When I was a teen the funny in me would crack jokes at cashiers offering post-transaction receipts. Be it a box of Oreos or otherwise, my response to a receipt was a gentle chuckle followed by “Thanks, but I don’t see myself returning this.”
Given that likely no one in the history of time has returned cookies, this thought process did technically checkout. When I look back on it now however, I realize that in addition to those staff members just doing their job, the more common reason behind the offering of a receipt is a much grander scale of refund. Receipts are not issued so that we can complain about lot parking costs, compare gas prices, or return a tray of donuts brought into the office one Friday morning. Receipts are the oxygen that keeps businesses large and small alive from a manager reimbursing your errand running for balance, or an entrepreneur accounting for every single dollar spent and praying to stay clear of the red at tax season (read: all seasons)
Receipts are something of a sexy scavenger hunt for the small business owner. We purchase things for our projects feeling fancy and free alive with confidence that we’re going to see that money come right back in a few months and that really, this cost is just a loan that will some way or another balance itself out. Time however will teach you that while squirrelling away every receipt into your glovebox, purse depths or otherwise is good practice; giving feels that each piece is a clue leading to a gigantic reward, it is a worthless exercise until followed by bookkeeping. Before we go any further, bookkeeping and accounting are not the same thing. It’s not a yam vs. sweet potato type of somewhat interchangeable symmetry. Accounting is the analysis of financial data from all aspects of a business whereas bookkeeping is the process of regularly maintaining transactional records.
Even the one-man-show business owner needs a bookkeeper on their bench. This is a person whose sole purpose in your life is to organize your money. This is a freelancer, firm, or (hopefully certified) friend that takes each of those receipts you so graciously piled up in your arm rest and weeds through them to ensure that every dollar spent is appropriately logged into a pre-categorized list of deductibles requested by the CRA. It may seem like overkill for the entrepreneur just starting out, but this process of allocation allows for a snapshot of your business’ financial situation in addition to being your tax season life raft. For example, you may think you’re charging enough for delivery until you see those numbers as an annual expenditure against your mileage and then again compared to how much your business actually brings in. While that kind of report does begin to step on the toes of accounting, it would not be at all possible without organized books.
When it comes to the concept of organization living in tandem with the constant monitoring of numbers, most of us cringe. The truth is you probably could save the biz a few bucks and take on this daunting task yourself, but you’re no bookkeeping pro and sorry not sorry, it’s going to show. Working with a bookkeeper is like when your 8 year old self would bring home dirty lunch dishes from school. You got your sustenance (your small biz supplies), stuffed what remained into your bag (the mountain of receipts) and returned them to mom (your bookkeeper). At the time you didn’t really know what was going on behind the scenes, but somehow the bag was returned to you cleaned, stocked and reorganized for another day of use. You absolutely could have done that yourself, but mom obviously had a leg up on the job.
This year Sunday Stroll has partnered with Little Guy Ledgers to aid in achieving the goal of every small business; financial management and growth. Little Guy Ledgers is a digital bookkeeping firm created with the small business owner in mind. Their rates are designed for entrepreneurial pockets and once onboarded, they are available to their clients as frequently as needed. Consultations are free and they welcome the airing of your small business’ dirty laundry clapping back with only confidence that you’re in good hands and your business is about to level up.
This years' tax season is closing its doors which means much like the mood of New Years Eve, it's a perfect opportunity to switch gears and take on new practices. If even for just a therapeutical rant about your finances (meaning yes, telling them everything you've done wrong and how scared you are feeling as an entrepreneur,) LGL is a breath of fresh air for the digital-forward small business owner.
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