A large part of running a successful business is ensuring you’ve got a strong foundation before launching.
We’ve already covered the first step: writing a business plan.
Your next step is setting up your administrative, financial, and legal tasks. This process includes onboarding Quickbooks Online (QBO).
We hear it from entrepreneurs time and time again: “If only I’d done this sooner.”
SOAR Innovation recommends you take this advice from your neighbors, partners, and mentors in the entrepreneur community. Setting up your QBO account and other core operations before you launch will be critical to your success.
Who needs to set up QBO and admin tasks — and why
If you’re early in the process of starting your own business, this is the perfect moment to make time for setting up your finance, admin, and legal tasks. Completing this work earlier will make it much easier to scale your business later.
The early stages of starting a business look different depending on your circumstances. It may include:
- Students considering a side-hustle business while in college.
- Students who want to launch a business after graduation.
- Young professionals planning to transform their side hustle or hobby into a full-time gig.
- First-time entrepreneurs planning to launch a business in the next year or who’ve recently launched — but don’t have a business plan yet.
The point of setting up QBO and admin tasks early on is to avoid sinking time into them after your priority list gets much longer. These aspects of your business shouldn’t take up much of your day once they’re in place.
If you’ve already launched your business but haven’t set these up yet, you’re probably experiencing a few pain points in your day-to-day operations.
These back-office tasks shouldn’t stand in the way of hiring, training, sales, and other aspects of business growth. So if you’ve already launched, setting up QBO and admin tasks as soon as possible will help you clear your hurdles and move on to more important priorities.
Why setting up QBO is important
Bookkeeping is a time-consuming but necessary aspect of running a business. As an entrepreneur, you must keep accurate revenue, expenses, and cash flow records.
You need a bookkeeping tool that will help you:
- File your taxes accurately and on time.
- Maintain budgets.
- Keep track of profitability.
- Pay employees accurately and on time.
- Create projections and reports to understand the health of your business.
Bookkeeping is a frequent complaint among entrepreneurs. But with today’s modern tools, it doesn’t have to be a thorn in your side.
SOAR Innovation recommends Quickbooks Online as an all-in-one tool for your bookkeeping tasks. If you follow our advice and hire a part-time bookkeeper and/or accountant, in most cases, they’ll already be using QBO.
Whichever tool you choose, be sure it can perform all of the following tasks:
- Send and receive invoices.
- Provide payroll services.
- Give cash flow reports.
- Store and process business receipts.
- Deliver excellent customer service.
What to expect if you don’t set up QBO
QBO makes life easier for entrepreneurs because it saves time and energy. It provides automation services for repetitive but essential tasks, such as monthly reporting and payroll.
While the self-starter attitude is a significant asset to any entrepreneur, this is an area of your business where you should be spending as little of your time as possible.
Just because you think you can do the bookkeeping yourself doesn’t mean you should.
Automation speeds up bookkeeping processes for a painless experience. It does this by centralizing all finance and accounting information into one place. If you rely on manual methods, such as spreadsheets to track invoices and payments, you’re sinking your time into something you could automate. It simply doesn’t make sense.
Relying on manual processes also exposes your business to risk.
For example, if you don’t file your taxes on time, or if you file them incorrectly, you may be stuck with a larger bill than you expected. Or worse, you may be subject to penalties from the government.
This scenario is more common among entrepreneurs than you think. You’re much less likely to fall into this trap if you work with a professional bookkeeper and/or accountant. Your accountant is essentially a part of your team — this person wants you to succeed and will help guide you in the right direction.
Also, if you’re planning to present your financial statements to potential investors, you need to know they’re completely accurate.
Investors and banks will do their due diligence — which means they’ll investigate your business financials top-to-bottom. Any mistakes will send up a red flag and potentially stand in the way of your funding goals.
Finally, there’s the matter of getting paid. As you grow your business, you might have a hard time knowing how much income you can take out for yourself. With QBO, you gain the transparency you need into your business finances to resolve this dilemma.
If you don’t set up QBO, you’ll expose yourself to consequences you might not be thinking about today. From missed funding opportunities to getting into hot water with the IRS, avoiding this step isn’t worth your while.
How to set up QBO
Setting up QBO is a relatively straightforward process:
- Step 1: Establish a business bank account.
- Step 2: Make sure you use this business account for all your transactions, from deposits to expenses.
- Step 3: Sign up for Quickbooks Online.
- Step 4: Integrate your business bank account with your QBO account.
Once you’ve completed this initial onboarding, other setup factors will include:
- Configuring sales tax (when applicable)
- Setting payment terms for invoices
- Creating payroll workflows
- Adding products and managing inventory
You might consider hiring a bookkeeper to set up QBO for you from the start. Or, you may want to hire them after you’ve gotten as far as you can on your own. It all depends on how complex your business finances are and how much time you have to spend on the effort.
Next steps: Getting help with QBO setup
It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. In fact, knowing when you need to delegate is a sign of good leadership.
For more help with setting up Quickbooks Online, consult our Complete Guide to Entrepreneurship in Eastern Kentucky.
The SOAR Innovation team is here to back you up, too. We provide free services for every stage of the entrepreneurship journey, including assistance with QBO setup.
Reach out to the SOAR Innovation team member who works with your county to get started today. There’s no time to waste — and you’ll be thanking yourself in no time.