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Reliable accounting and good record keeping:

  • Are the backbone of a successful business.
  • What you can measure you can manage.
  • What you fail to measure you will fail to manage.


Most operators of a new and growing business have a flair for the environment in which the business operates. They may be a great salesperson, an outstanding mechanic, carpenter, lawyer, or inventor. Unfortunately most people don't like to keep the books. As an owner of a business you must remember that your company's books and financial statements represent a score sheet which tells how you are progressing, as well as an early warning system which lets you know when and why the business may be going amiss. Financial statements and the underlying records will provide the basis for many decisions made by outsiders such as banks, landlords, potential investors, and trade creditors as well as taxing authorities and other governing bodies. The necessity for good, well organized financial records cannot be overemphasized. One of the greatest mistakes made by owners of small businesses is not keeping good financial records and making improper or poor business decisions based on inadequate information.

Quality financial information does not necessarily translate into complicated bookkeeping or accounting systems. Far too often owners of businesses become overwhelmed by their accounting system to the point where it is of no use to them. An accounting or bookkeeping system is like any tool used in your business; it needs to be sophisticated enough to provide the information you need to run your business and simple enough for you to run it (or supervise the bookkeeper). Questions you should ask in developing an accounting and financial reporting system are:

  1. Who will be the users of the financial information?
  2. What questions do I need answered to manage the business?
  3. What questions should be answered for government or regulatory taxing authorities?

As your business grows, you should work closely with your accountant to ensure that your accounting system is providing you with appropriate information.


Chart of Accounts

The basic road map into any accounting system is the chart of accounts. It is this chart which helps establish the information which will be captured by your accounting system, and what information will subsequently be readily retrievable by the system. This tool, like the rest of the accounting systems, needs to be dynamic and should grow as the size and needs of your business changes.

The Upstart Small Business Legal Guide, Second Edition

The Institute of Management and Administration 
   A great management information site.  Lots of links, free info, etc

Financial Accounting Standards Board - FASB Pronouncements

FASB - Proposed Statement - Hierachy of GAAP

 A free standard chart of accounts. (PDF fromat)

To review a copy of my CV

How To Avoid Employee Embezzlement?

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Copyright 1999 Jerry E. Bartram, CPA  All rights reserved.

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Web designed and authored by Jerry E. Bartram, CPA  Last Updated 07/17/13

IRS Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, I inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein."