Startup Tips: Accounting Help

February 27, 2008 - Get free updates of new posts here

Last year my startup made some money then realized come year end we have to do accounting. It is/was a bit more tedious (aka boring) then I expected but something that needs to be done and accounting services for startups is hardly talked about online.


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Here are somethings I’ve learned and some help for startups in a similar situation:

Software. If you are cheap use lessaccounting.com and track everything you spend money on. Otherwise, buy a used copy of Quickbooks on eBay or use the trial version of Quickbooks here. I am using Quickbooks since most tax people need certain formats and I know the software will be around for awhile.

Find a book-keeper. For a startup try to a) give them equity if you want to save money (not worth it) b) beg/plead/cry and negotiate or c) pay around $50 / hour. This person is golden. They can help get all your things sorted out for taxes. Before you hire a bookkeeper check out this post.

How do you find one? I asked an investor, I asked other startup friends for recommendations and I called a few accounting / tax firms in the area who they recommend for start-ups (this is how I found ours). What I did was enter in all our expenses and have them just review the entries, correctly categorize them and just a general check-up. This is MUCH cheaper than having that person enter in your receipts for you.

Taxes 🙁 For taxes, ask your book keeper if they have recommendations. Otherwise, ask other entrepreneurs or same as above for finding a book-keeper. Taxes are a huge deal when you work at a startup. Taxes were a factor in my decision to quit Mint.

Realize your time is valuable so you can outsource everything from apartment hunting to outsourcing technical work but at the same time it’s critical to know your money. I have recommendations if you need a person. Anything else?

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7 responses to “Startup Tips: Accounting Help

  1. Jason Reply

    Book keeping and taxes are the WORST thing about running a small startup. In fact, I am way behind in this since I hate it soo much. Dear IRS, please have pity 😉

  2. Ted R. Reply

    I used to pride myself on being a paper free office. So either scan each check you receive or make old fashioned photo copies. If you deposit 5 checks at once, the overall deposit receipt is the only archive you have if you don’t.

    And yes, get a bookkeeper and don’t find the cheapest one. You get what you pay for. More than just keep your books straight they’ll ask you all kinds of questions about important topics you knew nothing about.

    But, you still have to be the master of your books. You still have to know the state of your company at all times. Bad things happen fast and your 4 hour a month bookkeeper will not be the blamable party.

    Finally, once you start paying employees get serious. State and Federal taxes and payments are serious stuff you do not want to slack one.

  3. Nicole Price Reply

    I had such a hard time doing my accounts last year, that this year I decided I’m going to do it regularly at every month end so there isn’t too much pressure at the end of the year. One of my best decisions I admit.

  4. Ryan Born Reply

    I am a CPA (glorified bookkeeper) and I work with a number of startups. If you all ever need any help, feel free to reach out to me. I’ve worked with startups with 1 employee to ones with 300 and one that was acquired for $200 million. I’m here to help, I’m not your average boring accountant, but I do know how to keep your books clean so you can focus on the business.

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanborn