Getting Records Ready

You can save yourself some cash by doing as much of your own bookkeeping as possible. Your accountant would prefer that you not drop a shoe box full of receipts and records in his or her office. Such a strategy will cost you a lot of money in accounting fees; you don't want to pay your accountant for routine clerical work.

You should be able to keep track of the day-to-day transactions, and have a preliminary general ledger ready for your accountant. If you keep good records, your accountant will produce more accurate financial statements and/or tax returns, and will do it faster and cheaper.

Get your records ready and set up an appointment with your accountant as early as you can. Don't wait until you are close to an upcoming deadline. If you get your records to your accountant early, he or she will give you better service for your money. Too many people wait until the last minute-don't be one of them!

With the proliferation of personal computers and software, there are many programs on the market to help you automate your accounting procedures. Shop around. Some are more sophisticated than others. Some are written specifically for certain industries, such as retail, construction, or service-oriented organizations. You should discuss the selection of computer software with your accountant. Your accountant may want you to use a program that is compatible with the system he or she uses. In many cases, you may be able to keep most of your records on your computer, and simply hand your accountant a diskette whenever he or she needs your records.