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How to Keep Your Business and Personal Finances Separate

November 18, 2011 by Ed Becker

4 Bookkeeping Tips for Staying Organized

As small business owner, the bookkeeping procedures you stick to can either help you stay organized or contribute to a feeling of overwhelm. These four simple bookkeeping tips are easy to implement and can help any small business owner stick to the “stay organized” track:

Tip #1 – Pick the Right Entity Type

Consult with your tax and legal advisors to create the proper entity type for your small business. There are many types (C Corp, S Corp, PLLC, LLC, etc.) and your advisor can guide you through the process of choosing. The key is to pick an entity type with the most tax benefits for your specific scenario while also ensuring you have the best legal structure to safeguard your assets.

Tip #2 – Open a Small Business Bank Account

Open a new business bank account (either in your business name or as DBA if you haven’t yet set up a completely separate entity). Use this account for all business transactions, and never for personal expenses. It is fine to fund this account with personal funds but, ensure that you or your bookkeeper tracks this accordingly in your accounting system.

Tip #3 – Credits Cards and Your Small Business

If you plan on purchasing and using a corporate credit card for any of your business activities, open a new account or begin using an existing credit card account for business only. If you decide to use an existing credit card, stop using it for any personal purchases.

Tip #4 – Splitting Expenses

If you have certain expenses that can be split between business and personal (phone costs, internet usage, rent, travel costs, etc), carefully track each and determine a reasonable percentage that can be applied to the business. Talk to your tax advisor and make this decision jointly.

Keeping your business and personal expenses separate as you create a new business or continue in an existing business eases bookkeeping tremendously. Come tax time, you’ll find providing your accountant with the information he or she needs to prepare your taxes much easier. There are two additional benefits to segmenting your bookkeeping in this way:

  • It allows you to truly monitor the profitability of your business.
  • It protects you from issues that may arise during any state, federal or regulatory audit.

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