10 smart moves to reduce the time you spend on accounting

Accounting is a huge bugbear for most small business owners. Already challenged with all the things they need to do to make sure that existing customer demands are satisfied, that there are sufficient new customers in the pipeline, they often find themselves leaving accounting to the last minute.

For many people, before they set up their business, they had romantic notions about the freedom they were going to enjoy when self-employed. However, they often find out the hard way that there are a whole lot more tasks to do than they ever imagined.


Reducing the time you spend on accountancy is one way to help you win back a whole lot of time that might otherwise be lost or wasted. In this article, we’ll share 10 smart moves with you that won’t just reduce the time you spend on accounting in your small business, but they’ll mean you’re constantly in control of one of the most important areas of your business.

Here they are:

  1. Know what you need to do. Like any task, if you don’t know what you’re doing you’re likely to feel lost and out of control. As a result, one of the most important things you need to establish before you start your business (or as soon as possible if you’ve already started) is what your responsibilities are in relation to your accounting. If you’re self-employed, your accounting requirements will be different from those of a limited company. What’s more, if you’re VAT registered, you’ll have different responsibilities to a company or individual who’s not registered for VAT. Knowing exactly what’s required of you is number 1 priority if you’re going to be smart about your accounting.
  2. Get the right online solution. Online accounting or cloud accounting as it’s often called is winning the hearts and minds of most small business owners and it’s easy to see why. An accounting solution that has well and truly transformed the way small businesses, in particular, control their finances, it offers complete freedom. Once you are working on the cloud, you’ll be free from the normal constraints you associate with desktop or spreadsheet accounting and will find yourself filing expenses and creating invoices in the most exciting of places.
  3. Automate whatever you can. There are lots of apps that will make your life easier. No matter whether you scan and store documents for uploading to the cloud later or you have an ongoing accounting approach that keeps everything completely up to date, tracking down the right digital support to make your journey easier will pay huge dividends.
  4. Decide who’s going to do what and when. No matter whether you have a team or work alone, you still need to know who is doing what when it comes to your accounts. To significantly reduce the amount of time you spend keeping your accounts in order, you need to make sure that you have every base covered with the right people doing the right jobs. If in your business there are periods where people are likely to be absent or on holiday, it’s important to have someone else appointed who can take over their responsibilities and have all that planned in advance.
  5. Get the right support. While working on the cloud on the likes of Xero accounting will make your accounting a whole lot easier, it’s still important to have the right level of professional support on hand when you need it. At The Smart Accountants, we offer a core package of Xero accounting and then let you choose the additional support you require. What this means is that you never pay more than you need, but at the same time, you always know that you have a professional behind you should you need them.
  6. Put a system in place. One of the best ways of getting anything done is to have a system in place. Whether it’s getting fit to run a marathon or keeping your accounting in check, the right system will help turn chores that you don’t particularly look forward to into a habit. This means that you’re more likely to do them and not allow them to build up and build up until you have a backlog.
  7. Set aside a specific time to do the job. One of the very best ways of staying on top of your accounting is to set aside a fixed, non-negotiable time to get the job done. It may be that 30 minutes a week is more than sufficient or you might need longer. Only you know what’s reasonable; but make sure you find the right time of day when you’re unlikely to be interrupted – and make sure you get it done.
  8. Sync accounting to streamline it to the max. Automated bank feeds and bank statement reconciliation are just two great examples of how you can set up your accounting activities to sync and make your life easier. The more you allow your accounting system to take things as far as it can without you, the more time you’ll have to do other, more important tasks in your business.
  9. Stay close to your team. The more you communicate with the team that’s responsible for your accounting, the more in touch you’ll all be, and the more efficiently you’ll work together. Collaborating with the likes of Xero really is child’s play and we’d encourage you to do it so you stay smart with your accounting.
  10. Enjoy your freedom. With modern day accounting as it is, there’s no need to feel like a slave to your accounts. Working with The Smart Accountants means that you have access to all your accounting data 24/7, no matter where you are; so there is no need whatsoever to feel trapped.

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