People come to me who have either just started trading and want to get off on the right foot from day 1 or who have been trading for a while and not really got around to getting their finances organised and I help them set up QuickBooks for their business so they can record their transactions, raise their invoices and generally keep on top of what their business is doing financially.
Often it's something like a looming tax return deadline or a limited company year end coming up which prompts them to get started, for others it's that it's been kind of niggling them in the back of their minds that they need to do something, and implementing an accounting system has finally made it to the top of their to-do lists. I don't mind. I just love the process of getting people organised, showing them what to do, and handing over a great system which I know will see them through their startup years and beyond.
If your financial records have been keeping you up at night worrying, you might be keen to get an accounting system set up as soon as you possibly can, so when's the best time to set up a new accounting system?
If you haven't got one, start now
If you don't already have any accounting system, I'd really recommend looking into getting one as soon as possible. I rarely recommend that anybody sticks with a spreadsheet (have a read of Why we haven't made a free spreadsheet for your accounts to find out why), and even if you're a real whizz with Excel and have incredible self discipline in keeping your spreadsheet up to date I'd suggest having a quick look at QuickBooks to see what you're missing. If you start now, you can record your transactions for the current financial year and the reports you need when your year end arrives, not to mention some really great features and stats to help you understand your business for the rest of the year.
What if I've outgrown my current system?
This happens some times. There are some great free accounting software packages out there but businesses sometimes get to the point that the functionality just isn't quite as good as software that they can pay a few pounds a month for so they decide to move on.
If this is you, if you possibly can, I'd really recommend sticking with your old software up until your year end, and using the year end date as your switching date to start using the new software. You might feel impatient to wait it out but I've worked with businesses which have switched part way through the year and it can cause a headache if you're not really on top of things, not least because if you try to run any reports, half of your year is recorded in one system and half is recorded in another.
If you can't wait, I'd suggest picking a month end date and switching on that date. You'll need to work very closely with a bookkeeper or accountant to make sure you don't miss or duplicate any transactions over the switching period and that your opening balances for things like accounts receivable are correct in the new system, but fear not because it can be done.
What if I just want a change?
A few clients have mentioned to me that their software is much more expensive than QuickBooks which is what I'd usually recommend, and I'd agree. Switching accounting systems can save you a few pounds each month, and if you find a new system more user friendly, it can also save you a lot of frustration and time as you do what you need to do. But if you employ somebody to set up your new accounting system for you, keep in mind that there is a cost involved of their time, so factor all of those aspects in when considering the cost and saving to your business. If you're wonder which is the best accounting system, do take a look at How we rank 5 top accounting systems.
And, if you're thinking of setting up an accounting system, you might like to read my 6 steps to follow to set up your accounting system.
If you'd like to have a chat about an accounting system set up for your business, please get in touch and we'll be happy to talk you through exactly what's involved and how we can schedule a set up which fits around the best dates for your business.