Unless you’re an accountant you probably hate accounting. Heck I’d even bet that most accountants probably hate accounting, but it’s an essential part of any small business. Accounting – when done correctly – helps small business owners record transactions, prepare financial statements and tax returns, and also maintains order in their day-to-day business operations.
Unfortunately many small businesses are still relying on a shoe box full of receipts to prepare their records. The shoe box method can be dangerous because it can lead to creeping expenses, overdue accounts, cash flow shortages, data insecurity, added personnel costs, audit risks and even bankruptcy (eek!). These risks are very real, so I asked Kirk Simpson President and CEO of Wave Accounting why so many small businesses are still using this method.
“People don’t start small businesses because they love accounting,” he said, “They start them because they want to be a photographer, or real estate professional or a life coach.” For many small business owners accounting is the necessary evil that comes with running the business they are passionate about. And naturally, the tasks that small business owners hate the most are often the ones that they tend to neglect.
“The accounting process is very painful and very manual for small business owners,” he continued. Even with the help of online spreadsheets and expensive accounting software, many small business owners still find the task daunting. According to Kirk the problem with traditional accounting systems is that they aren’t intuitive for small business owners. “Many of the accounting programs still make you manually enter your expenses. At Wave, we atomize the process as much as possible so there is less manual entry.” Through partnerships with financial institutions, Wave will automatically import and categorize small business banking transactions into the software so business owners can see where they are spending their money.
Another problem with accounting software according to Kirk is that it makes small business owners keep their business and personal spending separate. ”The reality is that many small business owners use the same credit card on the weekends to buy diapers as they do during the week to buy office supplies.” Wave makes it easy for small business owners to categorize their spending based on whether it’s for business or personal use.”
The secret to the company’s widespread success and adoption is that they developed the service based on the accounting needs of small business owners (what a genius idea!). “We spent a lot of time developing the software based on how small business owners actually work, not the way an accountant, bookkeeper or software program tells them they should,” he said. With over twenty years of combined experience in the digital media and small business accounting industries, both Kirk and his co-founder James Lochrie strive to keep the perfect mix of utility and usability at all times. Maintaining this fine balance has helped them become a leading provider of free accounting software and is why thousands of small businesses are starting to use their service.
The key thing to take away from this is that accounting doesn’t have to be difficult. With the free tools that are available, small business owners can be more informed when it comes to running their business. Being more informed not only leads to better organization at tax season, but it also ensures that small issues are dealt with before they turn into major problems.
For more information about this topic, attend one of our free small business webinars.