Anyone can record that they bought a tin of paint. Anyone can record that they charged $100 for a health service. But what if you offer more than one service? On someone else’s premises? What if you start to sell items and provide services? What if you bill your materials directly to the customer? Or need to give money to contractors? And sometimes you do this, but sometimes you do that. As soon as you step foot outside of the most simple business model suddenly the standard “out of the box” financial set up that you were confident with doesn’t quite fit.
As business owners we’re responsive to our clients so if they ask us to do something and we can do it we usually do. Then the accounting comes into it….. did I just lose money on that? what category do I put that in? do I have to pay super for that kid who worked over the holidays?
So what do you do?
“Milk is kind of food so I’ll put it down as meals and entertainment?”, “A hammer is an asset, yeah?” “Do I need to make a category for selling therabands?”
It’s a really important part of being a bookkeeper to step back, consider the whole picture of the different parts of a business and work to make a financial reporting system that caters to all of it. I’ve seen bookkeepers get out butcher’s paper and textas to create a visual map of all the different arms of a business or grab their laptop to look up a fancy app. Whatever works. Then there’s calls to the accounting software providers, emails to app developers, time spent umming and ahhing in front of excel spreadsheets.
If you look through the audit log of an accounting software file you can usually see vast amounts of time where the file was open but nothing was being done. Had the bookkeeper gone to a cafe and left their computer on at home? Probably not. They were probably chewing on a pencil, talking to themselves, saying “but what about…..?”