Should a Business Owner Keep Their Own Books?

tax-468440_1280Should you keep your own books? This is a similar question to the question often posed at tax time, should I prepare my own tax return?

My answer is yes — if you know what you’re doing, you’re comfortable doing it, and you have time to do it.

Considerations: Startup

If your business is a small startup, or a side business, you should keep your own books. You likely don’t have the money to outsource bookkeeping to someone else and frankly, you wouldn’t get much value out of having someone else do it.

Considerations: Growing Businesses and Beyond

Websites for DIY bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks and Xero show faces of smiling business owners happily keeping their own books. It’s all so easy!

But the reality is, your business will grow to a point where you’ll either:

  1. Start getting into things you don’t understand how to account for, and/or
  2. You’ll run out of time to keep up with the bookkeeping

Of course this isn’t true of all small businesses that grow. A consultant who works with a small number of large clients during the course of the year and who has few expenses beyond supplies and office expense can probably keep his or her own books in a simple spreadsheet forever with no problems.

But for many small businesses, the growth of their business is going to put time constraints on the owner. There will be other priorities, and keeping the books will likely not be one of those priorities.

That’s the point when the owner should look at outsourcing the bookkeeping to someone else.

Image courtesy of user stevepb on Pixabay.coom