Starting a new business is exciting, but in that excitement are a lot of decisions to be made. Out of them all, the accounting decisions you will need to make are among the most important. When starting a new business, you will want to spend some time on the following areas:
- The type of organization your business is – Are you a sole proprietor or are you in business with someone else? Will you organize as a partnership or as a corporation? Limited liability companies are the newest form of entity – is this form right for your business? Choosing an organizational type will determine what federal and state income forms to file. For example, a corporation may need to file annual reports in the state of the incorporation.
- The fiscal year of your business – Most businesses use the calendar year, but that may not be the proper choice for your business. For tax purposes, many businesses choose a different beginning and ending date than the January through December calendar year.
- The accounting method for your business – Are you going to use a cash or accrual method of accounting? The cash method is easier for startup companies, however, if you have inventory – the IRS may force you to use accrual.
- You will have to decide if your business will follow GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) or Tax Basis for financial statement disclosures. Your banker may prefer one over the other.
- The method of valuing inventory for your business – Accounting principles allow many methods, like LIFO (last in first out), FIFO (first in first out), and Lower of Cost or Market. You will need to choose the right method for your business.
- Financial records for your business – You have a lot of choices here! Are you going to use paper ledger sheets to record sales and purchases? Are you going to keep track of income and expense using a computer program? Some bookkeeping software has the ability to integrate your data with an accounting professional, thus saving you money. You will need to decide the best method for your business.
Feeling a little overwhelmed? All of the above can be much easier if you have an accounting professional to guide you. This is another decision you will need to make. Will you hire an in-house accounting clerk or will you out-source your accounting needs?
Unfortunately, too many new businesses skimp on setting their accounting backbone up correctly at the start of their business. The financial backbone needs to be strong, as it is the support of your entire venture. You can get expert help in these initial stages, and decisions, in setting up a new business, so that your business starts off right.
Starting a new business is exciting! If you take the time to talk with your accounting professional about the above decisions, you will help ascertain the best possible beginnings for your business. Good luck!