Rapid business growth and increased sales are often the epitome of a “good problem” for accounting firms. While doubling your client base generally means an exponential rise in revenue, unprecedented growth tends to be a great disruptor for bookkeeping. It’s easy to fall out of good accounting habits and become overwhelmed by sheer volume as you deal with double the journal entries, rolling invoices, and fluctuating cash flow.
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Bookkeeping needs to be a top priority for businesses with exploding growth, or unchecked financials could very quickly lead to an implosion. Developing good, scalable bookkeeping habits builds a growth support system and keeps business financials sound. But it’s easier said than done! Thankfully, there are ways to automate, appropriate, and refine bookkeeping processes to help maintain bookkeeping discipline in the face of chaos. Here are a few of them!
Automate Account Reconciliation
The time it takes to reconcile receivables is directly proportionate to the number of accounts. That is—more clients means more time spent managing receivables. If you’re used to reconciling 20 accounts over the course of a week, and suddenly you’re dealing with 40, expect your time commitment to double, as well. In most cases, this is unsustainable without bringing on more staff. Many growing businesses choose instead to push account reconciliation off to batch later in the month.
But there are problems associated with delayed account reconciliation. For example, revenue and receivables may not match, and you end up overpaying on taxes. Or your debt levels rise. These and other rippling consequences can quickly cripple business growth.
Accounts need to be reconciled quickly after payments are received. What's the best way to do that? Automation.
Intelligent software like Botkeeper makes account reconciliation simple by automating the process, creating a reliable picture of cash flow, earned revenue and invoice standing.
Again, automation is key in maintaining bookkeeping discipline in the face of unprecedented growth. This time, it’s about maintaining the standards of your ledger. We’ve come a long way from the days of keeping two physical books, but that doesn’t make double-entry bookkeeping any less important. And if your business maintains physical inventory, it’s that much more important.
The problem with only using accounting software like QuickBooks is that it’s hard to see money in and money out in a real sense. Your ledger may show $10,000 in expenses to three different vendors for products, but without the functionality of a 3-way match, you lack the visibility to attribute where those products physically sit (i.e., Are they an asset to your company or are they inventory waiting to be sold?) or if they have even been physically received.
Thanks to intuitive software like Botkeeper, it’s easy to automate double-entry bookkeeping using inventory tracking, accounts receivable, revenue recognition, and fixed asset accounting features. Cash flow is attributed, making it easier to understand your growing business and the new level of financial responsibility that comes with it.
Cash flow is the biggest inhibitor of growing businesses, and it becomes even more complicated as sales increase. While it’s great to have more money coming in, it might also mean dealing with different invoicing schedules, NET terms, payment methods, and other variables. Combine this with diverse revenue portals and it quickly becomes a game of catchup to keep invoicing on track and timely.
Whether your business batches invoices or issues them at the point of sale, being able to streamline them is a major time saver. It also makes invoicing simpler and scalable, no matter how many customers you’re invoicing today, this week, or this month.
Stay on top of good invoicing practices and automate where possible. If you have different invoices for different customer groups, cost centers or terms, create a system for seamlessly accessing and sending the correct ones at the correct time. Manually invoicing isn’t just a time suck, it’s a minefield for errors and mistakes as the number of total monthly invoices grows.
Chart Your Accounts Weekly
Booming growth means paying much closer attention to financials. On the bookkeeping side of things, that means charting your accounts with regularity. Decision-makers need accurate financial data on the regular to maintain business agility during periods of exorbitant growth and change. Some of the simplest, most informative reports include:
Accounts receivable/payable agings
To chart these accounts and correlate financial data to decision-making, it helps to have a system that also contextualizes data. While any accounting platform can show you a P/L statement, for example, context means everything. How does your financial data stack up against KPIs? How does your financial data compare against trending business analytics? How do inventory levels correlate to recent transactional data?
Businesses experiencing tremendous growth have a lot of good problems to worry about. Maintaining bookkeeping discipline in the face of such growth helps the rest of the business catch up. Beyond timely reporting, an influx of new sales and revenue data means bookkeeping processes need to evolve in scalable, sustainable ways. That means preserving the attention to detail of smaller operations while accommodating the impending volume that comes with growth.
How can this be done?
The answer is technology. Automation, trigger-based actions, data visualization, machine learning, and more are all viable resources for stringent bookkeeping, regardless of growth rate or scale. It’s why more businesses are using Botkeeper to intertwine their accounting and payroll technologies and tapping into these efficiencies for better bookkeeping.
Building sound bookkeeping habits and practices has a direct impact on how quickly you're able to grow your firm’s client portfolio and ultimately the bottom line. Click below to learn how Botkeeper can help your business achieve this goal.