Your record keeping system needs to be designed so that it works for you. It should:
- Be simple to understand
- Be flexible and adaptable to changing needs
- Be inexpensive to develop and maintain
- Require little time to maintain
- Be handy and convenient to use
If you use a computerized accounting software package like QuickBooks, all those qualifications are met. I generally recommend QuickBooks to my clients because it’s easy to use and you can also find local support for set up and troubleshooting. I don’t whole heartedly recommend QuickBooks because I think parent company Intuit is losing touch with its core customer (we, the small business owners of the United States of America). There’s too much nickel and dime-ing and poor support. But, at this point, it’s still the most widely used system and certainly meets the needs of most small businesses.
I recommend that you get professional help in setting up your accounting system, if you don’t have an accounting background. It’s a case of GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out). A well set up system will give you the best information with the least trouble. It’s less expensive to have it set up right to begin with than it is to have it cleaned up later.
Whatever accounting system you choose for your business, the key to success is actually using it on a very regular basis. Otherwise, your business struggles and you’re in constant danger of sliding into the Cash Flow Swamp.
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