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Setting up Your Accounts-Part 1

by Sanjeev Archak Sanjeev Archak No Comments

When you are starting your business handling accounting and compliance can be daunting. There are a few  common mistakes that early stage businesses commit; of course with the right advice you can avoid these pitfalls. Part 1 of this blog looks at setting up your accounting system.

Open a Bank Account

It is best to open a current account for your business. This current account must be used to deposit all your sales income & paying all the business expenses. Of course there is a wide choice of banks to choose from, here are some factors to be kept in mind while choosing a bank account:

Bank charges: look at how much the bank charges for NEFT/RTGS, ATM Withdrawals, foreign currency receipts and payments, forex rates etc.

Minimum balance requirements: check the minimum balance requirements in the account. Also ease of operating the net banking must  be checked.

Mobile banking: choose a bank which offers mobile banking. This will save you a lot of time.

Separate Your Finances

There needs to be separation between yourself and the business. The individual and the business are not necessarily the same. How this works will depend on your legal structure:

For Sole Traders/Owners: if you’re a self-employed sole trader then your business and personal money are one and the same, legally speaking. But to manage your accounts, it’s still essential to have two separate bank accounts and to keep detailed financial records.

For Companies: a company is a legal person separate from its shareholders & directors. Companies are required to have bank accounts in company’s name.

Accounting for business and personal money separately allows you to have the best possible overview of how the business is faring – and is vital for tax purposes.

Keeping Tax Records

One can never escape taxes, as a business you will have to pay tax. It is a legal requirement, under GST & Income Tax Law, to have books of accounts. How much tax you have to pay depends on your legal structure. So as a business you must:

Know your tax liabilities: which depends on the legal structure of your business. Tax rates are different for companies & individuals.

Digitise your records: Income Tax Law requires you to maintain records for a minimum of seven years. Similar requirements are there in the Companies Act as well. So it is prudent to digitize your records.

Pay Taxes on Time: by paying taxes on time you will avoid payment of penalty. Let our experts at Integra Books help you with taxes.

Choose Cloud Accounting Software

Put your accounting on the cloud. A good cloud accounting software has the following features:

Ease of Use

Automation

Integration with other Apps

Zoho Books is a cloud accounting software which ticks these requirements. Zoho Books integrates with a whole range of Zoho Apps and will put your entire business on the cloud.

You can read a related blog here. Stay tuned for Part 2.

Bank Reconciliation: Why?

by Sanjeev Archak Sanjeev Archak No Comments

Bank Reconciliations. Sounds very tedious. But doing some boring and tedious work can save you from pitfalls. So sit back and read more about the need to do bank reconciliations.

What is bank reconciliation?

As the word reconciliation suggests, you will be comparing bank statements with your books of accounts for the same period. The idea of any comparison is to find discrepancies and rectify them.

Who is responsible for bank reconciliation?

If you do your own accounting, then it is you. If you have an accountant then it is the accountant. You will need to do bank reconciliation only if you are following the accrual method of accounting. If, on the other hand, if you are following the cash method of accounting, then you record every transaction at the same time as bank does; there should be no discrepancy between your books and your bank statement.

Still wondering which method of accounting to use? Read our Cash vs Accrual accounting for more.

Why should we do bank reconciliation?

1.So you don’t spend the money that you don’t have

If your bank account and your books don’t match up, you will end up spending money you don’t really have or holding on to the money you could be investing in your business.

2. To track cash flow

Cash is king. Reconciling your bank statements lets you see the relationship between when money enters your business and when it enters your bank account, and plan how you collect and spend money accordingly.

3. To detect frauds

Bank reconciliation will not stop frauds but will help you detect when it has happened. For instance, you could pay a vendor by check, but they could tamper with it, making the amount withdrawn larger, and then cash it. The discrepancy would show up while you reconcile your bank statement.

4. To detect errors

Banks are not infallible, they do make mistakes. Such errors maybe rare. If there’s a discrepancy in your accounts that you can’t explain any other way, it may be time to speak to someone at the bank.

5. Stay on top of accounts receivable

If you use the accrual system of accounting, you might “debit” your cash account when you finish a project and the client says “the cheque is going in the courier today, I promise!” Then when you do your bank reconciliation a month later, you realize that cheque never came, and the money isn’t in your books (even though your bookkeeping shows you got paid).

Bank reconciliations are like a fail-safe for making sure your accounts receivable never get out of control. And if you’re consistently seeing a discrepancy in accounts receivable between your books and your bank, you know you have a deeper issue to fix.

Conclusion

Doing bank reconciliation sounds easy but in reality it is not so. Here is where Zoho Books can help. You can sync your bank accounts with Zoho Books and even make vendor payments directly from Zoho books using the ICICI+Zoho Books integration. Reach out to us today to learn more.

What happens if you don’t do your accounting?

by Sanjeev Archak Sanjeev Archak No Comments

You are a business owner and you are juggling sales, marketing, hiring, managing payroll and employees. The chances are that you will be letting boring things like accounting stack up into a mess. Maybe you are waiting for the tax season to arrive. What happens if you don’t do your accounting?

There is a good change that you are likely to end up in a big mess and there might be a hefty price tag.

You will never have clear view of your business finances

If you put a full stop to accounting, your books will no longer show a clear picture of your company’s financial viability. Without accurate records, it can be difficult (or nearly impossible) to track cash flow projections and statements.

Without accurately measuring cash flow, you can obscure issues like overdue invoices, held inventory, or recurring variable expenses like shipping costs or salaries. A clear break up fixed and variable costs allows you to find out your break-even point.

Your cash flow shows when money is coming in and what bills need to be paid. If your business is failing to track cash flow and you’re struggling financially, having a paper trail can reveal the problem. But, without accounting there is no trail—just a stack of papers on a desk somewhere.

Financing options become limited

Let’s face it; no bank will lend you without proper financial statements. Without evidence of your financial history, securing loans, bringing on investors or partners, or selling your business will be an uphill grind.

Your invoicing cycle goes haywire

You could keep a mental note of who owes you what, but we’re all human—we all make mistakes. Are you sure you didn’t forget about the invoice for the client who always pays late? If you did, they’re not going to voluntarily remind you that they owe you money. The slower you are at organizing outstanding invoices, the longer your business will go without those funds.

Payroll problems start to rise

If a system of checks and balances isn’t in place, issues with payroll can happen. Without proper bookkeeping, you might be under-compensating (or overpaying) employees without knowing. Generating Form 16 for tax filing will be a huge problem. Moreover, this can cause tax problems for the employees as well.

Managing expenses becomes tricky

Having a shoebox of receipts might sound easy enough, but this is not going to save you money. Without proper bookkeeping, your business could suffer from slow leaks.

Accounting backlog drains your time and money

Tracking down a year’s worth of records on your own takes you away from running the day-to-day operations of your business—and catch up accounting can make a stressful time of the year even worse.

If there isn’t a system in place for monitoring your books, your accountant is going to need ample time to sort through the mess, and it will cost you money

You will get in tax trouble

Filing tax returns without books of accounts is near impossible. All tax filers declare that they are providing correct information in their returns. Therefore, providing incorrect or false details will lead to penalties.

So we have answered  the question of “What happens if you don’t do your accounting?”. Get in touch today and save yourself a load of trouble.

A Slackers Guide to Bookkeeping-The Lewbowski Way

by Sanjeev Archak Sanjeev Archak No Comments

Doing your books isn’t exactly a fun activity. You could be a slacker or a hardworking person, but there are definitely other entertaining things for you to do. So, we have come up with a slackers guide to bookkeeping.

Use technology to make it easier

Keeping track of receipts/bills is hard. You are likely to lose most of them. So use some simple tools which will make your life easy. Try using:

Cam Scanner:  A great way to digitize your receipts. Take a snap and store them forever. Also, don’t forget to send it to your accountant.

Zoho Expense: Lets you create expenses, store receipts. This also has an optical scanner for scanning receipts that you upload. You can skip entering details manually.  

De-clutter your business

Technology to the rescue again! Choose a software like Zoho Books to do the heavy lifting. Use automated workflows to send invoice reminders, get notified when a customer pays. Connect your bank accounts to auto-match receipts & payments with invoices. These will save a lot of time.

Separate your Business & Personal Expenses

Ancient wisdom says don’t mix business with pleasure. Therefore separate your business & personal expenses. For starters open a business bank account. Have all your business expenses & revenues in this account. You can always draw money from this account as salary or reimbursement. 

Make it a Habit

In between all the fun you are having, take some time out to do bookkeeping. Bring all your smartness to fore at least once a week. Check for vital signs like cash flow, unpaid invoices & vendor bills, payroll and taxes. 

“This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.” — The Dude

Be the Dude and let Integra Books to do the heavy lifting. We will pair you with an expert and a software. 

(PS: If you are a hard-working, diligent person, we are sorry we wasted your time. Here is something for you too)

 

Cloud Accounting Software

by Sanjeev Archak Sanjeev Archak No Comments

Internet has changed the word in indescribable ways. With the advent of cloud computing all products and services are now hosted on the cloud. Cloud computing enables access to data from any device or any place.Rapid penetration of internet has made access to data easy and quick. Most businesses are now on the cloud so why should accounting be an exception? A recent report estimated the accounting software market to reach US$ 20,408 Mn by  2026.There has been steady shift to cloud based accounting software from desk top software.As businesses become more mobile, they will move away from on premise accounting software.

 

In this post we shall read  how cloud accounting can transform your business. Here are some reasons to move your accounting to cloud:

1.Automation

Desktop accounting is a manual process. This requires sales invoices,expense entries, bank and cash entries to be entered manually. In a cloud based software one can:

  1. Set recurring invoices for sales
  2. Set recurring bills for expenses
  3. Integrate expense management software with books of accounts
  4. Sync bank accounts,credit cards,payment gateways for automated matching
  5. Create workflows to streamline processes

These features are absent in a desktop environment.

2. All teams on one Software

Cloud based application empowers services organizations to manage

  1. People
  2. Projects
  3. Financials
  4. Customer
  5. Vendors

in one integrated application. Desktop bases software is designed to do only accounting. This means that the finance function becomes a silo, distinct from the rest of the business.

3.Accessibility

All you need is internet connection. Internet penetration is increasing in India and data costs are cheapest in the world. Your accounting software can be accessed from a PC,tablet,mobile phone or any other device. This allows teams to work remotely.

Desktop based software is installed on a machine and remote access is not possible unless one brings the machine along. This rules out remote working.

4. Customization

Cloud based accounting software are very flexible. An user can customize:

  1. Sales invoices based on customer requests
  2. Emails to be sent to vendors/customers
  3. Financial reports
  4. Integrate with third party apps

Desktop bases systems rarely integrate with other applications.Hence customization options are limited.

5.Data Backup

All data rests on the cloud. Data is backed up off site and secured by high tech systems.  If your computer crashes,is broken, you can access your data from another device.

Desktop software requires manual back ups. If your dedicated accounting computer breaks down then data,if not backed up, is lost. This can cause huge damage and downtime.

6.Security

A recurring question when it comes to cloud is “How secure is my data”?. Relax. All the cloud based accounting software’s use state-of-the-art encryption to secure data. You do not need an IT department to host and administer these applications. User access can be regulated and can be changed on demand.

Desktop software requires that local machines be protected from viruses and unauthorized access. Login credentials have to be kept confidential.

7.Updates

In cloud based software you are always using the most current version.The software is automatically updated for changes in tax laws or any other upgrades. Installing updates in a desk top software is forced when there is a migration. Bug fixes or other upgrades require a new version to be purchased.

So there you have it, seven reasons why you should move your accounting to the cloud.  Integra Books uses Zoho Books, cloud based accounting software to provide accounting services. Integra Books can help you migrate from into Zoho Books. Get in touch with us today to put your accounting on the cloud and empower your business.

Key fundamentals to Effective Accounting

by Sanjeev Archak Sanjeev Archak No Comments

Accounting can be tedious work,however it helps you get more organized,brings more clarity and allows you to work more efficiently. In a day and age where business is cut throat competition,financial insights could be the game changer for your business. In many instances it could even be your competitive advantage.Without accounting, you’re driving blind like a car without knowing how much fuel is left in the tank. Proper book keeping gives you sight of what’s happening both internally and externally.

In this guide, we’ll break down the basics of accounting, we’ll show you why it is critical and the seven key steps to setting up and optimizing your own accounting process to help you get on the fast lane past your competition.

What is accounting?

In simple words, accounting is the process of tracking of all your company’s financial transactions, so you can see clearly where your business is spending money,where your revenue is coming from and which tax deductions you’ll be able to claim.

Why does accounting matter?

Accounting provides answers to critical questions viz

1.Is my business profitable?

Profit matters.Profit is the most critical measure of a business.It keeps your business ticking.Well kept books of accounts will always provide the correct answer to this critical question.

2.Are my operations cost effective?

You may be able to see your bottom line by glancing at your bank balance, but ups and downs in your account are also telling a story.Are sales up? Are my operations costs too high? Who knows? Paying attention to your financial statements is a great way to get to know the story of your business

3.Are my operations cost effective?

Taxes. There is no escaping from taxes. Well kept books of accounts will help you legitimately claim deductions. The more information & supporting documents your CA has, the better tax return will be.

4.Will I get loans?

If you need financing of any kind, having well-kept books gives lenders or investors a clear idea of your business’s current financial state and allows them to make financial projections about your company’s ability to pay off loan in the future.

Where to Start?

You probably are thinking that these tasks are easy and doable.However, from our experience working with multiple business, unpreparedness is precisely the problem that gets them drowned when everything seems to be fine and running smoothly. It then suddenly hits you like a Tsunami out of
nowhere.Here’s a few steps you can follow to help ensure you have the basics sealed tight and functioning for your advantage.

Step 1: Separate your business and personal expenses

It is critical to separate business finances effectively. In fact, we would suggest to permanently separate them from your personal finances.

If you are running a limited company (Pvt Ltd or LLP or Public Ltd) there must be distance between your personal and business finance.A corporate company is distinct legal entity different from the promoters.The law requires that finances of company be tracked separately. 

Plus, you’ll want to pull your hair out when it’s time to reconcile bank statements, you have to hunt down the receipt for lunch to remember if it was a personal expense or a client meeting.

Step 2: Choose a bookkeeping system

There are two main accounting methods: single entry and double entry.It is a matter of picking the system that’s right for your business and applying it consistently.

Single-entry is a simple system that might work for you if your accounting is straightforward. Entries are recorded one time, as either an input or output If you are doing your own accounting, this is the approach you are likely to take.

Double entry is much more complex, but also more detailed and effective. At first, all transactions are entered into a journal and then each of them entered into the ledger twice, as a debit and credit. If you are a corporate entity in India, you will be required to maintain your books under the double entry system mandatorily.

Step 3:Choose an accounting method: cash or accrual

If you are using cash accounting, you only record transactions when money has exchanged hands. So if you billed a customer you will not enter it till your customer has paid you.

Under the accrual method, you will record the income when you bill the customer,rather than waiting for them to pay you.

If you are a corporate entity in India, you will be required to maintain your books under the accrual system of accounting.

Step 4: Organise and store your documents

At tax assessment time, the burden on you to show validity of all of your expenses, so keeping supporting documents like receipts and records is crucial. Income tax law in India requires you to maintain the documents for a minimum of 8 years. It is smart to use cloud based software like Zoho Books or other such software to store receipts so you don’t have to deal with smudged receipts.

Step 5:Make it a habit

It’s easy to fall behind on your accounting when you’ve got other things happening. To stay on track, try setting a finance date with yourself once a month to get it done. If you do happen to fall behind, Integra Books can help you get caught up in no time.

There you have it, basic steps to make the foundation of your accounting processes strong and effective for your business’s advantage. Accounting is complex but with a strong foundation, you’ll be equipped to race past competition and ensure you are always on track to profitability.

In this new age of technology why should accounting be cumbersome and boring? Let the experts at Integrabooks help you.