So you want to switch from doing everything on paper to an automated system? I know it seems overwhelming but the most difficult part is to just get started! Automated systems can help improve efficiency and accuracy as well as provide backup for your data. These days the cost of the software can be pretty insignificant compared to the benefits! Here are a few tips on how to make the switch.
The first thing to do is make sure your business and personal expenses are separate. If you’re a very small business and keeping your books on paper, the chance that funds are intermingled is greater. Set up a separate bank account and credit card just for business use. If you’re going the automated route you may as well set everything up and do it right!
Before you switch to software you need to decide which one to use. Access your needs and do some research. It wouldn’t hurt to ask around and see what software others in your field are using. Many software companies will let you test them out or get on YouTube and watch some demonstrations. Be sure to find out what kind of support the software has and how often it needs updating.
After you’ve decided on your software start gathering all your paper documents. You’ll need these to set up your vendors, customers, chart of accounts, bank and credit card information, employee information, open accounts payable, and open accounts receivable from paper into the computer. Pick a date to switch over and enter everything after that date into the software. It’s usually best to do this at the beginning of the year or a quarter but if you start at the beginning of the month that works too.
Many software programs make start up easy and it walks you through a questionnaire about your business and your needs then sets up a chart of accounts for you. Once this process is complete, you’ll enter the information from your paper documents. Some software will let you import data from excel or other programs. This can be a real time saver with those vendor and customer lists!
There will be hiccups and headaches when making the switch but if you’ve kept good paper records it shouldn’t be too bad!
Jordan Ilderton, CPA