Discover how your business can stay organized and make tax season a breeze
Are you ready to take on the ever-changing world of the cannabis business? You’ll need to arm yourself with the essential tool for success: impeccable bookkeeping skills.
From small cannabis startups to large corporations, accurate financial records are vital for running a smooth and profitable operation. But it’s not just about balancing the books. It’s about understanding the regulatory landscape and navigating the complex world of business financing.
Companies that don’t know how to bookkeep properly can lose thousands or millions of dollars annually. In this short guide, our Accountabis Advisors team will dive into why this is an essential practice and examine a few tips on making this process easier.
Whether you’re a business owner, manager, or finance professional, this guide is your key to learning about the skills necessary to master the complexities of bookkeeping.
Start reading and improve your understanding of this vital part of any successful enterprise.
Basics of Bookkeeping
Bookkeeping is like a compass, pointing businesses toward financial success. With its systematic process of recording, organizing, and maintaining financial transactions, it establishes a strong foundation for proper financial management.
By keeping financial data accurate, up to date, and easily accessible, business owners get a crystal-clear picture of their financial health. Better yet, this enables them to make informed decisions, strategize for the future, and stay compliant with legal and tax obligations.
While bookkeeping and accounting are often used interchangeably, they serve different functions within a business.
Bookkeeping focuses on recording and organizing financial transactions, such as sales, purchases, and payments. It is the first step in the financial management process and lays the groundwork for the next phase: accounting.
On the other hand, accounting is a broader term that encompasses the analysis, interpretation, and reporting of a company’s financial data. Accountants use the information bookkeepers provide to prepare financial statements, ensure regulatory compliance, and offer strategic financial advice to business owners and managers.
Either way, with proper bookkeeping and accounting practices, you’ll be well on your way to financial success.
Regulatory Compliance and Legal Considerations
As a business owner, you know that tax season can be a bit of a headache. But did you know that staying up to date with tax regulations could prevent you from facing penalties, fines, or even legal trouble?
Every industry must comply with federal and state tax laws, including sales tax, payroll tax, and income tax. By keeping your bookkeeping practices in check, you can ensure you align with these requirements and save yourself future headaches.
Businesses must also adhere to various banking and financial regulations, such as anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) policies. Depending on your industry and location, you may need to comply with additional financial regulations specific to your sector.
And finally, navigating industry regulations and licensing requirements can be overwhelming for any business. From health and safety standards to environmental regulations, your industry can have unique compliances.
Between federal, state, banking, and industry-specific regulations, staying compliant with your finances can feel like a never-ending game of regulatory whack-a-mole. But fear not, by maintaining detailed and organized financial records, you can set your business up for success and avoid any costly legal issues down the line.
Record-Keeping Best Practices
As we have said throughout the blog, keeping accurate and organized records is the backbone of effective bookkeeping and financial management.
So how exactly do you build a solid foundation for maintaining everything you need to keep your financial records in order? Here are a few tips from our team at Accountabis Advisors:
1. Organize by Financial Record Type
Instead of the chaotic approach of shoving everything into a single drawer or folder, organizing your records by type is the way to go. It saves you time and frustration when trying to locate specific information and helps you make informed decisions — and avoid pesky regulatory headaches.
Create categories for income, expenses, payroll, inventory, and other financial documents, and then pick a filing system that works best for you.
2. Digital vs. Paper-Based Record-Keeping
Both digital and paper-based record-keeping systems have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the pros and cons of each method can help you determine which approach best suits your business’s needs.
- Accessibility: Digital records can be easily accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Space-Saving: Storing records electronically eliminates the need for physical storage space, reducing clutter and overhead costs.
- Searchability: Digital records can be quickly searched and sorted, making it easier to find specific information when needed.
- Security: Digital records can be protected with encryption and password protection, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access or data loss.
- Automation: Digital bookkeeping systems can automatically sync with other business tools, such as point-of-sale systems, inventory management, and payroll software, reducing manual data entry and potential errors.
- Cost: Implementing a digital record-keeping system may require an initial investment in software and hardware.
- Learning Curve: Transitioning to a digital system may require learning time and effort.
- Data Loss Risk: While digital records can be more secure, there is still a risk of data loss due to technical issues, hardware failures, or cyberattacks.
- Tangibility: Some business owners prefer the physical nature of paper records, as they can be held, marked, and filed away.
- Simplicity: Paper-based record keeping can be more straightforward to understand.
- No Reliance on Technology: With paper records, there is no risk of data loss due to technical issues or cyberattacks — and no need to invest in expensive software or hardware.
- Space Requirements: Paper records require physical storage space, which can lead to clutter.
- Limited Accessibility: Accessing paper records can be more time-consuming and cannot be easily shared.
- Greater Risk of Damage or Loss: Paper records are susceptible to damage from fire, water, or other environmental damage.
3. Know Your Retention Period for Financial Records
Properly managing your financial records is key to keeping your business running smoothly. Knowing how long you should hold onto these documents is important, as it ensures that you remain compliant with legal and tax requirements.
On top of that, it allows for accurate financial reporting and analysis. So don’t let disorganization and lack of retention knowledge hold you back — take control of your bookkeeping and keep those records in check.
4. Have a Plan for Tax Season Made in Advance
Proper planning and preparation for tax season are crucial to ensuring a smooth and stress-free process. Having a plan in place well in advance can minimize errors, avoid last-minute panic, and potentially reduce your tax liability.
Decide whether you need professional help or want to go through your taxes yourself. This allows you to get ahead of the rush and file taxes well in advance.
You should also keep updated on the latest tax deductions and credits available to your business. These can change yearly, and knowing the most recent opportunities can help you reduce your tax liability.
The Experts at Accountabis Advisors Can Help Balance Your Books
Navigating the world of bookkeeping can be a challenging task, especially for those who are new to cannabis business ownership or have limited experience in financial management.
That’s where the experts at Accountabis Advisors come in.
Our team of experienced bookkeepers and accountants specializes in helping cannabis businesses across various industries maintain accurate and organized financial records, ensuring compliance with new cannabis legal and tax obligations, and providing valuable insights for decision-making and growth.
By entrusting your bookkeeping needs to the experts at Accountabis Advisors, you can focus on what you do best — running and growing your cannabis business — while leaving the financial details to us.