Want to DIY your bookkeeping without losing your head? You need a bookkeeping routine!
One of the first things new entrepreneurs decide to DIY is their finances. Turns out, it’s also the thing that causes new entrepreneurs the most stress. A solid bookkeeping routine you actually enjoy can help eliminate some of your money anxiety and make it easier to scale your business.
Why You Need a Bookkeeping Routine
When I talk with clients who want to DIY their bookkeeping, they all say the same thing:
“It’s just so hard to keep up with.”
And I get it! Between growing your business, working with clients, and keeping up with your personal obligations, it’s easy to let your business finances fall to the wayside. But creating and keeping a bookkeeping routine isn’t as intimidating as it sounds.
Think of it like cleaning. When you never clean your house, you set yourself up for a major cleaning frenzy the day before your mother-in-law comes to visit. But if you clean a little bit every day, you can avoid the panic and feel comfortable in your space 365 days a year.
A bookkeeping routine can do the same for your finances. If you stick to it, you can file your taxes at the end of the year without stress and minimize the daily money worries that come with running a business.
The Essentials of a Bookkeeping Routine
A bookkeeping routine is a set of tasks you complete every single week to stay on top of your bank accounts, receipts, and taxes.
So much money stress (especially when it comes to your business) is rooted in a lack of clarity. Your bookkeeping routine should help you answer the most common money questions you ask yourself in your business, questions like...
Do I have enough money to afford XYZ?
How much do I need to make this month? How close am I?
How much will I get to take home this month?
Do I have enough money set aside for taxes?
Am I on track to hit my goals?
Every week, you’ll sit down and answer all these questions (and more!). Instead of lying awake at night worrying about your money, you’ll be able to sleep peacefully knowing exactly what’s happening in your business bank account.
How to Create Your Own Small Business Bookkeeping Routine
Now that you know why you need a bookkeeping routine, let’s make one!
1. Put it on your calendar.
It’s a good thing you’re already online, because we’re starting now! Sign into your Google Calendar right now and set aside…
15 minutes a day Monday through Friday
One hour once a week
Two hours once a month
Then, set those appointments to repeat daily, weekly, and monthly.
Personally, I like to make my weekly bookkeeping hour something I’ll look forward to. I do it first thing Monday morning so I can start my week right. I get myself ready for the day, run out to grab a coffee, and then come home and settle in at my desk to run the numbers.
The goal here is to create as few barriers as we can between you and your routine. The easier it is to sit down and get it done, the easier it’ll be to stick to.
2. Invest in the right tools.
The right tools can make your bookkeeping routine so much easier and more efficient.
Of course, my favorite of all time is Quickbooks Online. Their software makes it easy to track and process your finances. Plus, you can easily file your taxes at the end of the year by connecting your Quickbooks account to your TurboTax account. (Pro tip: Don’t both with Quickbooks Self-Employed. I know the price tag is tempting, but it’s built for hobbyists, not business owners.)
Other great tools include a CRM (I prefer Honeybook) and a spreadsheet program (like Google Sheets).
3. Create your daily and weekly to-do lists.
Now, it’s time to create your daily and weekly to-do lists. These are the maintenance tasks you need to stay on top of to keep your finances organized (and your stress levels low).
Every day, spend 15 minutes on these tasks:
Check your bank balance
File business-related receipts
Open financial mail and act
Log business auto mileage
Every week during your bookkeeping hour, work on these tasks:
Log and categorize expenses
Log and categorize income
Send invoice reminders for overdue payments
Check-in on your current financial goals
Once a month, devote a couple hours to these tasks:
Reconcile all bank accounts
Reconcile all credit cards
Reconcile all loans
Review Profit and Loss
Review business budget
Calculate tax savings
Review for business expenses in personal accounts
Update home office tracking
Update auto expense tracking
Record petty cash expenses
File sales and payroll taxes
I know these lists seem intimidating, most of these tasks take less than two minutes to complete. Once you’re in the habit, you’ll be able to breeze through them in no time at all!
4. Create your projects list.
As you get more efficient with your routine, you’ll have more time for those projects that keep scooting to the bottom of your to-do list, projects like…
Calculating and implementing new prices
Creating automations that track your finances for you
Brainstorming new products and offerings
Comparing this year’s finances to last year’s
Setting new financial goals and creating timelines to complete them
Whenever you have some free time after you’ve completed your weekly routine, jump into one of the projects on your list.
5. Incentivize it so you’ll stick to it.
Of course, we all know the hardest part of a bookkeeping routine is sticking to it. That’s why I’m a huge fan of incentivizing your routine.
Start by making your weekly bookkeeping hour something you’ll look forward to. Treat yourself to coffee, order lunch, or do it right before you watch an episode of your favorite show.
Next, set some big, exciting savings goals. You might decide to save up for a new computer, a course you’ve been eyeing, or even a solo work retreat. The better you take care of your finances, the closer you’ll get to these goals.
And of course, work on your money mindset. Your bookkeeping routine is a money making activity. When you start seeing it as vital to making more money, you’ll be more likely (and more excited) to do it.
Want to manage your money with confidence so you can focus on growing your business (and income)?
Now that you’ve created your routine, hop to it! I can’t wait to see the growth you achieve in the coming months.
And if you want to gain even more confidence with your finances, learn to navigate Quickbooks like a pro, and create a plan to scale your business with ease, check out my course Quickbooks for Entrepreneurs!
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