DIY Bookkeeping: When and How to Make it Work


Most people assume that proper bookkeeping requires one of two things – math skills or the proper software. Those things sure do come in handy, but I would argue that good books require something far more important. Good books require discipline. 

Bookkeeping, by definition, is the discipline or skill of maintaining systematic records of financial transactions. Bookkeeping is not a mathematical process. With consistency, patience and the proper tools (I recommend Quickbooks Online) most business owners are capable of managing their own books without formal education, but there are a few exceptions to that rule…

3 Reasons to Outsource Bookkeeping

  1. You do not understand accounting software and have no interest in learning.
  2. Your tax preparer has alerted you to inconsistencies and/or improper practices.
  3. Your business is growing. Outsourced payroll, a new business loan or a recent purchase of substantial business assets may all signify that it’s time to outsource your books. 

Learn more about the benefits of outsourced bookkeeping here, or email to schedule a complimentary call.

Assessing the Financial Health of a Small Business

I recently read an article from that described the lack of business cash flow as a “symptom and not a cause of business failure.” I couldn't agree more, and that is why it is absolutely crucial to ensure that you have a clear understanding of your company finances.

Financial Warning Signs

  • Little or No Profit – This can be a difficult symptom to diagnose. Even great businesses have struggled with profitability at some point along the way. If your business consistently relies on outside money and not profit in order to sustain itself, that is a sign of a much larger problem.
  • Slipping Margins – Gross margins (gross profit divided by sales) are an indicator of your business’s ability to manage important expenses. Net margins (net profit divided by sales), is an indicator of profit (a much better indicator than outright profit alone).
  • Profit but No Positive Cash Flow – Your business can be profitable without generating positive cash flow. That seems like an oxymoron, but it’s an issue of liquidity (can your assets be easily/quickly converted into cash).

Financial Stability: How’s your business doing?

It can be difficult to tell if your small business is financially stable… especially if you are unable to calculate or determine the items listed above. If you are struggling to make sense of your books, it may be time to consult with a professional. Your friendly, James Island bookkeeper can help you to better manage company money. DEKE Business Bookkeeping caters to the unique needs of small businesses in the Charleston area. Schedule a complimentary call to learn more.


3 DOs for Documenting Entertainment Expenses

Happy New Year! 

If you’re like me, you’ve likely identified some ways to improve your business in 2015. If better recordkeeping is on your list of resolutions, I’ve put together a few tips to help you keep things in order.

Entertainment Expenses: Recordkeeping DOs

  1. Keep Receipts - Keep receipts for client/employee lunches, dinners, etc. Entertainment expenses are tax deductible if you have the proper documentation. 
  2. Take Note - Write a note on the receipt that documents what the purchase was for or who you entertained and why. 
  3. Make a Copy – Make a copy or take a photo of your receipts. Receipts fade over time, but you can protect your deductions by scanning or copying your receipts. 

Remember that bank/credit card statements aren’t enough. Your credit card statement or canceled check proves that you paid the money. Your receipts show what you bought.

Need help getting organized for 2015. Let’s hit the books together! Email to learn more. 

Preventing Small Business Fraud

Fraud is a big, bad word that we hear about in the media. It happens within large companies or to individuals who have fallen victim to identity theft. We may take measures to protect ourselves personally, but are we doing enough to protect our businesses?

Small businesses are extremely vulnerable to fraud – both internally and externally. And while there is no true safeguard against it, there are several things you can do to limit your exposure.

5 Ways to Protect Your Small Business

  1. Reconcile all accounts regularly (i.e. on a monthly basis).
  2. Use a trustworthy bookkeeper.
  3. Maintain strong passwords.
  4. Maintain a limited number of accounts, and use them consistently.
  5. Diligently monitor balances, outgoing payments, etc.

Would a professional bookkeeper benefit the security of your business? Contact to learn more.

5 Signs It's Time to Outsource Your Bookkeeping

Most business owners start out doing everything themselves (accounting included). It starts off simple enough (recording expenses for meals, office supplies and rent payments), but when bookkeeping becomes more complicated, it’s a logical time to outsource.

5 Signs It’s Time to Outsource Your Bookkeeping

  1. You have outsourced your payroll.
  2. Your business is repaying a loan.
  3. You have recently purchased substantial business assets.
  4. Your business requires multiple bank reconciliations.
  5. You are carrying a balance on a business credit card.

The Benefits of Outsourced Bookkeeping

  • Save Time – Outsourced bookkeeping will free up some of your time for more important things, like running your business. 
  • Save Money – Business owners who do not manage their books in house can save money on expensive software and don’t need to maintain any resources/staff members for the sole purpose of bookkeeping. 
  • Budget Effectively – Books that are maintained by a professional reveal spending and revenue patterns that can help you to budget accordingly. You can quickly identify when it’s time to spend more and when you need to cutback.
  • Peace of Mind – A professional bookkeeper will be knowledgeable of best practices and has access to the proper tools. When you hire a professional, you can trust that your bookkeeping is done right.

Is outsourced bookkeeping right for your business? Contact to learn more. 

Are You Classifying Independent Contractors Correctly?

It is absolutely crucial to classify labor correctly. Proper record keeping will ensure that you aren’t in hot water with the IRS come tax season. There are some simple ways in which to determine whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor, but many small business owners are tempted to classify workers as independent contractors regardless of the working relationship in order to:

  • Avoid payroll taxes
  • Avoid the hassle of processing payroll and the need to maintain detailed records
  • Minimize employee liability
  • Maintain a flexible working relationship

A Contract May Not Be Enough

Most business owners assume that a contract is sufficient grounds to classify an individual as an independent contractor, but that isn’t always the case. FedEx was accused of miss-classifying more than 2,000 drivers earlier this year, and the company will owe millions in penalties as a result. 

DEKE Business Bookkeeping can help you to classify labor correctly, and with our new payroll service offerings, maintaining employees may be a whole lot easier than you previously thought! Email to schedule a complimentary call. 



We all know that good bookkeeping practices and organized financial records are an asset come tax time, but in general, bookkeeping serves an even more important purpose… benchmarking.

What is Benchmarking?

Benchmarking is the evaluation of something by comparison to a standard. When evaluating business processes and performance, one would likely use industry standards or a competitor’s practices as a point of comparison. 

What is the Bookkeeping/Benchmarking Connection?

You likely have certain production or performance goals for your company. Analyzing how you "measure up" to those those goals (benchmarking) starts with data (from your own books). This can be compared to competitors or an industry standard. Over the years (as you accumulate more data) you will be better able to track progress and milestones that are crucial to goal achievement. 

Reach your small business goals with benchmarking! Email to learn more.


Important Bookkeeping Tips

Most business owners understand the importance of good bookkeeping. We know it helps us better manage company money, and we know that good books can be especially helpful come tax season. We also know that errors can be costly. Whether you do it yourself or seek a professional, it's important to do the job right.  

Ensure your books are "good books" by:

  • Keeping a record of your receipts and invoices in numeric order. 
  • Maintaining consistent and complete business records to document all of your business transactions.
  • Keeping track of your business account statements, and reconcile your accounts on a regular (preferably monthly) basis. 

There is a lot more that can be said about best bookkeeping practices, but the above tips are the most important to remember. If you want to learn more, SCORE, a nonprofit association that promotes the growth and success of small businesses, has some great resources available including the Top 10 Bookkeping Mistakes. This may be a helpful reference for those of you who are evaluating your current bookkeeping system. 

Think your business could benefit from professional bookkeeping services? Email to learn more. 

Setting the Records Straight

Diligent bookkeeping can be overwhelming, largely because business owners don’t think much about it until tax season. The truth is that there is no better time than now to set your bookkeeping records straight. 

Every small business owner wants to minimize his or her tax liability, but it is impossible to do so without the proper documentation. Are your bookkeeping records in order? Not sure?  It may be helpful to consider some of the following:

  • Tracking Expenses 
  • Expense Payment/Prepayment
  • Tracking Income
  • Determining Profit
  • Deferring Income

Over the next few months I will be expanding upon the items listed above, so stay tuned for details!  

Want to learn more about the benefits of proper business bookkeeping? Contact me for more information.