In the beginning…

     You have decided it is time to work for yourself, you are tired of the morning commute, or decisions of an out of touch CEO.  You have researched tirelessly to find any idea where to start and read books on starting your own company, filed all the necessary paperwork so you had all the right licenses.  Picked out a store front for those who need one.  It has been months, you are ready to open your doors.  With all you have had to do did you remember to set up your invoicing, accounting, and filing systems?  These are 3 very important pieces of your puzzle. 
     It is much easier to start these things in the beginning.  You can always add to them later as you grow but the basics should be set up before the doors open.  You should look at your accounting, filings, and invoicing with the same emphasis as your documentation, or business type.  It is very important to set all this up in the beginning. As you grow, these three steps are not impossible to start later, but can be a headache.
    There are a billion types of software you can use for accounting, I have used a couple of them myself, and therefore, I have my preferences.  Make sure you look at the abilities of each one. Price is an important factor, but should not be the only consideration.  You want a software that will grow with you, and maybe at some point you will hire employees.  This happens all the time and you need a software that can handle the ever changing landscape that is your business.  As a business owner, I find that if you start out with a program that is more than you need in the beginning, but will allow you to grow in the end, then it is worth the money.  You don’t want to shell out $50 for a software that will not grow with you only to have to spend the extra money down the road anyway and find out they don’t play well together.  Some of these programs may offer different modules, and offer a solution you won’t pay for until needed.  This gives you the piece of mind to know the new extensions of the product will integrate with what you already have. You have to be flexible when running a successful business, and right now you are thinking about all you have to do just to open your doors. Who has time to think about what you will be ready for in a couple of years once your business is established with a good client base? It’s is a good idea to make sure your software is prepared when you need it to be. 
    Invoicing is pretty simple. Most accounting software will allow you to add things like your logo, address, and payment requirements to a template.  Every time you invoice for work you have done, you can use this same template.  Quicken and Quickbooks both allow for the use of an invoice template. You get professional looking invoices that you can print and even email to the client, provided you have included it with your vendor listing in the software.  It will track your invoice and even mark it paid once you apply payment to it.       Your filing system is an important part of the set up as well. You will need files for your clients, your vendors, any company paperwork, all employees and their benefits, and the list goes on. With the computer age, much of this can be kept right on your computer with a good scanner and you won’t need to take up space with filing cabinets.  You can choose how you want to label them, whether it is a filing cabinet or folders on your desktop, and also make sure the labeling is consistent.  You don’t want to have to look for something from 2 years ago and not be able to find it.  For example, I keep most things on my desktop in a folder marked docs.  Labels like Payroll 2010 allow for easy access to pertaining files. In that folder are 12 more folders all labeled by month, and then all documents pertaining to payroll for that particular month.  The same thing can be done with Client Statements.  The nice thing is that it is a simple, but very effective system.  However, I do not keep vendor files or deposits on my computer. Actually, I staple check stubs to the vendor invoice. This way if there is a question, I have everything in one folder.  It sits in a 2 drawer filing cabinet, and at the end of the year I simply empty the contents of the drawer into a clearly labeled box with the year, and start the whole thing over again.  As a business, you are required to keep certain documents for a certain number of years. There are some documents you will want to hang on too for at least 2 or 3 years in the event there is a question pertaining to them.  You never know when you will have to refer back to an old vendor invoice from last year or the year before.  It all depends on the type of business, or documents you are keeping.  Terminated employees, for example, require you to keep personnel files a minimum of 3 years.  You can find out the types of documents and the required length of time you need to keep them simply by doing a Google search for specific docs.  You can also visit your state websites, city websites, and Federal Dept of Labor website for employee record keeping requirements as well as other document requirements.
    At this point you have done everything, you have setup your business, now send out flyers and open your doors!  Good luck !!

Receive Updates

No spam guarantee.