How to keep the books for a small business
You need to log your income and costs in a way that means you can get meaningful reports. If your business sells 5 products or services, set up your books to show turnover for each one as at the end of the month/year you will be able to use this information to make decisions. Sometimes we think one product will be out top seller and the demand turns out to be different.
You need to know what your accounting period is before you start. For a company, your year end could be any month whereas for self employed people it is always sensible to pick the end of the tax year. If you are not sure about your accounting period, get some advice from a bookkeeper or accountant before you start. Some software packages will not allow you to change the dates once you have set them up.
You need to know whether you are or should be registered for VAT as this will effect every part of the bookkeeping process. If you are not VAT registered, you must not separate our the VAT element when you are recording invoices.
If your strengths are winning customers or selling sand to people living in the desert, but you know that numbers and paperwork are less exciting to you, it would always be worth appointing a bookkeeper.