How to Setup Accounting Department for Small Enterprises
This post will show you how to setup accounting department for small enterprises (SMEs), including other elements that you need in setting up your financial reporting and account management systems.
Here, you will learn why you need to grow your business with functional accounting department, small business accounting services, bookkeeping and accounting software solutions.
Setting up an accounting department is perhaps the most significant steps to starting an organization on a strong footing.
An accounting department is that imperative and highly significant part of a business. It is made up of people who are responsible for managing and organizing the flow of cash in or out of the company.
The accounting department records accounts payable and receivable, keep payroll, procurement and inventory records, and all other important financial elements like the property accounts.
This department can be considered the heart of a company’s growth and development since no business can succeed without a proper cash flow management.
How well an accounting department functions shows how well the company is performing in terms of financial standing and assets value.
Usually, a typical business organisation may consist of the following six main departments or functional areas:
- The Production Department.
- Research and Development (R&D).
- Purchasing Department.
- Marketing (including the selling functions).
- Human Resource Management.
- Accounting and Finance.
The Accounting Department is therefore responsible for all the finance related activities in an organisation which include:
- Organizing finances
- Managing finances
- Auditing finances
- Controlling and distributing finances
- Planning for finances, and
- Accounting for finances, that is recording all documents requires for the financial objectives of the business.
If you are thinking about how to setup accounting department for small enterprises or even large companies, below are some of the steps you must take to get things started.
How to Setup Accounting Department for Small Enterprises (5 Easy Steps)
#1. Setup the Accounting Units
As the business owner or accountant, it is important to setup proper accounting system in place, that is aimed at providing general accounting recordings and documentations which will help the company achieve its profitability objectives, company mission and visions.
While setting-up your finance department, the following are the main classifications you can follow:
- Accounting Department / Treasury Department
- Internal Audit Department
Depending on the budget of the organization, these units can also be managed by one accountant, or more than one accountant who has established integrity, competence, trustworthy and commitment.
Now, let us cover some of the responsibilities of the individuals working in these accounting units.
Account Department / Treasury Department
- They prepare the monthly and yearly Management Reports.
- Cash Management Reports (This includes Cost Cutting, Cost Effectiveness and Expenses that relates to Cash Flow, and Cash control polices)
- Budget Control Reports
- Taxation Reports (VAT, WHT, PAYEE and other relates Taxes)
- Inventory Reports (Stock counting report)
- Debtor Report / Creditor Report
- Book-keeping Reports (Creating Book Ledgers for Accounting Uses)
- Fixed Asset Registers.
- Cash Flow Management
- Reconciliation Reports.
The Internal Audit Department
- They are responsible for establishing and implementing internal control mechanisms.
- Performing audit functions on payroll and billing.
- Assist in developing new or refining existing accounting policies and procedures.
- Assist in streamlining current business processes to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the company.
#2. Select an Accounting Method for the Business
Now, the company has to decide which accounting method will be most useful for its operations and this usually depends on the size of the business. For the sake of this lesson, there are two choices available to you.
- Accrual Accounting Method.
- Cash-basis Accounting Method.
The Cash-basis Accounting Method
In this system of accounting, companies record income when cash is received; and record expenses when the company pays out cash to its suppliers.
Cash-basis accounting is reliable when you want to track the actual amount of money entering and leaving your company.
This is a common accounting method that is used mostly by small businesses that tend to make immediate payment for goods and services received.
The Accrual Accounting Method
In this system, the company records income whenever a sale is made, regardless of whether they receive payment for it, or sold goods on credit.
The company also records expenses whenever goods or services are received, regardless of whether the company pays for it.
Accrual accounting method provides useful information to the company regarding how much expenses it is incurring each month; and how much profit it is generating.
However, this method of accounting is used by large businesses or even by smaller business that tend to buy and sell goods or services on credit.
Therefore, your company can pick and use any of the accounting methods stated above.
A company will use the cash-basis accounting method, as long as it’s annual sales are less than 5 million NGN, (about 12,000 USD).
If the annual sales value is more than the above, the company thus maintains an inventory (in which case, it must use the accrual method).
As a small business owner, we recommend using the cash- bass accounting method, so your reconciliation will easily be done monthly.
#3. Implement Information Technology in Finance
The importance information technology in financial management can never be over emphasized. This is because using IT in finance is similar to the use of the computer systems for accounting data processing.
The running of a finance department always involves several important records, and also demands constant documentation of accounting information, all of which cannot be done without the help of a computer software.
So, starting a business and setting up the accounting department may include choosing the right specific software to be used in your account management system.
Accounting software simplifies the lengthy task of maintaining accounting records, renewing them, updating them and then saving them for future uses.
Some of the software in use hold great significance in the smooth functioning of a company’s finance department.
Below are some benefits of using financial software.
- Automation: With computer accounting packages, everything is now automated in a way that a change made in one record is immediately updated in all other files.
- Reporting: Accounting software helps in reporting and in the quick formatting of account records following the formal business language.
- Functioning: With computer software, data can easily be transferred from one department to another by just the click of a button. Accounting or employees records can be stored, accessed and updated without any time wasting.
- Controls: Your business transactions can be allowed or prohibited even when the bank itself is out of service so the organization suffers no loss.
- Convenience: Accounting software allow quick and hassle free deposits and transactions alongside receipts for future records.
- Budgeting and bookkeeping: Financial software helps in budgeting and provides a quick review of all past budgets – making it easier for users to formulate and anticipate budgets for the future.
To help you find the best accounting software for different types of businesses, here are some small business accounting software you may consider.
Most accounting software solutions are similar with key features, such as automated entries, invoicing, bill payment, expense reports, financial reports and reconciliation.
List of Small Business Accounting Software
- Xero Accounting Software for Mac
- Sage 50c Accounting Software
- Excel Bookkeeping Templates
- AccountEdge Pro
- Wave Accounting
- Zoho Books
#4. Carryout Reconciliation Exercises
Account Reconciliation is very important in the day to day activities of any business organizations or companies.
As the chief account or company head, you should follow a routine check on accounting records and carryout self-audit to evaluate your business financial activates.
Below are some of the things to lookout for here:
- Consider Bank Reconciliation –including payable and receivable activities.
- Carryout daily or monthly Cashbook Reconciliation exercise
- Check Cash/ Bank Sales /Credit Sales Reconciliation
- Don’t forget your POS (sales) Reconciliation
- Stocks and Inventories Reconciliation
- Debtors/ Creditors Reconciliation
- Purchases/ Suppliers Accounts
#5. Hire the Best Accountants
Most entrepreneurs, business owners, and CEOs typically don’t have the expertise to run every department in a company, especially if the business is growing rapidly.
To handle both the bigger and day-to-day financial operations, it is important for any business, whether a small business or a large corporation to hire qualified accounting professionals.
Having a degree in accounting is not also enough, because the field of accountancy is a broad one and every business industry across the world has a need for accounting experts.
A company needs a team of chartered accountants or a professional accounting firm that can man over their taxes and handle everyday accounting books and report statements.
Therefore, if your business is big and you have the budget, you will need a bookkeeper, an accountant, chief financial officer, and a specialist who is skilled in tax law, mathematics, and data analysis.
This is a sure way to save time and free yourself up to focus on running your company and growing sales without being bogged down by the numbers and calculators.
Also, the main reason to hire financial professionals, such as an accountant, is to have a trusted advisor who can help you run your business, analyze your financial records, check for inconsistencies and errors and protect your assets.
Wrapping up: How to Setup Accounting Department for Small Enterprises
Most small and medium sized business or entrepreneurs often neglect the peripheral activities involved in setting up financial reporting and account management systems.
Knowing how much profit you earned in a month, how much cash is being generated, and having sufficient cash on hand to pay debts and purchase supplies requires good accounting records.
The significance of a finance department in an organization is therefore colossal if the business is to achieve it set goals.
A business can be able to prepare and file its tax returns, control business transactions and access bank loans with good accounting records, and cash flow statements.
Without a well-functioning and smooth running financial unit, no organization can anticipate success in this competitive market.
Your ability to succeed will depends on the possibility to anticipate financial risks before hand and avert the negative side effects.
This success can only be instigated by the performance of the finance department that provides useful data which allows the organization to make informed business decisions, and be able to maintain its overall performance.
By Adesalu S. Adekunle
Finance Managing Expert at Reccounting Limited.
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