20 Basic Accounting Tasks for a Small Business

accounting tasks

The Securities and Exchange Commission has an entire financial reporting manual outlining reporting requirements of public companies. Accountants may be tasked with recording specific transactions or working with specific sets of information. For this reason, there are several broad groups that most accountants can be grouped into. The history of accounting has been around almost as long as money itself. Accounting history dates back to ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Babylon.

accounting tasks

Thankfully, Square and PayPal make it easy to accept card payments using your smartphone or tablet. These programs also send your customers’ receipts, reconcile your transactions, and handle returns if necessary. Technically, you should be doing it every day, but we all know life can get in the way. Ideally, you should complete your bookkeeping every month so you can keep a thumb on the pulse of your income, expenses, and overall business performance. Software, apps, and cloud-based bookkeepers have made it a breeze to track expenses and not have to keep hundreds of receipts lying around. Check out solutions like Rydoo, Expensify, Zoho Expense, and Shoeboxed to help manage your expenses.

Forensic Accountant

They include invoicing, financial data management, and other business bank account fun. Keeping tabs on all of your assets, liabilities, inventory, and other records can help you secure investors, protect your assets from theft, and find ways to grow your company and take it to the next level. Primary duties of small business accounting include bookkeeping, preparing and filing tax returns, and drafting financial reports. Still stumped on how to handle bookkeeping vs. accounting tasks for your small business? Small business accounting software like QuickBooks helps you track your business finances all in one place, making it easily accessible to you and your accounting team.

Ideally, vendors should offer 30 days to settle payments, you can often negotiate longer terms if your company is low on cash. Once a year, bookkeepers have to complete more time-intensive tasks related to taxes and year-end close. If becoming an accountant is the next step in your career, there are many resources available to help you prepare for this role. There are many applications of data analytics in the world of accounting. For example, auditors are using analytics to enable processes like continuous monitoring and auditing. In the wake of accounting scandals and increased scrutiny following the 2008 financial crisis, it has been important to restore trust and credibility to the profession.

For a more in-depth understanding, take a look at our accounting terms and accounting principles articles. If your accounting software is connected to your bank and synced daily, there’s no need to wait for your monthly bank statement. Many accounting applications simplify reconciliation by suggesting matches, so all you have to do is review and approve them. Spending a little time on this task each day is easy and eliminates a grueling month-end chore.

Why Accounting Is Important

“Visibility comes from the good work you do that is noticed by leaders and influencers. Careers are advanced because people ask for the chance to show what they know and what they can do.” “Presentation, education technology, and information technology skills are also critical. Less critical but also important is a knowledge of social media, marketing, and sales,” he says. Amy Fontinelle has more than 15 years of experience covering personal finance, corporate finance and investing. Depending on the nature of your business, how you collect money will vary. Before we dive into how to do your bookkeeping, let’s cover the two main bookkeeping methods. Another common way to manage your expenses is by separating operating expenses from selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses.

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As such, they are also responsible for ensuring that their clients’ financial records are compliant with the relevant laws and regulations. Here, we’ll discuss the roles and responsibilities, important skills, and career outlook for accountants, as well as current trends impacting the field. The minimum requirement to becoming a management accountant is generally a bachelor’s degree. As important as it is to understand how business accounting works, you don’t have to do it alone. Collecting money in person (at a storefront, marketplace, etc.) can get pricey. Between equipment, credit card fees, and handling physical cash, it can be a hassle.

Bookkeeping vs accounting: What’s the difference?

All financial information, both negative and positive, is disclosed accurately. The proper reporting of financial data should be conducted with no expectation of performance compensation. COGS or COS is the first expense you’ll see on your profit and loss (P&L) statement and is a critical component when calculating your business’s gross margin.

I’m sure you’d rather avoid a situation where you don’t have money to pay the tax man. It becomes increasingly difficult to manage the above, as your business grows. And that’s not to mention the difficulty in recording payments if you’re updating spreadsheets. You also need to ensure you’re making it easy for clients to pay and that you’re recording all invoice payments. Very rarely does accounting stay the same every day, and part of the role of an accountant is to not only complete tasks but to know which tasks need to be completed. At Ignite Spot, we know what needs to be done and how to complete those tasks quickly.


You can become a chartered global management accountant through the American Institute of CPAs and the London-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants by passing an exam. Searle is also a certified public accountant (CPA), while Mulling is also a CPA and a certified information technology professional (CITP). Kuchen is a CMA only but says it is a very good idea to be a CPA as well as a certified internal auditor (CIA) or certified treasury professional (CTP). Business accounting might seem like a daunting mountain to climb, but it’s a journey well worth it. Accounting helps you see the entire picture of your company and can influence important business and financial decisions.

  • The financial statements of most companies are audited annually by an external CPA firm.
  • Accounting is the process of systematically recording, analyzing, and interpreting your business’s financial information.
  • That’s why the skills needed to manage, analyze and use data are becoming increasingly valuable to employers – and, by extension, to the type of candidates they are looking for.
  • According to Mulling, the career ladder can go in many different directions depending on your individual goals.

It’s easy to see every payment as a profit, and not factor in expenses like rent, equipment, stationery, hardware, and so on. It’s also easy to wait until month end only to discover that you’re out of pocket because clients haven’t paid you. If you’re collecting sales tax and not tracking it, you risk combining it with your profit and spending.

Review quarterly payroll reports and make payments

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. According to Statista, 64% of small businesses use accounting software for their finances. Automated accounting software includes tools like QuickBooks, Xero, and other popular accounting applications.

accounting tasks

Since cash is the fuel for your business, you never want to be running on or near empty. Knowing how much you expect to receive and how much you expect to pay during the upcoming weeks and months is important too. Managing business finances doesn’t have to be the bane of your professional existence. Nor does it have to take you away from the personal reasons you started your company what is historical cost? in the first place. Taking the next step in maintaining your company’s records can seem daunting, but there are plenty of options available that will make it easier for you to stay focused on growing your business. A bookkeeper usually performs these steps, however, an accountant may step in to complete these tasks, or oversee them as they’re completed by the bookkeeper.


Sometimes a business will do this research and work as part of an initial business plan. Other times they learn about these requirements a little bit at a time as the business grows. To keep it simple, bookkeeping is a tactical role, while accounting is more strategic.

All you need is a simple statement showing your current cash position, expected upcoming cash receipts, and expected cash payments for this period. As discussed above, the main objectives of accounting and bookkeeping are similar but still different in many ways. Both disciplines work hand in hand to determine the financial health of a business. When the client pays the invoice, the accountant credits accounts receivables and debits cash.

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Reducing your COGS can help you increase profit without increasing sales. It’s a critical component when calculating and managing your cash flow. Accruals are credits and debts that you’ve recorded but not yet fulfilled. These could be sales you’ve completed but not yet collected payment on or expenses you’ve made but not yet paid for. A balance sheet is a snapshot of your business’s financial standing at a single point in time.

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