10 Reasons Why Bookkeeping Is Important To All Businesses

The main purpose of bookkeeping is to track the financial activities of a business. Alongside the growth of the business, bookkeeping becomes more complex with why the introduction of tax, assets, loans, and investments. Bookkeeping allows businesses to keep an up-to-date record of their revenue and expenses, the amount owed by the business, investors, and customers, and so much more. 

Obvious, detailed, and thorough bookkeeping is crucial for businesses of all sizes. This article will give you a detailed answer to the question “Why is bookkeeping important to all businesses?”

10 reasons why bookkeeping is important to all businesses

1. Optimizes your budget 

Bookkeeping is vital to any business because it makes budgeting so much easier. Bookkeeping helps you organize your income and expenses properly,  and makes it simple to review your financial resources and costs. A clear budget in turn creates a clear financial plan for your business. Then you can plan for future expenses and the anticipated resources needed to cover those expenses. 

See more: 9 Basic Types Of Bookkeeping That Every Bookkeeper Should Know.

2. Simplifies tax planning

Every business has to file their taxes at the end of the tax year. And for many accountants, tax season means scouring their desks to find missing paperwork. If this sounds familiar to you, then you may need to consider setting up a bookkeeping system. With an efficient bookkeeping process, you will have your financial information ready for tax season and your accountants will no longer need to spend hours on the tax filing process. Bookkeeping is important for your personal tax return as well. For business owners, a large part of their income comes from their business. To know their total annual income, they need to know what their business earned first. Having detailed balance sheets over time helps you predict your annual profits more accurately. 

3. Supports decision-making

The best decisions are informed decisions, and to make an informed decision, you need to have access to all available information. Bookkeeping tracks and compiles all of the information needed to support your financial decisions. 

An inaccurate understanding of your financial status and key performance indicators can lead you to make some erroneous decisions that could jeopardize your business. For example, in the short term, if you don’t understand your cash inflows and outflows correctly, you may experience overdrafts, late fees, and difficulty in making your payroll timely. In the long-term, if you don’t know your sales profitability, you may miss many opportunities to invest in the more profitable lines of your business, which leads to lower earnings. The same thing can happen to non-profit organizations. If you don’t know the true cost of your programs, you may make bad decisions on which programs to invest more resources in. Business owners can prevent these types of situations by maintaining accurate books and records. This will simultaneously optimize business operations as well. 

4. Tracks profit and growth

Bookkeeping provides financial information about your company through financial statements. Financial statements, including balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements provide information for a set period. For example, you can see if your business is profitable or not from the income statement. Together, all these statements take a snapshot of your business, allowing you to see how well the business has performed. 

Bookkeeping also helps to track business growth. Over time, you will collect months and years of data. You can use this data to observe trends and better understand your business progress and compare results across periods. By keeping regular financial records, you can map out your business goals more accurately and achieve steady growth. 

5. Manages and improves cash flow

Bookkeeping allows business owners to take control of their business’ finances. It draws a clear picture of how you spend money. As a business owner, you need to ensure that your customers’ invoices are paid on time. You can track when your customers and vendors pay their invoices through the routine records of revenues, expenses, liabilities, and receivables. You can also notice if you are paying your bills on time to avoid penalties. 

So, how does bookkeeping improve your cash flow? Bookkeeping provides information regarding your outstanding invoices, such as customer or vendor names, amounts, issued dates, and due dates. Business owners can use this information to implement better cash flow policies, such as shortening payment deadlines or adjusting the time of payment for vendor invoices. By doing so, you can increase the average amount of cash you have on hand at any given time. 

6. Greater focus on strategy

Disorganized books can weigh heavily on a business owner’s mind. Your bookkeeping should not be keeping you up all night. When your books are completed and in order, you can rest easy knowing that your company’s financial information is review-ready. You will then find your mind at ease and more focused on other elements of the business, such as planning and strategy. 

Tactical and strategic planning are at the core of business operations. As you are always thinking of growing and developing your business, bookkeeping will bring you closer to your short and long-term goals. You can use the information provided by bookkeeping to track the results of your strategy and adjust your goals accordingly. 

7. Maintains organized records

As your company’s financial records are important to a number of stakeholders – investors, lenders, customers, employees, etc, providing the information requested by these parties is vital to your ongoing operation. In this case, being organized is a skill that every business owner should be able to find information at any time. If you cannot provide records to the IRS, your business can face penalties and fees. If you don’t provide records that investors and lenders requested, it could result in the stoppage of cash flow and so on. Being disorganized with your books can compromise or even terminate your relationships with these parties. 

Furthermore, the last-minute stress of finding a crucial piece of paperwork can lead to missed deadlines and other errors. Businesses of any size can’t afford to make mistakes, and regular bookkeeping can help with that. By keeping an eye on your bookkeeping frequently, instead of leaving it to the last second, you will be able to maintain organized records and save a lot of time finding the information you desperately need. 

8. Meets law requirements

The law requires businesses to keep their financial records separate from the owner’s personal expenses. Failing to do this can lead to the termination of your business. 

Accurate financial records are essential to filing your tax return properly, and can also minimize the chance of being audited and/or incurring tax penalties. Businesses with bad bookkeeping practices tend to file late and may lack the proper documentation to support their filings. This can land you in deep trouble with the IRS. If you are audited and cannot support your income and deductions, the result can cost your organization a lot. 

9. Data analysis 

Bookkeeping matters because it helps with business analysis. Bookkeeping is a management tool used to analyze business performance. 

One of the most useful products of bookkeeping is the financial statement. Business owners should generate the financial statement regularly to know which lines of business are working or not working. Financial statements allow business owners to focus on their business’s strengths and improve on its weaknesses. 

Bookkeeping reveals the previous financial performance of your business. In order to make future plans, you need a good understanding of your situation. Bookkeeping will give you a clear picture of what does work and what does not. 

10. Makes it easier to report to investors

Investors and shareholders want to know the financial performance of your business so that they can determine the value of their investment. Let financial statements do the work. The combination of the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement presents the value of the business. 

As stated above, the main product of bookkeeping is financial statements. Bookkeeping provides investors with up-to-date and accessible information. Then, investors will be able to make better, well-informed decisions, which is the ultimate purpose of bookkeeping. Bookkeeping is not only vital for current investors but future investors, too. Potential investors are more likely to invest in your business when you have organized information. Speaking of which, if you were an investor, would you invest in a company that did not have accessible and organized financial records? 

Final thoughts 

So now you have the answer to the question “Why is bookkeeping important?” It saves your money, time, and energy and helps you manage your business’s finances better. You can streamline the process even further by implementing a paperless bookkeeping system using Shoeboxed. Shoeboxed helps you clear your desks and turn your data into actionable information. Let us scan and organize your receipts, extract key data, create expense reports, and manage them in standard categorizations. Business owners no longer have to worry about keeping so many receipts, documents, and other accounting paperwork. Just leave it to experts. Contact us today and get ready to see how bookkeeping benefits your business. 

If you have any other reasons why bookkeeping is important to businesses, let us know in the comments!

5 Best Receipt Scanner and Organizer Apps for Small Businesses in 2021

If you’re a freelancer, an independent contractor, or a small business owner, you’ll know that organizing receipts can cause endless headaches. 

Turning your receipts from paper to a digital format with a receipt scanner makes your expense tracking much simpler. This is the best way to eliminate piles of paper and organize your spending habits. Using a receipt scanner helps you work faster, improving efficiency and giving you a competitive advantage.

A receipt scanner used to be a hardware device to scan a specific type of document, but now, in today’s world of smartphones and apps, actual scanners are a thing of the past. Your smartphone’s camera and a receipt tracking app are all you need to get your receipts scanned and organized. This article lists the best five receipts scanner and organizer apps and their specific features for particular purposes to help you choose the right one. 

How does a receipt scanner app work?

A receipt scanner and organizer app is a mobile app that scans specific forms of documents. This tool is essential for people or businesses to keep digital copies of their receipts for management or tax purposes. It is also helpful for professionals who need to track and prepare expense reports. 

Most receipt scanning apps work the same way. All you need to do is download the app, take pictures of your receipts, and fill in some additional information. The app creates a digital version of your receipts, which you can retrieve from a digital filing system anytime. 

These digital receipts can be kept for years without the danger of losing or damaging. You can always search for the receipt you need by entering the keyword, date, or time. Beyond such search features, there are numerous benefits to using scanner apps.


Advantages of scanner and organizer apps
A receipt scanner and organizer app offers the following advantages:

  • Security: Keeping digital copies of your receipts is safer than keeping the physical version. First, it lowers the risk of loss or damage by flooding or fire outbreak. Second, since documents are stored in a secured program and protected by a password, they are less accessible to hackers. And lastly, you can always create backup copies of your scanned receipts. 
  • Efficiency: A receipt scanner and organizer helps you track, manage, and organize your financial documents faster and makes them easy to find. It allows you to work quicker and more efficiently. 
  • Sustainability: Going paperless helps you eliminate unnecessary waste, such as paper, printer, ink, and so on. 
  • Flexibility: Some receipt scanner and organizer apps can handle various sizes of documents and send them to USB memory storage, email, fax, or file location. 

Discover: Why Small Businesses Need To Transform Paper Receipts To Digital Data

The top 5 receipt scanner and organizer apps for small businesses in 2021

1. Expensify

Price: From $4.99/month

Platform: iOS and Android

Expensify works best for small businesses with a limited budget as it comes with various pricing plans to meet your needs. Individuals can use the free version to scan up to 25 receipt scans per month without paying the monthly subscription fee. And if you wish to upgrade the plan, Expensify’s pricing ranges from just $4.99 to $9 per month. 

If you’re looking for a receipt scanning software that can also organize your receipts, then Expensify is a great choice. After you capture your receipt, Expensify will automatically upload it into the system. However, you’ll need to manually input some data so that the software can store your receipts correctly. 

A standout feature of Expensify is its SmartScan OCR, (Optical Character Recognition technology). The feature saves you time entering receipts by scanning them, verifying that the expense is compliant with your employer’s rules before organizing it into an expense report – all automatically.

Expensify integrates with dozens of accounting software such as Quickbooks, Xero, and NetSuite. By this, you can easily track and view expense reports from the software of your choice. All you have to do is upload and label receipts, and Expensify will take care of the rest!

2. Shoeboxed

Price: From $18/month

Platform: iOS and Android

With the pricing plans starting from $18 per month, the Shoeboxed receipt organizer is exclusively designed for freelancers and small businesses who are willing to spend a little more to be “audit-ready.” This app doubles as a receipt scanner and organizer, making it one of the most versatile choices on this list. Shoeboxed allows you to scan and upload your receipts via email or the mobile app. Otherwise, you can mail your receipts to a Shoeboxed facility to have them scanned and organized. 

Just like Expensify, Shoeboxed integrates with numerous accounting software, from Quickbooks, Xero, Wave Accounting, FreshBooks, and so much more. Shoeboxed’s OCR engine and human data verification features ensure that the digital versions of your receipts are legibly scanned, clearly categorized, and easy to locate. These receipts are in precise format, which is accepted by both the Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Service in the event of an audit. What’s more, Shoeboxed offers the mileage tracking and business card storing feature, making it a one-touch app to access all your important information. 

See more: How To Scan A Receipts Digitally With The Shoeboxed App: A Step-By-Step Guide.

3. Zoho Expense

Price: From $5/month

Platform: iOS and Android

Zoho Expense is a digital receipt organizer specializing in serving freelancers who like to keep things mobile and user-friendly. This app allows users to scan receipts and organize each one in their own order. You can also mail your digital receipts to the Zoho Expense software and sync the data with various business programs. 

Just like the above, Zoho Expense comes with an OCR engine and integrates with various accounting software such as QuickBooks, Xero, and Sage Accounting. But one of the best features that Zoho offers is its storage capacity. While most receipt software products put a limit on the number of documents you can upload per month, Zoho Expense offers users a set amount of storage space (from 5 GB and above). Since most receipt images take up relatively little storage, you can store a lot of receipts with Zoho Expense. 

The Base plan is free, the Premium plan is $5 per month, and the Enterprise plan is just $8 per month. Overall, Zoho Expense is the best choice if you want to organize your receipts on a budget and don’t mind doing some of the work manually.

4. Smart Receipts

Price: From $9.99/year

Platform: iOS and Android

Smart Receipt is a receipt-focused app that works best for those who want to keep the process of tracking expenses and generating expense reports exceptionally simple. This app has an OCR engine that performs text recognition on your scans, helping you search and organize the receipts. It can even create a spreadsheet with more than 20 different types of data recognized with corresponding fields. 

This app is also simple to use. Start by creating a report with all the fields you want to include. Then take a snapshot of your receipt and fill in the field. Then you can generate your report in PDF, CSV, or zip file. You can always generate more than one report from a receipt. 

The free version of Smart Receipts already has necessary features for small businesses (such as customizing PDF, CSV, or ZIP format for your reports, mileage tracking, and OCR functionality). However, you can always purchase a yearly subscription for $9.99 per year to enjoy additional benefits such as ad-free, automatic backups to Google Drive, automatic currency conversion, the ability to edit or customize the PDF report footer, and so on. 

5. Fitfin 

Price: Free

Platform: iOS and Android

What most people imagine when they think of receipt scanning apps is tracking business and travel expenses. But the truth is, one of the most common purposes for receipt tracking is budget planning. Fitfin is perfectly designed for this purpose. 

This receipt scanner and organizer app is a great way to track expenses and stick to a budget. It allows you to set your budget for various categories and save your receipts to corresponding folders. You can break your receipts down into items so that you can see where every dollar goes in your budget. The great thing about using Fitfin is that you can predict your spending, which you can track against your budget for real-time, proactive budgeting.

In short, Fitfin is best for small businesses that need to manage their budget precisely by giving you an overview of your finances and predicting how much you will spend. 

The bottom line

Choosing the best receipt scanner and organizer app depends on the needs of your company. For example, if you don’t go on business trips frequently, you don’t necessarily need one with a mileage feature. If you’re preparing for an IRS audit, you may want a feature-filled app – like Shoeboxed – that ensures your receipts are audit-ready. Compare the features and pricing of each app and try several before making a decision.

What Are The Differences Between A Bookkeeper And An Accountant?

Regardless of your business’s industry, size, and model, bookkeeping and accounting professionals play an essential role in the financial health of your business. While many people know that a bookkeeper is not the same as an accountant, they can’t put their finger on what exactly differentiates a bookkeeper vs accountant. 

In this guide, you’ll learn what separates an accountant from a bookkeeper, which your business should hire and when to employ them. 

Bookkeeper vs. Accountant: An overview 

A bookkeeper starts and an accountant finishes. In other words, a bookkeeper handles the initial stage of an accounting process which is recording and organizing daily financial transactions. An accountant takes up the work done by a bookkeeper and carries on the remaining tasks of the accounting cycle. Accountants are then responsible for analyzing and interpreting data gathered by bookkeepers, consulting with business owners, and preparing financial reports. 

To look at the differences in detail, we will compare bookkeeper vs accountant in two major aspects: job description and required credentials.  

Bookkeeper vs. Accountant: Job description 

Duties of a bookkeeper:

The practice of bookkeeping is far from new to the human race. Bookkeeping may have existed as early as around 2600 B.C. A bookkeeper’s core duty is to maintain complete and accurate records of the money coming in and out of business in a general ledger. Bookkeepers keep track of daily transactions in a consistent, systematic way, and their records allow the accountants to perform their jobs. 

Apart from the primary task of managing accounting ledgers, there are many other responsibilities that a company would ask from a bookkeeper.

A bookkeeper’s job description typically includes: 

  • Entering and correcting Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
  • Reconciling accounts and matching bank transactions
  • Issuing invoices and processing payments 
  • Managing expense reports 
  • Processing payroll 
  • Adjusting entries where necessary and as instructed by the accountant

Besides the above-mentioned typical responsibilities of bookkeepers, their duties vary depending on the industrial environment and business nature. For example, if you own a cannabis business, you may want to look for someone who can use seed-to-sale software (Biotrack, MJ Freeway, METRC, etc.) Or a bookkeeper who knows how to deal with IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) will be an ideal choice for trucking businesses. 

Duties of an accountant: 

 An accountant analyzes the financial data collected by the bookkeeper to provide vital business insights and financial advice to the business owner. Accountants look at the big picture, putting key components of your business’s finances together and presenting them via financial statements. Such reports offer you a clear view of where your finances stand and what they imply, as well as what you can and should do about them and where you may anticipate your company will go in the near future.

The following are a few examples of typical requirements in an accounting job description: 

  • Preparing accounts and tax returns
  • Monitoring business spending and budgets
  • Auditing and analyzing financial performance
  • Administering payroll
  • Compiling and presenting financial and budget reports
  • Providing tax planning services 
  • Providing timely forecasts and important insights for future growth

Accounting work is often office-based, with usual 9 to 5 working hours. However, the workload typically becomes much greater during peak seasons like the tax period and the end of a fiscal year.   

In small businesses, an accountant may undertake all of the activities associated with the accounting process, but in larger businesses, various accountants are often in charge of different accounting areas. This might cover both financial and managerial accounting.

Bookkeeper vs. Accountant: Credentials and licensing 

Requirements of a bookkeeper:

In most cases, bookkeepers don’t need to acquire any certificates to handle the books. Businesses or employers usually only require their bookkeepers to have a high school degree providing basic math, communication, and computer skills. Other necessary skills like time management, organization, and multitasking can also be gained in high school.

While bookkeeping is not a licensed profession, businesses sometimes ask for a certification as proof of expertise. Many big organizations offer accreditation and licensing to bookkeepers, such as the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB).

Software companies for bookkeeping and accounting such as QuickBooks, Excel, Xero offer certifications to highlight bookkeepers’ skills and abilities using these software products. So if your accounting system is heavily dependent on software, a bookkeeper with a sophisticated understanding of accounting-support programs should be your best option. That’s when these software certifications can help you. 

Requirements of an accountant:

Although not always mandatory, an accountant needs to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or related fields like business, economics, finance, or management. 

In addition to a university degree, an accountant can earn advanced accounting certificates to demonstrate their competency, such as a CPA certificate. A CPA is a “certified public accountant” who has satisfied the state’s standards and passed the Uniform CPA test. They must also meet continuing education criteria to keep their certification. 

When interviewing for a CPA, seek someone knowledgeable about tax law, proficient in accounting software and with excellent communication skills. They should be familiar with your sector as well as the unique demands and expectations of small enterprises.

When to hire a bookkeeper vs. an accountant

If your business is still in the early stages and you feel confident managing all the receipts and recording transactions, you may not need a bookkeeper yet. Do your own bookkeeping and hire a part-time accountant as a financial consultant.

However, when your business starts growing you’ll soon be overwhelmed by the paperwork. Then, it’s the right time to get a full-time bookkeeper to record daily data and keep your finances organized. Plus, an accountant at this point can help you create a long-term business plan, handle taxes neatly or advise you on the legal structure. 

Before you finally decide between a bookkeeper vs accountant, consider not only their credentials and expertise but also their cost, reputation, and their experience working in your industry. 

Try Shoeboxed today!

Whether you do your own bookkeeping or hire a professional, receipts managing and organizing still causes a lot of headaches. Shoeboxed can help you digitize every receipt, automatically extract data and categorize them for you within seconds. With Shoeboxed your receipts are stored safely in the cloud, fully searchable and well-organized. 

Get started with Shoeboxed for free!