Record-keeping is important – Bernard
Businesses operating in a fast-paced and dynamic environment, the task of keeping records can fall secondary to everyday business operations. However, failing to efficiently keep up-to-date and comprehensive records can hurt your business’ long-term operations.
Atasha Bernard, general manager, Courts Ready Cash, during the recent staging of the Courts Ready Cash Business Survivor Webinar Series, ‘How To Keep Business Records: Your RoadMap To Success’, said for small business owners everywhere, record-keeping is a necessary and sometimes tricky part of making sure a business runs smoothly.
“Keeping clear records of income, expenses, employees, tax documents and accounts isn’t just good business. It can bring you peace of mind, help you monitor progress towards goals and save you time and money,” Bernard said.
According to Bernard, you cannot manage what is not measured and, therefore, the reasoning behind sound record-keeping is that it allows business owners to learn and grow from their own business experience.
“Keeping your records in check will help you understand the current situations of your business and also project future profit or losses. In addition, good record-keeping will also show you where your business needs improvement or reinvention,” Bernard said.
During the one-hour discussion programme, Bernard, and host Kalilah Reynolds, leading business and finance journalist, gave the audience a comprehensive, organised and orderly system for tracking and saving business’ records.
According to Bernard, the importance of record-keeping for businesses cannot be overstated. Businesses, she said, must set up a standardised yet user-friendly bookkeeping system, ensuring legal, financial, regulatory and operational discipline.
“Proper record filing and retention is the first step to upholding industry regulations and wider business compliance. A fully orchestrated record management system ensures you can locate essential documents for tax filings and other mandatory paperwork,” she said.
“Records management is even more critical for certain document types, such as financial records, as failure to do so can result in severe penalties, from government fines to potential legal action if the non-compliance is deemed intentionally negligent,” she added.
Most importantly, she said keeping accurate and up-to-date financial statements will help you at a time of lending applications. These finances include income statements as well as balance sheets that show assets, liabilities and the equities of your business at a specific date.
Some of the best ways to keep business records organised, she said, is to get into the habit of tracking all the information about financial and non-financial transactions about your business.
“Keep track of every amount you spend on your business and every amount you take in as sales. Ensure that you keep personal and business expenditures separate even if you always repay your business when you pay personal expenses out of that account. Be sure everything you capture includes a description of the item, the amount, and the date,” Bernard said.