Badly tracked finances can cause your business a world of problems—from poor cash flow to improper tax filings and beyond. These kinds of problems can put a young business at serious risk.

Good bookkeeping habits, on the other hand, can help a business thrive—and not just survive.

Dallas-based financial writer and founder of Careful Cents, Carrie Smith, shared her advice on what good bookkeeping means for entrepreneurs, and the good habits to adopt that will guide your business to success.

1. Get professional help to prepare tax returns

Business owners are pulled in a dozen different directions. That’s why it makes sense to outsource work you don’t have the expertise or time to do. If you’re like many entrepreneurs, you likely went into business to pursue a passion, not to become an accountant.

“Sometimes outsourcing the job to somebody who can do a quicker and better job is much smarter than trying to tackle it yourself,” Smith says.

Professional accountants can do more than just ensure your returns pass muster. A trained financial eye can spot ways that your bookkeeping processes—and perhaps your business itself—can be improved.

For example, most businesses aren’t aware of all the tax deductions they can claim to ultimately reduce their overall tax burden. With a trained eye, Smith was able to able to help one of her past clients save over $1,000 on her return, which took her from owing money to the IRS to receiving a small refund.

2. Don’t go entirely “hands-off”

Outsourcing your bookkeeping doesn’t mean you should leave it entirely to somebody else. “You’ll want to review reports, understand what’s happening with your business, and ask the right questions (when you don’t),” Smith says.

No matter your level of accounting expertise, it is beneficial to your business for you to understand as owner some of the basic business numbers, including profit, trend in expenses, accounts receivable, profit per customer, and how your client funnel works. Here is an article that summarizes why these five numbers matter and how you can use them to monitor the health of your business.

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