11 Checklists to Optimize Your Accounting Processes

Accounting processes from invoicing to reporting

Businesses of all sizes have to deal with accounting and it can be a bit difficult if you’re new to it.

Without an effective accounts receivable process, you risk losing out on valuable revenue.

If you don’t put a process in place for your accounts payable then you could be facing late payment charges or even opening up space for fraud.

Accounting is vital to the health of a business and too many companies overlook it. In the UK, the Association of Accounting Technicians revealed that SMEs were “leaking” £2.9bn every year through poor accounting practices.

This is why we’ve created 11 checklists to guide you through your accounting processes.

Using the checklists

You don’t need to be a CPA to create a balance sheet or an invoice. Our checklists enable anyone to perform accounting activities, and as you go through you’ll see the different steps explained where necessary. This way, you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

With these Process Street checklists, you’ll see how you can integrate Process Street with Zapier and Quickbooks to automate accounting processes, saving you time and money.

A lot of accounting work is knowing what the necessary process is and being able to follow it effectively. The processes we have listed here range from onboarding accounting staff to invoicing clients, to bank reconciliation and end of year reporting.

We’ve tried to put this pack together in a way which caters to a broad scope of accounting needs.

If you want to go straight into them, they’re right here. Otherwise, scroll down for a brief intro to each one!

Quick links

Accounting Onboarding Procedures

accounting-onboarding-procedures

Onboarding new employees in any area requires a clear process focused on fitting the new hire into the company’s culture and operations.

Running effective staff onboarding results in higher productivity, better team morale, and enviable employee retention rates.

In this checklist, we focus on the administrative tasks required to bring someone new into your company, and then guide you through bedding a team member into the group.

There are also tasks to review your employee’s knowledge on the specific areas they’ll be working on, with time set aside for learning. Plus, importance is granted to getting your new hire working well with all the internal systems which keep your company ticking over.

Click here to get the accounting onboarding procedures checklist

Creating an Invoice

creating an invoice

Invoicing clients is the lifeblood of your business.

Without receiving remuneration for your services, you’re running a charity rather than a business. Which, while admirable, won’t put food on the table for you and all your staff.

To help you bring in your money when you need it, we’ve created this incredibly simple invoice generator.

Connect the Process Street checklist to Zapier to automatically fire your data into the generator with our Zap.

This checklist will provide a streamlined method of creating invoices while saving time in the process.

Click here to get the creating an invoice checklist

Bank Reconciliation Template

bank-reconciliation-template

A large part of accounting is simply double checking your own work or the work of other people to find and correct mistakes. This is why so many accounting procedures seem complicated; you’re being asked to do the same calculations in many different ways.

This can be confusing, but we’ve tried our best to show you how simple these processes can actually be.

In this checklist, you’ll start at the point of preparing your takings for the bank, and then you’ll be checking your own math – and that of the bank – to make sure it’s all correct.

Mistakes are easy to make and if left unnoticed can be very hard to correct – with huge consequences. This checklist is your first defense against errors.

Click here to get the bank reconciliation template

Expense Management Process

expense-management-process

Dealing with employee expenses can be a messy process.

Often there isn’t clarity as to what is being claimed for and why. Or it’s not certain who is meant to approve the claim or whether that approval has been given or not. Then, there are the occasions where an approved and processed expense doesn’t end up being paid to the employee when its meant to be paid.

These are all scenarios to be avoided. It starts with a good process.

This process brings all of the different employees involved in the process, into the conversation. They each fulfil their respective tasks and the expense is dealt with smoothly and quickly, with each action documented for later audit.

Click here to get the expense management process checklist

Accounts Receivable Process

accounts-receivable-process

When you do work, you expect to be paid for it.

This process not only brings in industry tips on how to best ensure you receive the payment you’re due, but it allows you to keep your business going while waiting on those payments.

Accounting for accounts receivable is the art of accounting for money you don’t have. This is money which you will have, and this process helps you operate as if it is there in your bank.

Maintaining this cash flow is something businesses typically struggle with, and is normally the result of having product or service expertise in the organization without the internal accounting know-how.

Click here to get the accounts receivable process checklist

Accounts Payable Process

accounts-payable-process

There are many purposes inbuilt within an effective accounts payable process.

The first, and most obvious, is to make certain you are paying for the things you should be paying for.

Part of this is to not miss payments. Missing payments could incur charges or interest, or the damaging of valuable business relationships. Another part of this is to check you’re receiving what you are paying for. You don’t want to be overpaying for something. This seems simple enough, but as organizations grow and become more complex it can be easy to miss certain details.

Processes like these stop details being missed.

A further function of a well-constructed accounts payable process is to minimize the risk of fraud. As companies grow larger and the outgoing payments they make begin to spiral upward in value, the risk/reward of fraud charges. Every company should have oversight procedures in place to protect company assets. This process acts as one of those.

Click here to get the accounts payable process checklist

Income (Profit and Loss) Statement Process

income-profit-and-loss-statement-process

There are three main pillars of business accounting reports and one of them is your income statement, otherwise known as a profit and loss statement.

The purpose of this document is quite simple. It is there to report the total amounts of money a company has earned and spent over a specified period of time.

This helps you work out your gross profit, your profit before taxes, your retained earnings, and other important terms any good accounting overview of your business will need to represent.

Click here to get the income (profit and loss) statement checklist

Cash Flow Report

cash-flow-report

Working out your cash flow is another staple aspect of business accounting.

The cash flow report, or cash flow statement, is focused on looking less at broad overviews of the business and trends, and more on activity within business operations.

This requires investigating the cash payments, cash receipts, and cash net change across the operating, financing, and investing activities of a business over a particular timeframe.

This checklist guides you through what documentation you will need to consult, how to structure and record your report, and how to work out the important final figures.

Click here to get the cash flow report checklist

Balance Sheet Statement Preparation Checklist

balance-sheet-statement-preparation-checklist

The balance sheet, sometimes known as the statement of financial position, summarizes a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity.

This is one of your key reports for itemizing what the company owes and owns.

If you have some upcoming meetings with investors, your balance sheet will serve as a quick way to demonstrate the assets of the business while also showing how much had been invested by other shareholders.

It’s a crucial document. Fortunately, this checklist guides you through the process and explains what you need to do to create your balance sheet. Plus, we try to make sure you understand it along the way, with an explanation of key terms and concepts.

Click here to get the balance sheet statement preparation checklist

Business Tax Preparation Checklist

business-tax-preparation-checklist

Tax is tricky.

If you’re starting off in business, you might not know how much tax you have to pay or what you’re paying that tax for.

How do you account for expenses? How much information do I need to provide?

This checklist points you to all the different factors you need to take into consideration when compiling your business tax return. It’s geared toward US companies but has a broad enough scope to assist businesses internationally. It’s geared to work for companies with both partnership and corporation structures.

Click here to get the business tax preparation checklist

Annual Financial Report Template

annual-financial-report-template

The annual financial report is the culmination of all the hard work put in over the course of the year.

This is the cup final of the accountancy season.

Annual reports include an overview of business activity during the year, including cash flow reports, income statements, and balance sheets.

However, the report is much more than mere numbers. It is where future projections, built from the accountancy team’s hard work, can be included. There’s also the option of including a letter from the CEO and other details about changing markets, products, and services.

The annual financial report is your detailed proof that you and your team did a great job and a way of communicating the company’s strategy for the year ahead.

Click here to get the annual financial report template

Achieve even greater efficiency with process automation

All of these accounting checklists are designed to be empowered by automation. If you don’t have any process automation set up in your business yet, no need to worry. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get started.

Process Street offers a vast array of automation capabilities through our integration with Zapier that allows you to establish various trigger-based actions to connect our checklists with the tools you already know, like Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero.

For example, when the cash flow reporting period begins every quarter, a cash flow report checklist can be automatically run and specific tasks assigned to the relevant individuals to get the process started without any delay.

Here are a few more ideas of specific tasks you could automate:

  1. Create and assign an accounts receivable checklist upon delivery of goods or services
  2. Email an employee to notify them of an expense approval or rejection
  3. Send a first-time buyer a credit application and your terms of sale to qualify them
  4. Track a new hire’s training progress with our Watershed integration
  5. Schedule a meeting with your tax advisor when all tax documentation has been completed and needs to be verified

Find out how to integrate Process Street with the apps you use every day, like Quickbooks for generating invoices or Freshbooks for organizing expenses.

Also, check out our ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Business Process Automation, to learn more about how you can boost the efficiency of your business.

Try out other popular checklists

We hope this accounting processes checklist pack helps your business succeed.

Or maybe your accountancy department is already top-notch and requires zero improvements? In which case, check out these other template packs to help your other departments and business processes.

Make sure you sign up for a Process Street account if you somehow don’t have one yet. It takes moments to sign up, and you can start using all these processes and more in your business straight away!

Comment below to let us know how you get on with these checklists and recommend other templates you would like to see in the future!

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Adam Henshall

Adam Henshall is a content writer for Process Street and dabbles in other projects inc Idyoma on the side. Living in Sevilla in the south of Spain, Adam's current hobby is learning Spanish! @adam_h_h


2 Comments

Very informative article Adam. These checklists enable faster and more reliable execution of accounting processes. There are a lot of business finance processes that should be optimized for a successful business growth. For instance, recurring payments can be automated with direct debit solutions ( https://www.ezypay.com/ ) and save you time and recover lost revenue from outstanding and failed payments.


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