Skip to the main content.

9 min read

Accounting Tips for Startups

Accounting Tips for Startups

As a startup business, having the right accounting processes in place is essential for success. To get your accounting practices up and running quickly, consider these helpful tips for startups to save time and money while ensuring accuracy. From maximizing your tax deductions to automating your processes with cloud-based software, these tips will give you an edge when it comes to managing your finances.



Tip 1. Keep Personal and Business Expenses Separate

Keeping personal and business expenses separate is essential for any small business. Having a separate bank account for your business will help you stay organized and make bookkeeping easier. This allows you to keep track of all transactions, including income, expenses, taxes, etc., in one place. Additionally, having clear financial records makes it much easier to prepare tax returns or provide information to investors when seeking funding.

When setting up a new bank account for your business, be sure to get the right type of account that meets the needs of your company. You may want to look for a bank that offers low fees and minimum balance requirements to ensure that you can keep your expenses to a minimum, especially if you are in the early days of bootstrapping your business. Also, consider the bank's online banking and mobile app features, as this can significantly streamline your day-to-day banking tasks. You should assess the bank's lending options, such as business loans or lines of credit, as you may need access to these services in the future. Lastly, consider the level of customer support that the bank offers, as this can make a significant difference in the event of a problem or if you need assistance. 


Tip 2. Maximize Your Tax Deductions

Tax deductions are an important part of any small business. By understanding the available tax deductions, you can keep more money in the business and maximize its profitability. The most common types of deductions include those for employee salaries, travel expenses, office supplies, equipment purchases, and advertising costs.


Employee Compensation

Paying staff members can be a major outlay for a business, especially those just getting off the ground.  Fortunately, it’s also one of the most beneficial when it comes to tax savings. Wages, taxes, retirement program management fees and employee matching, as well as health insurance benefits are deductible. If you elected to tax the business as an S-Corp or C-Corp, your officer wages can be included on payroll as well. When paying an employees, it's best to use a software like Gusto to calculate and remit payroll taxes and net pay so that no mistakes are made and all forms are remitted on time. If you plan to work with contractors located in the United States, don't forget to collect a W9 so that filing 1099s at the end of the year is easy. 

If your contractors do not live in the United States, you aren't totally off the hook. Make sure to collect a W8-BEN form, which is a tax form used by non-US persons who are receiving income from US sources. The purpose of this form is to establish that the person is a foreign individual or entity and is therefore exempt from certain US tax withholding requirements. The form requires the individual or entity to provide their personal and tax identification information, including their name, address, and taxpayer identification number. Additionally, the form requires the individual or entity to certify that they are not a US person and that the income they are receiving is not effectively connected with a US trade or business. This form is typically required by US financial institutions, such as banks or brokerage firms, before they can make payments to a non-US person. Failing to complete and submit this form can result in the financial institution withholding a portion of the income to comply with US tax laws.


Office Supplies

Office supplies are tax-deductible expenses that can benefit small businesses in multiple ways. In general, office supplies are defined as consumable items that are necessary for conducting business operations, such as paper, pens, printer ink, toner, envelopes, and other similar items. These expenses are typically deductible on the business's tax return as ordinary and necessary business expenses. This means that the business can reduce its taxable income by the amount spent on office supplies, thereby reducing the amount of tax owed.

Furthermore, investing in office supplies can also benefit a small business by improving its efficiency and productivity. When employees have access to the necessary tools and materials to perform their job, they can work more efficiently and produce better results. Also, we don't want any repeats from Office Space, right? Let your people have what they need to get their work done, and if someone wants a red stapler, the extra investment may make a big difference. 


Advertising and Marketing 

Marketing and advertising are crucial components of any successful business strategy, and small business owners should not scrimp on these costs. While it may be tempting to cut back on marketing expenses in order to save money, doing so can actually be detrimental to the success of the business in the long run.

Investing in marketing and advertising can help to increase brand awareness, attract new customers, and retain existing ones. By effectively promoting their products or services, small businesses can differentiate themselves from their competitors and build a loyal customer base.

However, it's important for small business owners to track the cost and outcome of their marketing efforts in order to make the most of their finite resources, namely money. By measuring the ROI (return on investment) of their marketing campaigns, small business owners can make informed decisions about where to allocate their marketing budget and which strategies are most effective in driving business growth.


Travel Expenses

In general, a business owner can write off travel expenses if the trip is primarily for business purposes, such as attending a conference, meeting with clients, or scouting a new business location. The expenses that can be written off typically include transportation, lodging, meals, and other incidental expenses incurred while traveling.

However, it's important to note that not all travel expenses are tax deductible. For example, if a business owner takes a personal vacation and happens to conduct some business activities during the trip, only the expenses directly related to the business activities can be deducted. Similarly, expenses related to entertaining clients or holding social events are typically not deductible.

To determine if a travel expense can be written off, a business owner should keep detailed records of all expenses related to the trip, including receipts, invoices, and travel itineraries. It's also a good idea to consult with a tax professional to ensure that all applicable deductions are being taken and to avoid any potential tax issues.

The Idea: Small businesses can save money and maximize profitability by taking advantage of available tax deductions, such as employee salaries, advertising, travel expenses, and office supplies. 


Tip 3. Automate Your Accounting Processes

Accounting operations are indispensable for the successful operation of any business, and automating them can result in both cost savings and time efficiency. By leveraging cloud-based accounting software, you can streamline the entire process from data entry to reporting. This will reduce manual labor and errors while also freeing up your staff to focus on more important tasks.

When selecting an accounting software solution, there are a plethora of options available. Depending on the size of your business, you may want to explore popular programs such as Xero or QuickBooks which provide features like invoicing, bank reconciliation, expense tracking and payroll processing in one convenient package. If you're looking for something with more bells and whistles then consider investing in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems such as Oracle NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central that offer comprehensive financial management tools tailored specifically for larger organizations. 

Optimizing financial efficiency requires automation, no matter the system chosen. Automated solutions allow for faster data entry which reduces human error; they also make it easier to track expenses accurately so that nothing slips through the cracks at tax time. Plus automated systems often include helpful analytics reports that give insights into how well certain areas of your business are performing financially—so you know exactly where resources should be allocated going forward.

In addition to saving time and energy by automating mundane tasks associated with accounting processes, using cloud-based solutions gives small businesses access to advanced security protocols not typically found in traditional desktop applications. These additional layers of protection ensure sensitive customer information remains safe while providing peace of mind knowing that all records remain compliant with applicable regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA compliance standards if needed.

At Accountingprose, we understand how daunting the task of finding the right accounting software can be. That is why our team offers expert advice on choosing a platform that fits both your budget and specific needs so that you don’t have to waste valuable time researching every option out there yourself.  Employing automated accounting procedures is a wonderful method to simplify the effort and energy you expend managing your financials. By utilizing cloud-based accounting software, you can further reduce the manual labor involved in tracking expenses and revenue while ensuring accuracy of financial data.


Tip 4. Monitor Cash Flow Regularly

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. It’s important to monitor cash flow regularly in order to ensure that your small business has enough money coming in to cover expenses and pay bills on time. By closely tracking cash flow, you can identify potential financial issues early and make plans for future expansion.

The first step is tracking income and expenses. Ensure you possess exact documentation of all funds received from customers and disbursed for overhead, e.g., rent, power bills, salaries, levies etc. Knowing exactly how much money is going out versus coming in can give you a better understanding of your overall financial health.

Construct a plan to track your funds, so you understand where each cent goes regularly or every few months. If possible, try to forecast cash flow trends over the next few months so that you can anticipate potential problems before they arise – this could be anything from late customer payments to unexpected large expenses. Keeping track of these numbers will allow you to adjust accordingly if needed and make sure there’s always enough money coming in when it needs to go out.

For larger companies who generate significant amounts of revenue and expenses each month or quarter, hiring an accountant and utilizing accounting software like Xero + Fathom can be a real game-changer. This type of automation allows owners to free up time by automating tedious tasks such as invoicing and bookkeeping while providing them with real-time updates on their profits and losses throughout the year. Knowing that they have enough funds to cover upcoming obligations without having to manually check finances every day or week is invaluable - cash truly is king.

Finally, it may be worth it to have your CPA review past tax returns since they often contain helpful information regarding deductions opportunities that might otherwise have been overlooked during normal course operations. Scrutinizing financials can yield huge savings annually, depending on the scope and intricacy of a person's circumstances - thus illustrating how essential it is to monitor money matters.

Monitoring cash flow regularly is essential for startups to ensure their financial health and stability. Accurately monitoring expenses is key for making informed choices about the future of your enterprise and optimizing financials.

The Idea: Monitoring cash flow, tracking income and expenses, creating a budget and utilizing accounting software are essential steps for startups to keep their finances healthy. Additionally, reviewing past tax returns can save thousands of dollars in the long run - financial oversight is key.


Tip 5. Track Expenses Accurately

Accurately tracking expenses is essential for any small business. Without accurate records, you could potentially pay too much in taxes or miss out on potential savings opportunities. Having a system in place that allows for proper documentation and recording of expenditures is necessary to guarantee financial accuracy.

First, set up a system to track all expenses as they occur. This should include both recurring and one-time costs like payroll, office supplies, travel expenses, etc. Make sure to document each expense with an itemized receipt or invoice so that you have proof of payment when filing taxes at the end of the year. Cloud-based accounting tools like Dext Prepare (we provide a free account to all our clients) can be used to facilitate the management of rekordkeeping, giving you one less thing to worry about. 

Next, review your accounts regularly and look for any discrepancies or errors in how much you’re spending versus what is actually being charged by vendors or suppliers. One expense that we often see spiral out of control is unused software subscriptions. Make point to look at this line item detail each month to be sure that you aren't piling up unnecessary costs. 

Finally, consider investing in professional advice from an accountant who understands small businesses' needs when it comes to managing their finances correctly - especially during tax season. An experienced accountant can provide guidance on which deductions are available as well as how best to optimize them so that your business pays only its fair share while taking advantage of every opportunity available under current laws and regulations governing taxation matters in the US today.

Accurately recording expenses is critical for a business to be successful, and it's important that all financial activities are accurately documented. Getting expert guidance can help maintain financial control and prevent potential issues in the future.

The Idea: Small businesses should keep an accurate record of their expenses, review accounts regularly for discrepancies or errors, and consider professional advice from an accountant to ensure they're taking advantage of all available deductions. 

Tip 6. Outsource Your Accounting Services

Outsourcing your accounting services to a professional firm is an effective way to ensure accuracy and save time. It can also help you maximize tax deductions, automate processes, and utilize cloud-based software. With the right provider, you’ll be able to take advantage of their expertise while freeing up resources for other business activities.

When outsourcing your accounting services, it’s important to find a reliable partner who understands the complexities of small businesses. Look for someone with extensive experience in payroll processing, sales tax compliance, financial reporting and budgeting. Ask about their credentials as well as any certifications or qualifications they have earned that demonstrate their knowledge in these areas. Additionally, inquire about any additional services they may offer such as process optimization or cash flow monitoring that could benefit your business even further.

The paybacks of offloading your accounting duties to an expert firm are bountiful; from minimizing the expenses associated with hiring permanent staff members to availing yourself of specialized abilities not attainable in-house. Furthe, having an outside accounting firm manage your books can provide invaluable insight into potential possibilities which could spell more profit and less stress for you, the business owner. 

Ultimately, choosing an accounting service provider should come down to whether or not they meet both your needs and budget constraints. But don't forget, investing in quality advice from experts can pay off significantly down the road. Make sure you thoroughly vet any prospective providers before making a decision so that you know exactly what kind of value they will bring on board long term - after all there's no point cutting corners now only for problems later on.

By outsourcing accounting services, businesses can save time and money while redirecting their focus to more crucial areas of operation for long-term financial success. Going ahead, it is imperative for small companies to keep an eye on their money flow consistently in order to guarantee lasting monetary soundness.



Startup businesses can benefit from taking advantage of these accounting suggestions to guarantee their financial side is in good order. Utilize cloud-based software, outsource services if necessary, and track expenses accurately so that you always know where your money is going. Investing in professional advice from an accountant or CPA can also help guide decision making and save time and resources. With a little bit of effort upfront, small businesses will be able to maximize their profits with ease.

Take the stress out of managing your small business finances and let Accountingprose take care of it for you. With our reliable services, you can focus on growing your business without worrying about accounting or payroll complications.

Get Back to Doing What You Do Best | Accountingprose

Startup Financials: Strategies, Tips, and Tools for Success

20 min read

Startup Financials: Strategies, Tips, and Tools for Success

Running a startup can be simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. The rush of bringing novel ideas to life, the challenge of building a team from the...

Read More
Podcast 06: Bookkeeping & Accounting for Entrepreneurs

4 min read

Podcast 06: Bookkeeping & Accounting for Entrepreneurs

We just finished up an amazing interview with Beth Cochran of Success Lab and Wired PR. Check out what we think it means to run a small business and...

Read More
Vermont 2023 Sales Tax Guide

24 min read

Vermont 2023 Sales Tax Guide

Vermont Sales Tax in a Word Welcome to the world of Vermont sales tax, where the maple syrup flows freely and the tax guidelines are as...

Read More