Bookkeeping Basics for Start-Ups: Managing Your Financial Records

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What Is Bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is a subset of accounting in which financial transactions are recorded, analyzed, transmitted, and reviewed to make important business and financial decisions for a stipulated period of time. The transactions includes sales of goods, purchases of business machinery and equipment, vendor invoices, receipts, and payments by an individual or company.

The person who records, handles and performs day-to-day bookkeeping activities is generally known as a bookkeeper. All of the cash and credit transactions are recorded and ensured by a bookkeeper who is also responsible for keeping all business transactions in order.

Bookkeeping for Start-Ups

Most medium to large scale businesses have employees who manage the accounts payable and receivables, payroll, vendor invoices, bills, and other similar day-to-day transactions. They are often supervised by higher authorities or accounting professionals that can predict the fate of the company by making financial assumptions and projections.

Bookkeeping is one of the most critical aspects of every business. For start-ups, the need for a professional bookkeeper to run and manage the day-to-day operations becomes even more crucial. Start-ups, from the very beginning, need to record all business transactions in order to give their accountants an opportunity to sketch a clear picture of the business’s finances.

Why Do Most Start-Ups Fail?

Entrepreneurs who fail to administer their financial records, cash flow, and other important areas of their business create trouble that is hard to resolve. Start-ups that fail to task their employees with work, at the later stages, regret when they are out of the competitive race. Since making financial projections and assumptions is entirely dependent on how well you extract financial data out of your bookkeeping records, you need to hire competent employees who will take responsibility for maintaining and managing the business books, otherwise known as bookkeeping.

Bookkeeping for Start-Ups: Four Key Steps

1. Gather all records of financial transactions including deposits, vendor invoices, bank statements, purchases receipts and sales invoices.

2. Enter the data into journal ledgers or accounts.

3. Balance the accounts and remove discrepancies.

4. Close the books for the accounting period.

Key Bookkeeping Accounts

Cash Account

Small to medium sized businesses most often witness transactions in cash, which means business transactions will go through a cash account. The transactions will either be debited or credited to your account. At the end of the defined period of time, ideally a month, the bank account must be reconciled for any outstanding transactions or errors. It is important to note that it is ideal to close all discrepancies within the given month to prevent any confusion or stress later down the road.

Accounts Receivable

The money that is due from your customers must be tracked properly in order to receive and ensure timely payments. This can either be done manually by a bookkeeper or you can also incorporate bookkeeping software to know the current status of your transactions.


Obviously, in order to know the status of your business’s inventory –  which could be raw goods, work-in-progress or ready-to-sell –  you must make sure that the actual inventory on hand agrees with your accounting records. Industry veterans recommend conducting physical counts of inventory to have a clear picture of your inventory records. Any discrepancies or variations found in the records can be a result of inaccurate tracking or, unfortunately, a result of employee fraud or theft.

Expenses Accounts

All of the expenses incurred by the business for a brief period of time, ideally a month, must be recorded properly in order to know the current expense status of your company. Some of the expenses may include rent, office expenses, petty expenses, insurance, marketing, cost of goods sold, etc.

Payroll Expenses

Undeniably, payroll expense is one of the biggest expenses for companies. This includes disbursement of salaries, bonuses, and other fringe benefits that fall under the payroll expense column in bookkeeping records.

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