeeping blog useful and you’d like to talk to us about using a bookkeeping virtual assistant to help your business – or if you would like to know more about our other virtual assistant services feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.


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