April 15th is right around the corner.
Now is when all the deep, dark bookkeeping secrets come to light. If you haven’t been staying on top of your books all year, anything you’ve been sweeping under the rug will see the light of day. Any errors you thought would work themselves out, any invoices you thought you’d log later, or any tax payments you thought you could skip will all need to be reckoned with. If you’ve entrusted your books to someone who made a total mess of things, or even if it’s your own fault, now is the time to repair the damage of bad bookkeeping.
Go back to the beginning.
Find the last time your books were reconciled correctly. Even if you have to go back to the start of the fiscal year or the beginning of 2019, starting from the last time your numbers were accurate will ensure accuracy.
Locate the discrepancies.
It’s probably not necessary to trash your whole system and start over. Find where the errors begin and start corrections from there. You might have a few months of good work filed. Figure out what you can salvage. Here are some common errors and how to fix them.
- Employee incompetency: If you can trace your nightmare to the actions of one employee, unfortunately, you can’t automatically delete all of their activity in QuickBooks, but you do have other options. You can either delete your whole account and start over (which is not recommended) or you can filter the employee’s actions and delete or modify them one at a time. While more time consuming, this may be your best option if you have several users on your QuickBooks Online account.
- Errors of omission: These type of mistake can most easily be found by checking your totals in each category and then filtering to find which transactions are missing. You can filter by date or by month, so if you are looking for missing utility bills, you can search all accounts payable to that company. If you are looking for invoices from specific date range, filter your search accordingly.
- Errors of transposed numbers: Sometimes the errors are simple human mistakes – a decimal point in the wrong place, two numbers reversed, or a figure added instead of subtracted. These can be difficult to find because our brain isn’t hard-wired to examine digits individually. Comparing columns of numbers to each other on spreadsheets can make your eyes cross. It’s best to filter the data until you find the smallest grouping to check, and then compare each transaction.
- Errors of duplication: If your profits seem way too high this year, or your expenses don’t track with your bank statements, it’s likely that entries were duplicated. Perhaps you have more than one person in a department entering the same information. Maybe someone just entered the same information twice. In any case, these are usually pretty easy to spot and delete.
Once you’ve repaired the damage, you need to move forward in a way that ensures you won’t have to waste time, effort, and money on bad bookkeeping again. If you’ve discovered employee negligence, you’ll need to either fire them, retrain them, or alert the authorities if you’ve discovered fraud.
If the errors are your own, then it may be time to admit you need help. Your job is to run the day-to-day operations of the business, but if you’re bogged down in record-keeping and logging receipts, you won’t have any time to grow your business. A professional accounting firm like JADDE Financial Solutions can help you clean up your books and make recommendations to get your bookkeeping back on track for the new year.