‘I just started business and can’t afford to employ an Accountant’; This is a popular mindset amongst business owners. In my opinion, this is not just a mantra but the truth. These businesses have barely broken even and are still struggling to stay afloat. But then, is that enough excuse not to have a Book Keeping system in place? Candidly, the answer is “No”. Infact, it’s possible that the challenge your business faces that seems to be a nightmare is due to a lack of a book keeping system…. However, that’s a topic for another day.
Book keeping can be done without necessarily having an in house Accountant. Don’t get me wrong, having an in house Accountant is still best practice. However, there are other means to achieve this which are effective as having an in house Accountant but with future limitation as the business grows. At that time, the business would have made enough money to employ a profound Accountant.
To the crux of the matter, thank goodness for the advent of IT (Information Technology). Bill gates once said “Information Technology and Business are becoming interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without talking about the other”. I guess you can’t agree more. Technology has helped simplify business processes and book keeping is not an exception.
First, there are quite a number of accounting apps and interestingly, some are free. For those that are not free, you pay a token. This implies that the major cost will be to get a smart phone that can download and enable the use of the app. These accounting apps may not give you the package an in-house Accountant will give but it will meet your basic book keeping needs which may be all your business need at start. Examples of these apps include: Daily Accounting, My budget free, Expense Manager, My Accountant to mention a few.
Visit Blackberry world for Blackberry phone users, App store for iPhone, Google Play for android phone e.t.c.
The second is like the first but in a more advanced form and it is accounting software. You will need a computer preferably, a desktop computer to use these software which can be an online or/and offline version. Examples include Store Harmony which is an indigenous software, Zoho books, Quick Books, Sage One, Xero e.t.c.
Genuinely, these accounting software functions are quite elaborate and may even provide same result as having an in house Accountant but operating this software still requires an expert skill. Some savvy business owners may try do it themselves but there is a possibility that at some point there will not be enough hours in the day to keep up or it takes away time from focusing on your business or you reach a crossroad were your skills become inadequate. How to solve this dilemma takes me to my last suggestion and it is outsourcing.
Outsourcing in this context is contracting the book keeping function of your business to a consultant with requisite knowledge, skills and expertise. Benefits to be derived include lower cost as compared to employing an Accountant and benefitting from the tripod of the consultant’s knowledge, expertise and experience. You may engage a consultant to help set up the Accounting Software, train employee(s) and/or management on its usage from time to time. Or engage a consultant to set up an Accounting system that will capture all the relevant information needed to prepare the books by the consultant periodically or as agreed by both parties.
It’s pertinent that SMEs begin to get their Book Keeping right and it’s not too late for you to start no matter the stage of your business.
If you have wealth of ideas but no capital or seeking to expand your business but no fund, this next article is for you.
Thank you for your time.