Here are the 13 Accounting Records You Need To Keep For Your Small Business
- Cheques Journal
- Cash Receipts Book
- Sales Day Book
- Purchases Day Book
- Creditors Book
- Sales Invoices
- Purchases Invoices
- Bank Statements
- Stocks Records
- Cash flow
- Director’s Account
You need to keep financial accounting and records to track all your business financial transactions.
Does it not occur to you that you can forget some expenses you made for and on behalf of your business?
Have you ever imagined how it should feel if fire or any other natural disaster destroys your business?
And you have no accounting books and records to show the assets and liabilities of your small business?
Similarly, have you imagined how it should feel if you were asked by an insurance company to provide accounting books and records to enable them determine the premium payable by you for an insurance coverage?
Have you ever thought of the possibility of running into problems with tax authorities? And you are asked to make available to them your accounting books and records to enable them determine your tax reliefs and tax liabilities?
This article, therefore, seeks to highlight some of the financial accounting books and records you need to keep for your small business.
You need to keep a journal where you record, on daily basis, all payments made through your bank account.
If you have several accounts, you should keep separate journal for each account.
This book is important because if there is any misunderstanding between you and any of your customers or suppliers, you can easily refer to this journal to find the details you need to resolve the issue.
Accounting records: Cash Book
The cash book is where you should debit all the money your business receives from all sources.
Similarly, all payments made by your business should be credited in the cash book.
Moreover, the cash book is very important because it is the book where you can record even the very first expenses of your business; [also known as preliminary expenses].
Furthermore, suppose there is a fire out break that destroyed your entire business and that it is only the cash book that was salvaged.
It is possible for an accountant or an experienced bookkeeper to write up all relevant subsidiary accounting books from the cash book.
The cash book is also called a book of “original entry”.
It is so called because all other accounting books take their root from the cash book.
More importantly, the cash book should be updated and balanced on daily basis so that, at any point in time, you will be able to know how much cash you have at hand.
Accounting records: Sales Day Book
Sales Day Book is where you record all your daily sales.
All daily sales must be recorded in this book, whether customers paid for them immediately or promised to pay later.
Therefore, it should contain the following details, among others:
- Names of the customers
- Invoice numbers,
- Description of goods or services
At the end of each day the totals of each item in this book should be transferred to the appropriate ledgers.
From there, they will find their way to the Trading, Profit and Loss Accounts.
Purchases Day Book
Purchases day book is another important book you should keep for your small business.
It is important because that is where you should record all your daily purchases.
It does not matter whether you paid cash immediately or promised to pay later.
Therefore, it should show the following details:
- Names of the customers
- Invoice numbers,
- Description of goods or service
At the end of the period, the totals should be transferred to appropriate ledgers for further processing.
Accounting Records: Debtors Book
Debtors Book is a very important accounting book you should keep for your business.
It is important because it should show you how much money customers owe your business.
Moreover, it should contain all the names and accounts of those who are owing your business.
Furthermore, debtors book should be correctly updated after every single transaction.
Most importantly, it should be properly maintained such that should you drop dead, it should be an easy task for the administrator of your estates to collect them.
Accounting records: Creditors Book
Creditors Book is another important accounting book you should keep for your business.
This book is very important you need to record all the amounts your business owes to suppliers, business partners and lenders.
For example, Creditors Book should show, among others the following information:
- Names and particulars of all your creditors.
- bank overdrafts
- Accrued business expenses, such as rents, wages and so on.
- Dividends not yet paid
- Taxes not yet paid, and
- Lots more.
Therefore, it is very important that you update creditors book after every single transaction.
This book is where you should record the salaries and wages you pay to your employees.
Consequently, it should contain details of the pay as you earn (PAYE) deducted from your employees.
From this book it should be easy for you to compile a list of all the PAYE deducted from your employees.
At the end of the month, you should remit to the relevant tax authority, within 7 days, the PAYE taxes you have deducted from your employees.
In most cases, you could be sanctioned for failing to remit the PAYE to the relevant tax authorities within 7 days of deduction.
It is very necessary for you to keep, in a safe and secure place, copies of all your sales invoices.
This is because, you might need to refer to them should there any reason to do so in the future.
Furthermore, the tax authorities might also have reasons to look at your sales invoices when checking your tax returns.
Similarly, you also need to keep copies of all your purchase invoices.
Purchase invoices are important because, your sales personnel might want to refer to them to check the cost prices of some items, in case they forget.
After doing everything you want to do with the purchases invoices, you should file them away in a safe and secure manner.
Accounting records: Stock Records
Stock Record is yet another important accounting book you need to keep for your business.
You need to keep accurate records of your stocks because of your investment in them.
The stock records could be kept manually or on a computer software.
In any case, your bookkeeper or accountant should be able advise you on which method will be best for your business.
The stock Records should show:
- all the items of stocks you have in your shop
- the balance of each item of stock.
- Their cost prices as well as their selling prices.
Furthermore, the stock records should be updated after every transaction.
The best part is that from the stock records, you can easily:
- identify fast selling products
- slow selling products
- estimate buffer stocks
- calculate economic re-order Quantity [EOQ]
At the end of every month, you should obtain bank statements in respect of each of your bank accounts.
The bank statements will enable you to:
- compare the balance in your bank account with the balance in the cash book
- prepare bank reconciliation statement
Most importantly, it can even enable you to prevent or detect frauds on the part of your employees.
Cash flow statement can help you to track your business incomes and expenses in a coordinated manner.
For example, cash flow statement should show:
- cash inflow into your business
- Cash outflow out of the business.
- Track all your business incomes and expenses.
Accounting records: Director’s Capital Account
You need to create Director’s capital account.
Your first initial investment in your business should be recorded in the Director’s Capital Account.
Additionally, if you bring in more money, that fact must be recorded in the Director’s Capital Account.
Director’s Current Account
Similarly, you will need to create Director’s Current Account that will record all financial transactions between you and your business.
Thus, the current account will records, among others:
- any monies you may take as drawings from the business
- the value of all goods you take from the business for your personal use
- short term loan[s] you may give to the business
- Record how much your business is owing you, if any
- or how much you are owing your business.
Your financial record keeping, whether on paper or on a computer software, should meet the following criteria:
- Simple and clear
- Easy to understand,
- Consistent and
- Designed to provide information on a timely basis.
If you cannot do it yourself, you should hire a bookkeeper or an accountant on part-time basis, who can write up the books.
Furthermore, when it is time to prepare the annual financial statements of your business, you will pay less audit and accountancy fees to external auditors.
Most importantly, keeping accounting records will enable auditors to finish their work quickly and file your tax papers.
In conclusion, I know that not everybody is endowed with the love for figures.
However, you should not be lazy or disregard the need to keep accurate accounting books and records for your business
By Samuel Ijenhi
B. Sc. According, (University of Benin),
Benin City, Nigeria.