Small business accounting: the quick guide

Small business accounting: the quick guide

One of the first hurdles you encounter when you’re setting up a small business is accounting. It seems there’s so much to learn, laws to abide by and forms to fill in – but it doesn’t have to be daunting. We’ve made this quick guide to help you understand how to get your small business accounting up and running, stress-free.

First, make sure you have

  • Set up your business bank account
  • Set up a business savings account to prepare for tax payments
  • Check if you should register for VAT if your turnover is more than £85,000 per year (read more about VAT registration here)

Choose the right small business accounting software

Luckily for today’s business owners, it’s easier than ever to manage your accounts. High-quality modern accounting software saves time and reduces mistake – meaning less time copy-pasting your figures into multiple spreadsheets, and more time doing the things you love. 

With a number of accounting software options on the market, how do you choose the right one for you? Here’s our accounting software checklist.

✓ POS integration
If you’re already set up with a point of sale (“POS”), or you’re thinking of getting one, make sure you choose POS and accounting software that are compatible with each other.

✓ Payroll
If you have staff, or want to manage your payroll – look out for software that includes a payroll feature.

✓ Cloud-based
Keeping your data on the cloud means you can securely access it from multiple devices, so it’s never at risk of theft or loss.

✓ Easy-to-understand
It’s great to keep your accounts in one place – but less helpful if you can’t interpret the numbers or easily navigate the software. Choose something that’s intuitive and simple.

✓ Expenses
It should be easy to upload and bookkeep your expenses with your new software – some even feature a mobile scanning app for your receipts.

How the right POS can help

Your point-of-sale is your home base while you’re selling, but its benefits go beyond sales. Having a great POS system can be the secret to running your business accounts smoothly. As well as fast sales and easy management in-store, a good POS can offer you a way to gather all your data so you can understand and optimise your business.

The power of reports
In most modern POS platforms, you’ll be able to track your sales. Some will also offer the extra bonus of seeing staff performance and stock levels. A great POS will show you, in simple terms, which products have sold the most, and during which period. When you can see all your sales, staff and stock numbers in one place, you can make data-driven business decisions. If you know that on Sundays, there’s a rush for tea and cake around 3pm, you can ensure you have enough staff, a fresh cake delivery and plenty of clean cups ready – so no customers have to wait or leave empty handed. Equally, if you see a trend for no sales until 1pm on Monday, you can adjust your hours, staff and deliveries and save money.

Everything in one place
We recommend choosing a POS and an accounting software that can integrate seamlessly – meaning you can see all your numbers in one place, and know that they match up perfectly with your books without any extra manual input necessary. 

But it’s more than just convenient – it’s a new legal requirement too. HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (“MTD”) VAT compliancy came into force in 2019, and requires businesses to submit the information for their VAT return directly from their accounting platform. So instead of inputting your numbers to the tax return form manually, you have to connect your accounting software directly to complete the form for you. On one hand this is great, with a smaller margin for human error and less time spent filling boxes. But on the other, it means your accounts must be accurate and balanced. 

That’s when a POS integration comes in handy – automatically updating your books means no copy-pasting numbers from one platform to another, and less time checking your numbers match up.

Zettle works with accounting software

Zettle is a leading all-in-one POS app that works on smartphones and tablets. It integrates with two of the leading accounting platforms – Xero and Quickbooks Online. Plus, it’s easy to set up and start using right away. 

> Find out about Zettle accounting integrations