week-end report, week 39, 2012

Taking my shot at describing, capturing for future, further access, what I learned this week—whether I really understood it, or not.

week 39, 2012

scaffolding city shot 103

[1] the most important skill

It may be that the most important skill to learn is the ability to decide to let go. Small thing or large, to be in charge of saying "That's enough. I'll move on now." In charge of when you say it and that you full-body mean it.

[2] self-service documentation

Is that possible? To be that clear and comprehensive with procedures and related documents that someone new could help herself to the how of what needs to be done? No long winding story about where details can and can't be found, and how it was done last time, though, there was that other thing, too, and on and on. Just a set of instructions, examples and reports.

Also, it needs to have some kind of flexibility, so that it works forward.

[3] paying in cash still counts

Just because you paid someone in cash doesn't mean it doesn't count, or that you don't have to account for it. It can't just disappear off your books. If it's a local handyman that asked to be paid in cash, get a receipt, or give him one and have him sign it for you. Your bookkeeper will enter it under Repairs & Maintenance and it will reduce your income, and your taxes.

If it's a regular thing and you pay someone over $600 for their work in a given year, you are supposed to provide them with a 1099 January of the next year. 

Or, you can code it as Owner's Draw (money you took out of the business for personal use) and it won't decrease your income, and you'll pay the expense without the benefit of it decreasing your income and taxes.**

One way or another it will be recorded on your books. Being a bookkeeper and caring about your business and your time, the quality of your experience, I always want to see you correctly and completely, descriptively and accurately enter every transaction. That kind of consistency makes it easier for me to do your books, and leaves me with fewer questions for you.

As a bonus, correctly and completely recording cash payments as the expenses that they are will make it easier for your accountant doing your taxes — maybe s/he'll charge you less than last time if your books are easy to read and understand. And, every item correctly and completely recorded on your books not only makes your books a useful tool to analyze, understand and improve your business, it also does not increase the likelihood of an audit or fines.

I don't know what increases the likelihood of an audit, but I do know that doing it right the first time doesn't.

The cash was real when you earned it; it was real when you spent it. No less real than if you earned it or spent it via check, credit card, or ACH transaction. It needs to be recorded on your books and on the books of the person spending it or receiving it. Really.

It's not just the right way to do it, it'll be easier that way.

scaffolding city, shot 103

scaffolding city, shot 103

**That works for sole proprietors and LLCs.

week-end report for week 33, 2012

Taking my shot at describing, capturing for future, further access, what I learned this week—whether I really understood it, or not.

week 33, 2012
scaffolding city, shot 36

[1] notes to self

Talking about money and numbers is often uncomfortable.

  • regardless of what they’re saying or how, what your client is saying is that they need help 
  • bookkeepers give their clients detailed information, and clients need time to process
  • communicate in a way that reduces the static between you and the client 
  • it’s business, but more so: it’s personal -- be transparent about the work you’re doing: it’s ultimately not your work, it’s theirs

[2] There isn’t one right way to report. 

You’ll need different tracking for different purposes. And, at the beginning, when you’re starting out, or starting a project, you won’t necessarily see what you’re going to need (or want) later on.


Set it up at the smallest, most granular level: uniformly, consistently enter data—comprehensively: leave nothing out.


When you engage a company to sell your tickets, or gift certificates, or to receive your donations online, include the fees they take in your reporting. 

On the income side, your data is about your company and its interactions with your customers. So, if your customer is paying for a$100 something then that’s the income that goes on your books. 

On the expense side, the fees you pay the service company, they also go on your books, as expenses (probably in Cost of Goods Sold). 

The difference between the two is your profit — which is probably of most interest to you — but it’s not the whole story. Entering both the income and expense tells the whole story.

Which is what you want your reporting to do, to tell your business’ story. Completely.

[3] We’re saving/storing a LOT of paper.


scaffolding city shot 36

scaffolding city shot 36