You might be thinking to yourself that the answer here is easy: do it yourself!
But unless you have some experience with bookkeeping, finance, accounting, and/or tax laws, you might not actually save money through this method of managing expenses for your home and business.
Okay, so most of us muddle through alright when it comes to household finance, but you might be surprised by how much you’re missing out on in the way of savings by adopting a DIY attitude.
And when it comes to your business, you could almost certainly benefit from a bit of expert advice or even a long-term relationship with a professional accountant.
But how can you get these essential services for less?
Here are just a few tips to help you save on bookkeeping for both your home and your business.
- Get organized — You may not be able to do everything on your own, but keeping your records in order is something that absolutely everyone can do, and it will assuredly save you money down the line. You can store pay stubs and payment records for monthly bills in a simple accordion file (or a more complex file system) for easy reference and enter everything into an Excel spreadsheet (including income, expenses, deductibles, and so forth) to take to your accountant come tax time. You can even do easy calculations (totals) on your own to save time (since professionals charge by the hour).
- Get software — If you’re having trouble keeping all of your financial documents orderly, consider a program like QuickBooks to help you out (good for business or home use). Although it isn’t cheap (you’ll pay upwards of $150 for the pro version), consider how much you might pay an accountant for each hour that he has to slog through piles of your paperwork. In the long run, this handy tool could end up saving you a lot (especially considering you can use it year after year).
- Take a class — Old-school bookkeeping is easy, but not very efficient. And while computer programs are faster, they may leave you scratching your head. So why not take a class to familiarize yourself with modern accounting practices? Often you can find weekend courses (or even online classes) in your community (check with the community center or a local community college) at low cost to help you learn programs like QuickBooks. And you can look for information online about current tax laws and how they affect you. There are so many amazing tools at your disposal these days when it comes to doing your own bookkeeping; don’t let a lack of knowledge stop you from taking advantage of them.
- Hire a temp. When it comes to bookkeeping for a business, you may need a little more help. The process is no doubt going to be more complex than managing the expenses for your household and the laws will differ, as well. So instead of pulling out your hair as you try to go it alone, or spending beaucoup bucks to let an accountant deal with it, think about hiring a temp or a weekend bookkeeper to whip your records into shape. This route is far cheaper than your average accountant and it will save you a lot of time and trouble, as well.
- Write it off — Did you know that any time you spend money on legal services related to your business (or even legal advice on taxation for yourself) you can write it off? No? Well, there are probably a lot of write-offs you’re missing out on if you’re doing all your bookkeeping on your own. In some cases, you have to spend money to make money, so unless you’re willing to take the time to learn everything you need to know on your own, it behooves you to hire someone to help you maximize your earnings, minimize expenditures, and make sure that you get all the deductibles your home and business are eligible for each year.