Can I Do My Own Bookkeeping as a Small Business?

Probably the biggest question I get asked from solopreneurs “can I do my own bookkeeping, or should I hire an accountant to do it for me?”

And if you’re new to my world, I’m probably going to blow your mind on this subject because me? I’m the CPA who doesn’t want to do your taxes for you and I help business owners/sole proprietors just like you crush your OWN books so you can make more money and feel hella confident come tax season. 

Because financial literacy and understanding your own books is how you unlock true freedom in your business. 

Let’s go.

 

 

Do I Need an Accountant for Bookkeeping?

So, as you may have guessed from the intro of this post, the short answer is no.

As is the longer answer. 

I strongly believe that the business owner is THE best bookkeeper in ANY business. 

If you’ve attended my masterclasses before or read some of my other posts, you may have seen me mention my Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Tax Edition) and where I believe the best place your accountant should be coming in. 

And if you’re new around here, hey…see the pyramid below.

As you can see, your bookkeeping, that’s the foundation that holds the rest of your accounting together. 

And trust me, when you learn how to nail this, not only will you save a ton of money on your accountant (you don’t need to be paying top dollar for bookkeeping guys), you can actually get them to do the things that are gonna make an even bigger impact on your business like tax planning; that’s all the fun stuff like finding out the most efficient way to write off expenses, deciding on whether you should incorporate your business, your compensation strategy etc. 

 

 

Why Business Owners are the Best Bookkeepers for Their Own Business

Maximising your write offs truly starts with you, you know your business better than anyone else and when you outsource your bookkeeping, these guys (or gals) can only do what they can with the information they’re given. 

I’m not pointing fingers here but things can get overlooked. 

But do you know who doesn’t overlook anything in business, you – the business owner. 

Solopreneurs of the world. 

Here’s the thing, you are SO passionate about your business, you’re invested in it, you know it like the back of your hand, so you likely know exactly what every single transaction was that you paid for.

Your bookkeeper does not and they don’t want to bother you where possible because that’s why you hired them right? 

But sometimes information is missing and so they miss certain write offs or tax input credits for example, and that can literally cost you thousands of dollars. 

I know this because I literally had a client, let’s call her Susan (that’s not her name, by the way) who actually outsourced her bookkeeping.

But, like a lot of solopreneurs, as much as she felt relief that she was getting that tedious task off her plate, her numbers still felt heavy for her because she had no idea what was going on, the process didn’t feel great to her. 

So she invested in my online course, ChillBooks™ so she could actually understand what her bookkeeper was doing. 

And she noticed some pretty big inaccuracies…and not just a few bucks here and there, we’re talking about thousands guys, thousands she’d lost out on ‘cause her books weren’t accurate. 

This was no one’s fault, but serves as a reminder that had she been doing it herself, she would’ve recognised the transactions and made sure she got back the input tax credits for certain things she’d purchased. 

 

 

The Most Common Bookkeeping Mistakes I see Business Owners Make

Look I get it, doing your own bookkeeping can feel scary because what if you mess something up? 

I promise you, doing your own bookkeeping isn’t as scary as it might seem, and I’m never going to judge a business owner for giving it a go, but here’s a common mistake I see people make that’s easily avoidable. 

And it’s to do with your reconciliations in QuickBooks™ – or if you’re not using QuickBooks –  sub in whatever bookkeeping system you are using. Reconciliation is a universal function that is present in all bookkeeping systems, in fact if your system does not have this function it is not a real bookkeeping system.

Now if you’re a sole proprietor reading this blog, you probably think that reconciliation of your accounts is just looking at the transactions in your bank account and marking what they are. 

Am I right? 

But in fact, reconciliation is a bookkeeping function and there is a specific reconciliation section in QuickBooks™ that needs to be used when you’re reconciling accounts. 

If you’re an incorporated business, this is an absolute nonnegotiable, you have to do it.

If you’re not incorporated, I still HIGHLY recommend you do this, it’s good practice. 

Reconciliation is basically looking at where you start each and every month, and going through your bank or credit card statement line by line to make sure that the balance and everything that happened matches what was recorded in QuickBooks so there’s no disparities. Sounds tedious, but that’s why you have a system to do this for you, in fact when you have an optimised and automated bookkeeping process this can take as little as 30 seconds to do each month.

Plus, inside Chillbooks™ I’ve created a checklist to help you with any reconciliation errors and a flowchart to make sure you nail it.

 

 

Bookkeeping Software to Make Your Life Easier 

Which brings me to my next point (and maybe this is the real mistake with bookkeeping I most often see entrepreneurs make).

A spreadsheet is not a bookkeeping system. 

Close down Google Sheets, right now. 

There’s a reason why software like QuickBooks™ exist and I promise you, once you get the hang of it, it’s actually easier than using a spreadsheet – those things get messy FAST. 

Plus you’re less likely to miss a tax writeoff if you’re using CRA approved receipt management software like this. 

 

 

Ready to Start Doing Your Own Bookkeeping?

So if you’re reading this, and you’re like, “you know what Jami, I don’t really need to be paying my accountant thousands of dollars every single year to do something that I could probably do…I’m smart”

Then I’ve got you. My online course, Chillbooks™ is literally designed to help you become a PRO at QuickBooks and managing your own bookkeeping so that you can create a more profitable business (heck yeah!!) and a more laid-back workload.

I’m on a mission to financially empower more solopreneurs in Canada to get on top of their books so you can start to celebrate more zeros on the end of your bank balance. 

Wanna hear more?

 

 

Jami Monte, CPA, CGA

After a 7 year career as a CPA in the Advertising industry, Jami transitioned to entrepreneurship and launched Chillbooks™ – a fun, approachable financial education course that offers bookkeeping and QuickBooks training, along with essential financial education for entrepreneurs.

As TurboTax Canada’s spokesperson for 2023 and 2024, she has been featured across multiple news outlets including CP24, CTV, and BNN Bloomberg. She is passionate about empowering entrepreneurs with financial know-how so they can navigate their business journey with confidence.

 

Written By: Jami Monte

After a 7 year career as a CPA in the Advertising industry, Jami transitioned to entrepreneurship and launched Chillbooks™ – a fun, approachable financial education course that offers bookkeeping and QuickBooks training, along with essential financial education for entrepreneurs.

As TurboTax Canada’s spokesperson for 2023 and 2024, she has been featured across multiple news outlets including CP24, CTV, and BNN Bloomberg. She is passionate about empowering entrepreneurs with financial know-how so they can navigate their business journey with confidence.

First Published: May 28, 2024

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