When it comes to business management, accounting and bookkeeping are two indispensable practices. Both serve critical roles in identifying your company’s financial health and detecting potential issues before they escalate into a crisis. However, these processes aren’t always straightforward, and businesses can sometimes struggle to implement them effectively. Even with the best intentions and diligent effort, small mistakes can creep into accounting records and throw off essential metrics. A simple way to deal with the accounting process if you are a business owner is to hire an experienced accountant or outsourced accounting services provider who can help you with meticulous accounting. Whether you plan to outsource or not, it is important to learn about accounting problems as the knowledge of the same can help you reduce or eliminate such errors and help you monitor your accounting process. This article will help you understand businesses’ common problems with accounting and bookkeeping and give tips for combating those issues.
- Revenue recognition
Revenue recognition is the process of recognizing the revenue from a sale as an asset on the company’s balance sheet. This metric is used to figure out how much a company is making. Businesses have different methods for recognizing revenue. For example, a company that sells software as a service might recognize revenue at the time the customer signs a contract. A company that sells a service where the customer pays per hour might recognize revenue only after the customer has been billed for the hours worked. A company that sells products might recognize revenue when those products are shipped.
Revenue recognition is critical to accounting because it is tied to a business’s cash flow. If revenue is recognized too early, the company may have to pay out tax on that revenue. Inaccurate revenue recognition could also make it difficult to access financing. Accuracy and understanding of when to recognize revenue play an important role in the accuracy of your accounting data.
- Inaccurate data
Bookkeeping is an important process in the accounting of a business. There are various types of accounting errors that can impact your final accounting data. A few accounting errors are – error of omission, error of commission, error of transposition, compensating error, error of duplication, error of principle, and error of entry reversal.
A simple inaccurate date, for example, of an expense or revenue, can result in errors in the entire account. It is important to make sure that the date is correctly entered, especially for purchases and sales related to inventory. For example, if the wrong date is entered for inventory purchase, the total inventory valuation could be off.
- Financial analysis inaccuracy
Financial analysis is the process of looking at past financial data to make future projections. For example, a business may calculate its break-even point to determine the point at which revenue would be enough to cover the company’s operating costs. Accountants use financial analysis to determine a company’s overall financial health. If you’re using accounting services, it is important to make sure they are analyzing the financial data correctly. No error should be made when calculating financial KPIs, which are used for strategic financial decision-making of the business.
- Fraudulent activity
Internal fraud is something that most business owners come across at one point or another, and sadly for business owners who don’t understand the accounting process, they are at higher risk. There is a possibility that business partners, employees, or other stakeholders manipulate the number for their benefit. If you know what red flags to look for, you can ensure that fraudulent activity is not happening at your company. For example, if there is an unexplained activity in the cash account, that is another red flag. The same goes for unusual activity in the accounts payable or accounts receivable sections.
- Payroll management
Managing payroll is one of the most difficult tasks for a business owner. There are many rules and regulations that must be followed to ensure that the company is paying employees correctly. The accuracy of payroll data is important because it is used to calculate the amount of money that is owed for taxes. Payroll data is also used to determine how much profit the company makes or loses. It’s important to ensure that your payroll software is accurate and that you follow the rules for deductions. For example, if you are taking a retirement deduction from the company’s account, you must follow the rules for that deduction. If you fail to follow the rules, you could be penalized for non-compliance.
- Non-compliance with authority
If an accountant is not following the rules for revenue recognition or financial analysis, there could be significant issues with the financial statements. In the worst-case scenario, the company could be forced to restate its financial statements and correct the errors. The company could face significant fines or have its ability to issue shares or raise money through debt be affected. You must ensure that your accountant is following the appropriate standards. If they are not, they could be putting the financial statements at risk.
Accounting and bookkeeping are critical functions for any company, large or small. To be successful, businesses must accurately track their revenue, expenses, and taxes owed. However, there are many pitfalls that can make accounting and bookkeeping more challenging. It’s important to know where potential red flags lie to protect the financial health of your business. A simple solution to all accounting problems is to have knowledge of every step involved in your accounting process. This solution, however, can be unrealistic. As a business owner, you can not be a master of all trades and expect to excel at it all. So it is best to hire an expert accountant or third-party accounting and bookkeeping service providers who can provide you assurance of accuracy in accounting. Doing so will enable you to focus on the primary functions of your business instead of numbers; after all, you did not start a business to take care of numbers unless you are a financial services firm.