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Organizing Your Business Accounting System

Jan 3, 2008
Many small business owners wonder if accounting is a necessary evil. Those who run the accounting system speak a language of credits and debits. Most business owners feel they can not speak this language. An efficient accounting system contributes to overall profitability.

An accounting system is for communication. The system produces information that tells specific things about the company. An accounting system provides the information to run the company, at the owners fingertips. The system includes accounts receivable, accounts payable, order entry, inventory control, cost accounting, payroll and fixed assets accounting.

The general ledger shows transactions in four different categories. These categories include the account assets, liabilities, income and expenses. Entries are posted to each and summarized. The summary is then sent to the general ledger for posting.

It is best to organize your business accounting system by function. From an internal control, it is best not to have one person do all the functions. Fraud and embezzlement are possible if too few people are doing all the accounting. An internal control structure helps mitigate risks through mechanics and procedures.

The type of information needed from an accounting system should be accurate, fulfill managements needs and be easy to use. As well as accuracy, relevancy and simplicity an accounting system should be set up so that it does not require an inordinate amount of time to maintain. The accounting system should be easy enough to understand so that a CPA is not required to operate it or interpret its output.

Some automated accounting systems require knowledge about computers and accounting. If you are thinking about one of these systems, make sure that the people running it have the ability to install and operate it. It is best to get a package that works well with your firms capabilities. Also, the automated package needs to be able to work on the computer equipment you currently have or will be purchasing in the near future.

A business cycle is a flow of transactions needed to complete a sale and collect the proceeds. In setting up an accounting system you need to know what types of accounting transactions are involved and what entries are to be made along the way. Most company cycles follow these steps, purchase raw materials, enter them into the inventory, begin the manufacturing process, enter goods in the process inventory, pay suppliers and employees, complete the manufacturing process, enter goods into the finished goods inventory, sell the inventory and collect payments.

When purchasing an accounting system you need to figure who is going to do what in the system. It is best to assign the person who is most familiar with the system to be in charge of it. If you are just starting a business you will need to know the background of your new employees. At least one of them should be able to run the system. You might want to consider having them interview with an accounting expert, check their references from past jobs and ask them accounting questions. It is your company and you need to do everything possible to protect it.
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Obinna Heche. Los Angeles - California

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