While you’d probably love to focus on design all day, the reality of running an interior design firm means that there are other important tasks that need to be addressed to operate effectively.
Like bookkeeping. Staying on top of your financials is imperative to running a successful small business, and that means regular check-ins on various statements that will give you a clear and consistent picture of your firm’s financial health.
From reconciling to reviewing payroll to following up on unpaid invoices, what should be on your monthly bookkeeping checklist?
We consulted several financial professionals and compiled a list of 9 must-review actions and reports that you can specifically pull in Design Manager that are must-dos for every interior design firm. Look at each of these reports monthly, if not more frequently, both on your own and in conjunction with your financial team to keep your business on track.
Monthly Bookkeeping for Interior Designers: Must-Dos
- Review Your Cash/Bank Card Statements
Be sure to review your bank and credit card statements to ensure all of your recent transactions look accurate. “I like to tell people to look not only at financial statements in your software, but also at paper statements from your bank,” says Peter Lang, CPA and owner of The Designer CPA. “This is to ensure that what’s actually going through the statements is legitimate business, not just what the accounting person is putting into the software. I’ve seen fraud happen this way.”
- Balance Sheet
Get an overall view of your firm’s assets and liabilities with the Balance Sheet report. What do you own and what do you owe? Has your financial balance changed significantly from last month? Dig a bit deeper and find out why that is if you’re seeing a change that you didn’t anticipate.
- Profit/Loss Statement
Review your revenue and expenses with this report, also known as the Income Statement. Is your firm profitable? Compare to the previous month and previous year to identify if you’re on track with a projected budget.
- Accounts Receivable
Are your clients paying you on time? You won’t know unless you look at the accounts receivable report. After reviewing it, send out any reminders that need to go out.
- Accounts Payable
Make sure the bills you’re paying for your business have been paid on time and are accurate with this report. Address any incorrect or uncategorized transactions to ensure your net income is reported accurately.
- Open Client Deposits
This report shows deposits on proposals and retainers received from a client but not yet applied to an invoice. “I suggest that people check the Accounts Receivable report and Open Client Deposits report together and make sure that if a client owes money on an order or a time bill, that those invoices go out and they’re getting paid,” says Lang. “Or if a client already made a payment as a retainer or on a proposal that’s open, make sure someone’s closing that out to an invoice. When you’re looking at these reports, not only does it reflect your current income, but it reflects a project’s current status.”
- Open Vendor Deposits
Similar to the Open Client Deposit report, this report shows vendor deposits on project and inventory purchase orders that have not yet been applied to an invoice. Ensure that orders are being fulfilled by the vendor and that your recorded costs are accurate.
- Pre-Billing Summary
Using this report regularly is a really good way to stay ahead of invoicing, suggests Denise Zollo, owner of Zollo Accounting & Tax Services LLC. After reviewing it, you’ll know what money you need to collect from clients and what needs to be invoiced and closed out for income recognition purposes.
- Work in Process
Drilling down more from the Pre-Billing Summary, this report helps you monitor each project while it’s happening and ensures that you invoice a client fully for each piece of merchandise purchased, including additional fees like shipping.
While reviewing all of these reports monthly may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out, it really is important to stay on top of your firm’s financials in current time, not just trying to play catchup come tax season.
“Stay ahead of reconciliations,” Zollo says. “You never want to fall too far behind on it as you want to make sure you’re able to capture any reimbursable items and any additional charges that you may not have proposed in advance and have to bill back to clients.”
Interested in learning about hiring the right bookkeeper for your business?