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My business’s accounting records are a mess. What should I do?

By Accounting Resources January 11, 2022

First, take a deep breath.

You are not the first business owner who is coming to us with his or her accounting records in a mess. In fact, we see it all the time. Whether you are looking to implement financial accounting controls with a reliable process, or you are delinquent on your Sales & Use tax returns and don’t know where to begin to rectify the issue – we are here for you.

ARI can help you sort out all of these issues and get control of your finances, your financial reporting, and your tax liabilities.

What does the initial process entail?

Initial Review – Assessment Phase

To start, we’ll conduct an introductory meeting to get to know you and your business better. During this time, we’ll get a better understanding of your specific needs and how we should move forward.

From there, getting our hands into your live data is the best way for us to get a true understanding of your current situation. After signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), we’ll work with you to analyze your accounting file and determine if it’s usable as is and/or what level of improvement it might need.

Out of that initial review may come varying levels of suggestions – from historical “back work” and cleaning up multiple years of accounts, to perhaps doing just a few months of catch up before we can move on to current, real-time accounting.

Plan of Action

Once we determine a plan of action, we’ll work with you to collect all documents needed to get started, including bank statements, credit card statements, payroll records, point-of-sale system transactions, Sales & Use tax reports, etc.

What are the steps for getting my accounts in order?

Organizing your General Ledger

If we can use the accounting file you provided, we will begin by cleaning up the data and performing monthly reconciliations. From there, we’ll work to clean up and organize your chart of accounts to ensure accurate, meaningful financial reporting.

If we are building a file from scratch, we’ll customize a chart of accounts specific to your tax structure and business industry and then begin the historical data entry – which often starts with us asking a whole lot of questions as we review the data with you. In the end, we’ll emerge with a fully reconciled set of financials.

Once your general ledger is in order, we will implement a month-end closing routine to keep them that way.

Bookkeeping Accuracy Matters

Not only will accurate financials help you more effectively run your business, keeping your books in good order will be a tremendous asset if and when you decide to sell your business, or if you are ever looking to acquire another business.

For further details on our process to work with new clients, check out our blog entitled 5 Steps to Get Started with ARI.

What if I have business tax liabilities?

If you have tax liabilities, we can connect you to a tax preparer and work directly with them to provide all the financials and backup documents they will need to complete your returns. In some instances, if you are delinquent on Sales & Use Taxes, we may also act on your behalf by contacting the appropriate state tax authorities, voluntarily disclosing the situation, and negotiating with them to come to terms on an acceptable payment plan to get you into compliance.

How long will this take and how much will it cost?

Everyone’s situation is different so the time it takes will depend on how much information there is to unravel or clean up. Typically, we can accomplish this in just a few weeks – but bigger projects that encompass several years may take a few months. As far as costs, we charge a one-time project fee to get your financials in order. Then, if you choose to move forward with us as your ongoing outsourced accounting firm, you will pay a fixed monthly fee.

So, if you’re ready to get control of your business’s finances, contact us today.

For even more information, check out what financial reports you can expect to receive each month from ARI and discover 10 benefits of outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping needs.

Read how one of our clients doubled revenue by outsourcing their accounting function.



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