Bookkeeping 101: Bookkeeping Basics for Small Businesses


bookkeeping 101

If you are operating a small, one-person business from home or even a larger consulting practice from a one-person office, you might want to stick with cash accounting. Accountants can do bookkeeping but it’s generally better to separate the two categories for small businesses. Bookkeepers and accountants can work together but they have different skills.

However, if you want clean and easy books, we highly recommend having a separate bank account for your business. It is very important to correctly classify each of your business transactions so that you can accurately interpret the financial performance of your business. Bookkeeping is important because it helps you make better business decisions by first understanding your financial performance. Bookkeeping is the process of tracking your income and expenses. If you don’t, you’re not going to be able to file your business taxes.

Difference Between Certificates and Certifications

The best way to do so is to educate yourself on your business’s tax obligations, keep accurate records, and set aside revenue (or pay ahead in quarterly taxes). The cash method recognizes revenue and expenses on the day they’re actually received or paid. This method is the simplest for small businesses because it doesn’t require you to track payables or receivables and reflects whether or not your money is actually in your account. This principle states that the accountant has reported all information consistently throughout the reporting process. Under the principle of consistency, accountants must clearly state any changes in financial data on financial statements.

  • Bill and account collectors attempt to recover overdue payments from individuals and businesses.
  • In addition, setting up a bookkeeping system is knowing how you’ll classify your expenses.
  • This helps investors trust that the information your business presents is accurate.
  • If you’re doing simple bookkeeping for a small business or you’re operating a one-person business, applying the cash basis of accounting is ideal.
  • Without it, every company would manage finances in its own way.
  • Depending on the nature of your business, how you collect money will vary.

Keep in mind that in most cases, you can edit the chart of accounts to better suit your business. It’s also a good idea to become familiar with the accounts included in your chart of accounts, which will make it much easier when you begin to enter financial transactions. You also need to understand what debits and credits are before you can start to enter any transactions.


On the other hand, accounting dives deeper into the financial realm. Accounting isn’t just about listing numbers but is more centered on generating comprehensive reports. Sign up through the online testing center to schedule your exam. You’ll receive instructions via email about how to best prepare and set up your test-taking environment at home, a local library or another place with an internet connection. Once you’ve met all of your chosen credential’s requirements and completed your preparatory courses, it’s time to take the exams. The cost to become a CPB includes four courses and their respective exams.

bookkeeping 101

For example, loans or credit cards, are considered liabilities. This documentation serves as sources of information bookkeepers use to record transactions. Your reports will look different depending on which you decide to use. We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence.

Recommended experience

Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. However, for the novice, the introduction of bookkeeping-specific vocabulary and the rules that bookkeeping 101 govern proper bookkeeping processes can be overwhelming. Ultimately, the answers to these types of questions and more are found in your bookkeeping. Each of these reports should be prepared and reviewed at least monthly.

bookkeeping 101

Those credentialed by AIPB earn the Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation. Those who earn licensure through NACPB gain the Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) title. Founded in 1964 and the largest community college in the state, CNM offers more than 80 programs to over 23,000 students. Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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