A bookkeeper and an accountant work with similar materials, but the positions aren’t the same. Startups and business owners need to bring their bookkeepers into the loop early in the company’s inception. Why? Because bookkeepers facilitate the day-to-day financial ongoings of any businesses. Accountants, comparatively, will interact with your startup on a monthly or yearly basis, working with the data that bookkeepers provide them to keep records well-organized.
If you’re looking to integrate a bookkeeper into your growing startup, you’ll need to outline bookkeeper responsibilities early and with great clarity. Take a look at some of the bookkeeping responsibilities outlined below to start developing a better idea of the tasks your bookkeeper should complete.
Need an accountant instead of a bookkeeper? Check out our piece on Accountant Responsibilities at Startups!
A business is not a business without transactions. If you’re doing things properly, you should be interacting with cash, checks, or online payments with some frequency. While a brick-and-mortar storefront will have its cashiers handle these payments directly, and e-commerce fronts will rely on their shopping carts, it’s the bookkeepers who have to track invoices and payments at the end of the day.
When interacting with consumer payments, bookkeepers need to:
- Collect the total payments at the end of the day
- Compare these payments to the business’ receipts
- Deliver the deposits to a local bank or ATM, or
- Transfer the day’s earnings to an appropriate banking facility courtesy of online check deposits
These tasks need to occur daily so that startups and business owners can better keep track of their incoming revenue.
Supplier & Vendor Management
As money comes in, so too must it go out. Bookkeepers have a responsibility not only to accept payments but to make them to your company’s suppliers and vendors.
Suppliers and vendors will, depending on a startup’s interface, invoice their clients with NET 30 or NET 60 terms. The deadlines these individuals present your business with may be flexible, but it’s a bookkeeper’s responsibility to pay these invoices before they have time to accrue interest or late fees.
Bookkeepers need to keep an eye on the asset depreciation of your startup’s goods. Depreciation represents the amount by which your products decrease in value over an extended period of time. Depreciation, as such, will vary based on your industry.
Bookkeepers need to know ahead of time what kind of depreciation value they’ll be working with while representing your business. They’ll need to comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) while also utilizing one of the following formulas:
A formula which subtracts the original value or cost of a product from its salvage value, or the value it holds at the end of its life.
Declining Balance Depreciation
A fast-acting formula that rids a business of depreciation costs at a faster rate, wherein a business pays out its predicted depreciation in advance to prevent later payments.
Year’s Sum Depreciation
A formula that accelerates depreciation payments less so than the declining balance rate but more so that the straight-line rate. This formula takes business assets, such as buildings, equipment, and affiliated electronics into account when calculating a year’s worth of depreciation.
Your bookkeeper should walk you through all of your depreciation options and advise you on which is the most financially beneficial for your startup.
Cash Flow Assessment
Bookkeepers should regularly back up your company’s financial records to an encrypted cloud storage to ensure data security and integrity. While your startup doesn’t need to be paperless to be successful, going digital can help protect your finances and make your life as a business owner quite a bit easier in two major ways.
First, it makes your financial data easier for the appropriate people to reach in case of an audit or stakeholder inquiry. Second, securely storing your financial data will allow an accountant, at a later date, to assess the flow of your income and detect patterns that speak to the future success of your startup.
Preparing Financial Statements
Every month, your company’s bookkeeper should supply leadership and key stakeholders with four types of financial statements:
- Statements of Cash Flow
- Income Statement
- Balance Sheet
- Statement of Changes in Equity
It is the bookkeeper’s responsibility to not only securely store the data necessary to craft these reports, but also to create these reports. They can do this with the assistance of third-party tools or in an excel document, depending on your business’ preferred mode of operation. Either way, this responsibility ensures that you and your stakeholders are always aware of your financial standing, allowing you to make sound decisions based on that knowledge.
Need help getting your bookkeeper set up with the right tools? Our team is here to help. We work with a stack of systems that, when connected correctly, is most effective for running an early-stage technology startup. However, if you currently run on a different system (e.g. Xero instead of QBO) we’re happy to take a look and are continually adding support for new cloud vendors. Click the button below to learn more!
Any bookkeeper you have on staff will have to work with an IT representative to ensure that your financial tools, including credit card processors, are up-to-date and active at all times. If your business falls behind in this area, you place your and your consumers’ financial data at risk.
Work with your bookkeeper to ensure your software syncs with an online cloud that stores and encrypts your data. Make sure, too, that your bookkeeper has a strong working relationship with any IT representatives within your operation. The two parties will need to check in with one another frequently to ensure that your billing systems are up and running.
It is in the preparation and submission of your business taxes that bookkeepers and accountants see some significant overlap. Your bookkeeper will need to provide an affiliated accountant with all of the financial data they’ve collected over the course of a year. The two parties, then, will need to collaborate to complete the correct forms to properly tax your business. With taxes due in late March to early April, you’ll want these parties to start communicating long before your fiscal year comes to an end. Don’t forget about quarterly estimated tax payments, either!
While bookkeepers and accountants work with much of the same data, their positions are not the same. Even so, you should expect significant collaboration between the two parties if you want to see your startup succeed.
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