A home-based sole proprietor in Canada or US learning good bookkeeping practices.

Discover...The Essentials of Bookkeeping
Because Knowledge is Money

Relax, sip your cup of tea while YOU learn how basic bookkeeping practices help you to TAKE CONTROL of your business finances!

The Proper Foundation

Who Is This Site For

This site is designed as a series of casual chats for:

  • the sole proprietor
  • working from home
  • in Canada or the U.S.
  • who needs a free resource
  • and is trying to get a handle on their books ...
  • or wondering how can I improve what I'm doing?
Enjoy a tea break with me. Let's chat about bookkeeping!

Is that you? Then this site is for you! Let's chat.

If you are a small business owner, it’s probably a good bet that bookkeeping isn’t your cup of tea. On the other hand, some people love bookkeeping (like me). Whatever way you look at it, it’s a necessary component of running a successful business

Good bookkeeping practices depend partly on the bookkeeping system you've set up. I'm talking more than software or the lack of it.

Should your bookkeeping system be manual or computerized?

The method of data compilation for your business records, regardless of whether it is manual or computerized, is the BACKBONE of every small business, whether YOU the owner know it or not.

  • What is the best way to organize, enter and file each receipt received and invoice issued? ... There isn't one right way so I'll discuss your options.
  • What do you do after you've entered all the data into your synoptic ledger or accounting software? ... I'll show you.
  • What is the purpose of expending all this effort? ... To create a set of internal financial statements and accounting reports to help run your business, meet your compliance responsibilities and prepare your annual tax return.

So I say .. if you gotta do it, you might as well do it properly.

I don't want to be impolite so let me introduce myself, eh (I'm Canadian) :o) I'm a certified professional bookkeeper working from home in western Canada.

Allow me to be your private tutor to the world of small business accounting.

D i s c o v e r ...

... the tools of the trade you need to absolutely take control of your small business accounting in an informal, easy to understand way. ;-) Tools that make it easier than ever to be successful at the financial management of your business.

Because the GOAL is to have a life outside your business ... not to be in business to work every day ... but to build business value. Isn't that what you really had in mind when you started on this path of entrepreneurship?

Visitor Comments From The e-Mailbag

I LOVE your website and the path you've taken.

I started out working from my home office 6 years ago and have had some ups and downs but I'm always finding it difficult to get answers to various questions that come up.

Your site has been a soft landing spot for me and I actually took 10 minutes out to read through it instead of just coming here to pick out my answer and leave.

I have many more things to read but I just wanted to thank you for giving us a place to go.

Good Luck to you!

Lucy from Markham, Ontario, Canada, February 2009

P.S. Many questions have been answered. It's (this site) marked as one of my favourite go to websites and it will be a current up to date place to go when I need quick answers.

Has this site helped you ? Provide your site testimonial here.

What's On This Site

I share my notes on good bookkeeping practices ...

... some of which are not taught when you get a formal education ...

... because not all small business owners follow the rules! (I see you grinning, yes I do.)

The chats assume you are a small home-based business owner who knows a little bit about bookkeeping.

You will find help with common bookkeeping entries, compliance deadlines and more.

In developing this site, I purposely keep it casual ...

... and full of practical, solution oriented tips ...

... to help with your everyday bookkeeping problems.

6 Essential Components To
Designing Your Bookkeeping System

"The time to have a map is before you enter the woods." Brendon Burchard

Six components are essential in designing the proper accounting system for your home based business. These components form the foundation upon which YOU, the owner, will make informed business decisions. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Choose a filing system that meets government retention requirements and fits with your organizational style (so you can lay your hands on documents when you need them);
  2. Select a transactional recording system (my preference is QuickBooks® but Excel is also a popular choice along with a plethora of cloud options);
  3. Setup a chart of accounts (your blueprint that categorizes your numbers so they make sense);
  4. Develop processes (who does what when) and create procedures (how you do it) to ensure consistency and prevent fraud … even if you are a team of one;
  5. Monitor the system for accuracy; and
  6. Interpret the results (to help you run your business and make sound business decisions).

Your Bookkeeping System Should Serve You

What Will This Site Help You Accomplish?

  1. A way to take control of your business finances;
  2. A way to manage your business receipts;
  3. A systematic approach to reduce or eliminate mistakes in your books and pay your bills on time;
  4. How to have an audit ready set of books to keep the auditor off your back;
  5. What questions to ask your accountant; and
  6. A better understanding of what your accountant is saying.
  7. Confidence that you are doing it right! No more crossing your fingers or holding your breath.

It’s important to understand that your accounting system will change as your business grows.

Your size, your business structure, your industry, your internal control requirements means your system needs to be considered carefully. It needs to be designed so it is easy to use and in such a way that you can understand it even if you don’t have bookkeeping training. In other words, your accounting system needs to serve you just as well as your bookkeeper, your accountant or the tax auditor.

To serve you well, it needs to ...

  • Help you by answering questions like - are you charging enough to cover your expenses or what is your profit margin or are you spending too much.
  • Track criteria agreed upon in bank lending arrangements.
  • Aid in the efficient and accurate preparation of all your U.S. or Canadian compliance tax returns (think sales and use taxes, employment and payroll taxes, worker compensation premiums and income taxes).
  • Ensure you can pass a tax audit with flying colors by tracking what is required by law and having a system to retain your support documentation.

We’ll cover each of the six essential components separately in the coming days. IF you want to start at the beginning, start by considering ...

... a yardstick to evaluate your bookkeeping system needs.

But some of you just aren't planners and thinkers. You want to jump right in and get started. This next part is for you.

So What are Good Bookkeeping Practices?

I like to break good bookkeeping practices into seven categories:

Click on an image to go to the chat.

Organize your bookkeeping records.

1. Get yourself organized. Enter your data regularly.

Manual vs. Computer Bookkeeping Systems

2. Use computer software so you can mine your business data.

Create an audit trial to protect your business from fraud.

3. Learn to create audit trails as you go. Some are super easy to implement.

Reconcile your bank and credit card accounts monthly.

4. Reconcile your bank statement, credit card and vendor statements regularly.

Retain your bookkeeping records for 7 years.

5. Comply with federal record retention requirements.

Learn good bookkeeping practices including how to record cash under the table.

6. Learn to avoid what gets sole proprietors in trouble with the CRA/IRS.

Learn what your government compliance responsibilities are as a small business owner.

7. Prepare and file your U.S. and Canadian government compliance reports (sales and use tax, employment and payroll tax, worker's compensation and income tax) on time. Remit the amounts owing. Don't have the money? Don't worry. I have a tip for you; just follow the country link you run your business from.

Wouldn't it be great to be as adept with the financial management of your small business as any CEO in a major corporation, so you can ...


Let's chat about how to read your financial statements.
  • How to read financial statements.
  • Evaluate the health of your business.
  • Identify early warning signs of potential problems.

Get Started Here

... systematically look over your business finances with an eye to increasing your profits? Plus know how to get all the tax deductions you are entitled to?

You are obligated by law to pay only your fair share of tax, so why pay more?

Would having the opportunity to put more cash in your pocket legally make record keeping more enjoyable for you?

No one will take better care of your finances than YOU.  Even if you have a bookkeeper and accountant, you still need to take time to understand and manage your business' finances. Isn't it time to take control?

How One Visitor Uses This Site

I enjoyed your website!

I was searching for info related to online courses to get started in bookkeeping. My object was to get training to do bookkeeping for several small businesses.

I am retired, and have a bit of bookkeeping/accounting and some familiarity with Simply Accounting. Just don't feel qualified to "hang out my shingle" yet.

Lots of info and links! I spent quite a bit of time here but could spend more hours yet!

Dave from Nakusp, British Columbia, Canada, March 2010

How do you use this site? Provide your site testimonial here.

I invite you to schedule a regular tea break with me over the next few weeks. I know you are busy. That's why I recommend you schedule regular short 15 minute tea breaks ... learn in bite sized pieces as you make your way through the 700 pages (plus or minus) on this site.

It'll be frustrating and confusing at first but stick with it and you will eventually start to "get it". I've purposely arranged the material on the site into bits and chunks because in my experience that's how you creative sole proprietors take in your information.

Remember, this isn't school and there are no tests. Just relax and enjoy learning more about running your business.

Enjoy a tea break with a certified professional bookkeeper. Let's Chat!

Exhale for a moment ... put your feet up ... take a short tea break with me  and ... let's chat!

Enjoy Your Visit Today,
Your Tutor Lake

Let's chat!

Enjoy A Tea Break With Me Today. Let's Chat!

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