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Bookkeeping - The Horrors

Posted by Jason Ferry on

I've struggled with bookkeeping since I first realized its importance.

The first (partial) year, I reviewed bank statements and manually categorize expenses into categories at the end of the year.  It took most of a day.

The second year went much like the first, but it took a number of days to sort things out at the end of the year.

The third year, I spent the first quarter floundering to figure out bookkeeping - between myself and my virtual assistant, we managed to use lots of hours for little actual results.  We tried spreadsheets and Xero and Quickbooks.

How can this be so complicated?

For the last three quarters of this third year in business we had an actual bookkeeper.  This was great - we had an actual profit/loss statement, but the expenses weren't well sorted.  I wasn't as involved enough in the process.

The end of the third year was much like the first two years - I spent two days making corrections to expense categories and arranging everything into a spreadsheet.  So much for spending $600 on quickbooks and nearly $4000 on contracting fees.  To be honest, I don't even blame the bookkeeper.  I think she was unprepared for my rather high level of ignorance on the subject.  Top CEO (or whatever) I am not.

We are well into the fourth year of the business now.  I stumbled upon Bench.co while searching for some tools help me understand my book keeping failures in year three.  It honestly sounded almost too good to be true - and still does.  I can have my books largely taken care of automatically for (well) under $200 per month?  That change alone would have made the business almost profitable last year.  Given the unfunded time that I used on the subject, it is entirely possible that I could have made a legitimate profit.

We will see how it goes, but the initial month has been promising.  I worry that bench.co puts most of its resources towards gaining customers and slacks off on maintaining them.  I hope to be wrong!

Please don't make the same mistake I did.  Bookkeeping is more than just putting stuff into correct categories.  In my case with just $56,000 in expenses, I had over 1300 transactions to deal with (largely due to paypal wierdness).  The organization of all that data makes any sorting a real beast!

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