This article follows on from my introductory article on Starting up your own business (part 1).

Accounting for your business

Your accounting advisor

The A of the ABCs in running a good business, for me anyway, is to find yourself a good accountant!  When I first started a business I took a recommendation which turned out to be a very bad one – suffice to say the accountant did zero activity on my behalf in the first 6 months – and that cost me extra effort to catch up on book-keeping and administration whilst seeking another accountancy firm.  Thankfully, I found an excellent accountancy firm – Jolliffe Cork – who administered my business accounts, payroll, taxation and self-assessments, and many other enquiries over the years to this day.  This harsh lesson also forced me to study some basic business sense and book-keeping, which put me in a good position when it came to finding a new accountant. On top of that, I learned enough about accounting to administer the company books on a daily business and develop professioanlly as a Director/Company Secretary.

Your accounting tools

For accounting purposes, I created an electronic spreadsheet (I developed this over the first business year), which I maintained almost daily. At certain times over a financial year I also delivered it to my accountant who found everything they needed inside it. So, if you are interested, I have provided this spreadsheet for you to download and tweak for your own use (1).

As an IT bod, I looked at several accounting applications before creating the spreadsheet but I didn’t like the constraints of either the user interfaces, the databases, lack of documentation, etc. and just decided to create a basic open spreadsheet initially. I kept an open mind that I could move on to something more sophisticated if demand required it. As it turned out, I used this spreadsheet for 4 years and was very happy with it!

If you have any questions about the article or the download please let me know.

The next article in this series may also interest you, Business administration: second in the ABCs to run a good business, which covers business registrations, business data management and the administratives aspects of a director’s accountability.

(1) In the suite of spreadsheets I have provided, the fields should be self-explanatory – I have added comments where extra guidance may be needed. All cells in grey should NOT be changed (unless you are updating the VAT %, Corporation Tax % or Mileage quotas, for example). All currency cells in blue text are awaiting your numeric input. If there is nothing to insert, leave values at zero. There are text fields in black for your input also.
If you are not registering for VAT, also leave the relevent VAT cells at zero.
The suite includes:
  1. Example Ledger DDMMYY to DDMMYY.ods
  2. Example Accounting Codes.ods
  3. Example Dividend Voucher Template.ots
  4. Example Invoice Template.ots
  5. Example Purchase Order Template.ots
  6. Example Remittance Advice Template.ots
  7. Example Board Dividend Minutes Template.ots
  8. Example Directors Self Assessment Tax Calculations.ods
In the spirit of Open Source philosophy, I used OpenOffice.org to create the spreadsheets and templates. For those folks who use Microsoft Office, simply download OpenOffice.org Calc (the equivqlent to MS Excel) and open each file above – then, using Save As, save each one as MS Excel spreadsheet or template. Simple!
I also included the directory structure as described above.
To download the ZIP file  New Business Startup Suite and save to your desktop. You can extract the files using something like WinZip or WinRar, for example.

Originally published: Thursday, September 9th, 2010 at 22:26 in Industrialism, Money

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