Yes, many small business owners can figure out how to add expenses and income to a software program. Most of us are smart people and can figure out what we don't know from Google, YouTube, and Quickbooks forums. It does take quite a bit of time to educate yourself if you have zero experience, though. So, if you are willing to put the time commitment in, you can do it.
However... If you don't set up your Quickbooks file and chart of accounts properly, you can royally screw things up! I have given this advice to many, many new business owners because I have seen the results of a setup gone wrong. Some of those consequences can include:
- Lost time - I have been hired to fix and/or recreate entire company files because people got in over their head and spent an insane amount of hours creating something (and/or trying to fix it themselves) that would just have to be re-done in the end. It's a difficult thing to walk through, especially small business owners with limited budgets and time.
- $$ - Let's just say that paying someone to re-create a whole year's worth of a file and/or fix a big mess is not cheap! (Sidenote: if a bookkeeper recommends starting over with your company file, the suggestion might have some merit, and save you money - sorry!)
- Inaccurate tax returns - This one is a little frightening. And also results in (see above) lost time and $$. Could include paying fines, interest and paying a CPA or tax preparer to amend returns. Not to mention the time spent in communication with the IRS.
- Inaccurate reporting and projections - Let's say you base your projections. menu prices, advertising budget, or draws from the company on the figures you printed from your inaccurate Quickbooks file... This could lead to overspending or many other issues like inaccurate reporting to your stakeholders/partners. Not to mention you don't know how to run proper reports from Quickbooks that show exactly what you want it to show... but that's whole different thing. Don't even get me started.
- Stress - Had to put it on the list, it's real.
I want the best for you - I really do! I hate seeing small business owners and entrepreneurs suffer because they tried to do this piece on their own. The solution is to get help setting up your Quickbooks file and getting started. If you know nothing about 1099 reporting requirements, get help! If you have never looked at a Chart of Accounts before, get help! If you don't know what an opening balance is, get help! If you don't know the correct way to enter assets and liabilities (or even what they are), get help! Run to a Quickbooks professional and ask them to help you at the beginning.
Many small business owners start out intending to do their own bookkeeping but end up with so many other things occupying their time (like creating product, doing administrative work, dealing with employees and customers/clients, stocking a retail store, marketing, etc.) that they hire someone. It's not a failure to hire a professional to handle any area of your business, but your finances are such an important part that hiring someone should be a success - a proactive, time-saving, life-giving choice.
Quickbooks is my program of choice. I have worked with other accounting software and recommend this one specifically to small business owners for a reason. Quickbooks can be very intuitive and user-friendly as long as it's set up correctly. If you have some accounting experience and understand how debits and credits work (not just bank account credits and debits!) you may be able to use Quickbooks yourself from the get-go. I recommend Quickbooks forums, YouTube tutorials, and training from Quickbooks. They have live classes, self-paced trainings, and offer certifications and advanced topics as well.
If you're ready to get started with Quickbooks, you are making a great choice. You can purchase Quickbooks at a discount by clicking the button below. I may make a small commission from you signing up through my referral link. I hope this post has been helpful to you, check out my other posts and subscribe for small business resources and tips!