The Importance of Bookkeeping in a Business

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If you run your own business, no matter what size, bookkeeping is a legal requirement by H M Revenue and Customs.

Basic records you must keep

Your basic records will normally include:

  • a record of all your sales, with copies of any invoices you’ve issued
  • a record of all your business purchases and expenses
  • invoices for all your business purchases and expenses
  • details of any amounts you personally pay into or take from the business
  • copies of business bank statements

You or your accountant will use these records to create a profit and loss account – which shows the sales income you’ve received and the expenses you’ve paid, and what profit/ loss you’ve actually made. Your tax liability will be based on this.

Other records you must keep

All businesses are different and there are many specific types of detailed records that may need to be kept. Some examples of records you should keep include:

  • cash book
  • petty cash book
  • order notes and invoices
  • copy sales invoices
  • details of any other business income received
  • details of any private money brought into the business
  • till rolls or other form of electronic record of sales
  • details of any other income
  • any cash taken out of the till to pay small business expenses
  • bills and invoices for purchases and expenses
  • a record of stock on hand at the end of the year
  • all bank and building society statements, pass books, cheque stubs and paying-in slips which include details of business transactions

If you do not keep accurate and complete records you may end up paying more tax than is due because of lack of evidence of tax deductible expenditure or/and inaccurate sales records causing H M Revenue and Customs to assess your expected sales . If you pay an accountant to prepare your accounts they will charge you based on how long it will take them. If your records are more accurate this will reduce the time taken and therefore reduce the amount they charge.

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The above reasons are sufficient to ensure you keep good books and records but the most important reason is to ensure you have control over your business and that you can assess its profitability and the cash flow situation therefore ensuring you are aware of any potential problems as soon as possible and can make business decisions with all available information at hand.

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