Hello! Your friendly ex-accountant Amanda here. This time of year, one very common request I get approached with is “can you take a look at my books and let me know if I’m doing all this stuff even remotely right?” And now is the right time to be asking this! Year-end is quickly approaching and instead of burying your head in the sand and ignoring everything until March (we’ve all been there), here are 4 questions you can ask yourself to ‘self-assess’ your bookkeeping.
One. Do I trust that these numbers are accurate?
Go ahead and open that Quickbooks file of yours, or grab your spreadsheets. Take a step back and first ask if you can trust that the information in front of you looks correct at face value. This might look like asking yourself “does that sales number seem like how much I made this year?” or “does it seem reasonable that I have that much in unpaid customer invoices (accounts receivable)?” Go ahead and take some notes of the numbers you think need some digging into, and then give yourself a mental score of 1-10. How is the accuracy of your books?
Ultimately, if you don’t believe that the numbers are accurate, how much can you trust them to make important business decisions?
Two. Are these numbers providing me value?
Maybe they’re accurate but are they helpful to you? Besides compliance needs, your financial tracking is intended to provide you value! Step back and ask, what numbers in your business are important to making the most critical decisions in your business, and are your financials supporting you in getting those numbers, accurately, and in a timely manner? An example of this might be “sure, I’m tracking total sales, but I have no idea how much of my sales came from craft shows and how much came from online sales…”
Do you find that your bookkeeping is helpful to you, or just a glorified check register that you keep only for tax purposes?
Three. Which area of my bookkeeping is causing the most headache?
It’s so easy to get into an ‘all or nothing’ mentality and want to throw out your entire bookkeeping system because it seems to be broken. But, hear me out, what if there’s a specific part (or two) that’s truly causing the problems, and they are fixable? Before you jump to solutions, you need to identify the actual problem! One great technique to identify the actual problem is to do the ‘5 Why’ practice (look it up – it’s pretty cool!).
If you do a little ‘why deep digging’ you might be surprised to find what the actual cause of your headaches are.
Four. What would it look like to start small?
In most cases, a giant overhaul is not the answer. So taking a page from my favorite life-guru, The Lazy Genius, what small and manageable step can you start with to improve things? If you are struggling to answer this question for yourself, this is where having an outsider’s perspective can be super helpful. If you don’t have that person in your life already – I’d love to help.
Who am I? Hi! If we haven’t met yet, my name is Amanda Runia. I am a wife, mom, Jesus follower, CPA, Enneagram 7, fast-talking, coffee-drinking solopreneur living in Brookings SD. Through my business, In-House Ally, I have helped provide clarity to over a hundred small business owners on how to take the next right steps with their systems and finances through one-on-one personalized coaching and consulting. Systems & software can play an important role in your business and financials, but sometimes what you need even more, is an ally.
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