In all businesses, it is of utmost importance to have an accounting system to monitor the business’ finances. An accounting system helps the business owner to keep track of the business’ income, expenses, assets and liabilities.  It also helps to monitor the cash flow of the business, ensuring that there is sufficient cash for running the business.  An accounting system is also necessary for the purpose of income tax filing, making retrieval of accurate and up-to-date information less time-consuming.

For business owners without any accounting knowledge, setting up an accounting system may seem like a daunting task. However, one can get started with keeping track of all business transactions with just simple excel templates (or openoffice spreadsheet templates if you are a fan of open-sourced software). If you are a new business owner, the information below will be useful for you to get started.

Sales and Receivables
When a business sells goods or services to a customer on credit, it is important that the business collects what is due. As such, companies need to keep track of the outstanding amounts due to them and this can be done using the account receivables template. With this template, collection efforts can be prioritised for amounts that are way overdue. In the event that your business is in F&B or retails where sales transactions tend to be voluminous, you can use the Monthly Sales Report to keep track of daily sales, modes of payment by customers, credit card charges, the date where sales proceeds are banked in to the company’s bank account. The practice of diligently preparing daily sales report into respective months will really come in handy if you need to report Gross Sales Report to the company’s landlord or if you require your monthly Gross Sales audited by an external auditor.

Purchases and Payables
Businesses often make large purchases e.g. inventory, supplies or equipment on credit. This will result in businesses having to make several monthly payments to various vendors by different dates. The account payables template will help you to keep track of the amounts owed to each vendor and the due dates for payment. It will also provide a quick overview of the total outstanding balances.

Sales Invoice
It is necessary for businesses providing goods or services to issue customers with a sales invoice.  Sales invoice is an invaluable tool for accounting as this helps the business to keep a record of the sale.  These simple bill templates (sale invoice template 1 and sale invoice template 2) are easily customisable to fit your business’ needs – you can add your company details, payee information, payment instructions, itemized list of the goods or services provided, quantity and price of each item.

Proforma Invoice
If you need to issue a sales document for goods or services that you have not yet supplied, you can issue a Proforma Invoice to offer the prices on these goods or services to your customer. They are also often used to declare the value of goods for customs or GST  (in Singapore context) purposes, but are not official invoices, by definition.

Expense Report/Reimbursement Report
The expense report template is useful for keeping track of business expenses for an individual, department, project or company. You can input expense details quickly and conveniently in the template. As a business owner, you can request your team to submit monthly reimbursement report or as the expenses are accrued.

As your business grows, you may hire an employee or a freelancer to help out with the business. You will need to determine if that individual is an employee or an independent contractor.  For employees, you will need to maintain Payroll Schedule and ensure that your business is compliant to the tax and CPF regulations in Singapore. In addition, from 1 April 2016, all employers must issue itemised payslips to employees covered by the Employment Act. For detailed requirements such as what items to include, when and how to give them, please refer to MOM link here. Meanwhile, if you decide to hire an independent contractor, you will have to keep track of how much you are paying to each freelancer.

As a new business owner, you may find that the process of starting a business is ridden with obstacles. Accounting could be one of the many challenges that you may find overwhelming. Feel free to use the accounting templates provided to get started with recording common transactions for your new business. These excel templates are easy to use and can be customised to suit your business’ needs. With these templates, you will find that getting your business’ finances in order may not be as tedious as you think.