Most small business owners don’t start a small business because they’re excited about doing the bookkeeping or managing the finances—but it’s a critical component to a successful business. The following four tips will help even a novice small business owner, turned bookkeeper, get a handle on his or her business finances:

1. Organization is critical
Although it probably sounds like an oversimplification, the importance of staying organized can’t really be overstated. Staying organized means you’ll have to spend less time in the books by keeping all your important financial documents at your fingertips—really important if you don’t particular enjoy accounting. Entrepreneur.com suggests you create a centralized location for the records of all your expenses and all the revenue you collect. It’s amazing how quickly things get lost or misplaced if you ignore this very simple step. That includes invoices, receipts, bills, and checks.

2. Technology can make it easier
Before the days of computers, bookkeeping was more labor intensive than it is now. Software tools make it a lot easier to do simple bookkeeping than ever before. And, if you coordinate with you tax preparer, your bookkeeping software can dump all the information he or she needs to do your quarterly and annual taxes into a useable format—making it very easy for you.

3. Don’t go it alone
Trade groups, local community colleges and universities often sponsor entrepreneur centers where you can get great advice. Mentoring groups like SCORE have retired and active business executives who spend their time helping small business owners with accounting, marketing, and other disciplines. And, there are many free seminars or workshops you can attend in your community or online to beef up your bookkeeping skills. Finding them is easy if you search online.

4. Get familiar with your financial reports
There are a number of basic financial reports you need to understand. They include your profit and loss statement, cash-flow projections, accounts payable and receivable reports, along with income and expenses reports. If you aren’t sure what these reports are really telling you, your tax accountant or one of the resources mentioned above could help you wrap your head around what you need to know. The bookkeeping software mentioned above will even make creating these reports easier.

Most small business owners aren’t really financial experts—but they need to be experts regarding the finances within their businesses. Fortunately, the technology and other resources make it easier than ever before for small business owners.

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