It’s true that bookkeeping and accounting for a design firm is often complex, involving many necessary changes throughout a project, resulting in complications. But it doesn’t have to be so difficult to keep track and to stay up to date with project and company accounting. Here are a few ideas on how to simplify and streamline the accounting process.
Delegate Tasks and Set Expectations
Dividing up work where possible reduces the burden on any one person and it can make it easier to keep the tasks that relate to bookkeeping up-to-date. A good example is the tracking of time–if your design firm bills out hourly time, it is imperative that this time be captured and ready for invoicing in a timely manner. Ensure all staff have a way to capture their own time and that they are accountable to have it captured within a certain time frame. This makes everyone’s life easier and ultimately means fee invoices can go out on time and cash flow stays steady. Make sure you have a system in place that makes the process of turning tracked time into invoices very easy.
Find a Professional to Help in This Area
Professional help in the area of accounting is as valuable a professional service as any. As a business owner, it’s difficult to be an expert in all of the areas you need expertise in, so know where to bring people into the business who can add value and expertise that is different from your own. Make things easier for yourself and ensure your books are well taken care of by engaging professional help to manage accounting. Ideally, this person would have experience working with design firms and therefore may also be able to help streamline other processes within the business.
Take Time to Understand Bookkeeping Relating to Your Industry
Accounting for design firms is complex because of the many types of transactions you need to track and the amount of time over which these transactions unfold. Spending time learning about how your transactions affect cash flow, company reports, project reports, taxation, etc. will help you to understand your business reports more clearly. Areas where process can be improved to save time and money may also be highlighted as you learn. If you have a good bookkeeper, they should be able to help you understand the complexities, but there are also many courses and seminars available as a start.
Use the Right Software to Manage Your Business
Many firms use Excel, Word, various apps, shared networks, Dropbox, etc. to run their business. But is this the best way? It can be overwhelming to keep everything up to date and to not end up with work needing to be re-entered between these tools and a separate accounting system. Keep work flowing and accounting entries moving along by using a software that has integrated accounting. The right software program means that a lot of project-related accounting happens organically over the lifetime of a project. Reduce the overall time spent on administration and bookkeeping entries by using a software with an integrated accounting system.