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10 bookkeeping errors to avoid

Keeping your books in tip top shape is the first step to financial health
By Henry Ong |

All businesses, whether sole proprietorships, partnerships or corporations, must pay attention to bookkeeping because it is an indicator of a company’s financial health and profitability.


Bookkeeping errors could spell doom, while books in tip top shape would give one a clear picture of a business’s fiscal situation.


The following are common bookkeeping mistakes an entrepreneur would do well to avoid:


• No reconciliation of bank transactions. Small business owners often run their accounting on cash basis, where cash movements are regarded as indicators of profitability. They monitor actual cash collections and disbursements but do not reconcile transactions the bank makes to their account, such as unrecorded charges, overdrafts, interest income or expenses, and bounced checks.


The consequence of this is inaccurate cash balances on record.

• Failure to reconcile receivables with returns and withholding taxes. Do not confuse credit memos with sales returns and discounts, as well as creditable tax the customer had withheld, because it would result in an overstated accounts receivable balance.



It may also cause an embarrassing situation where the cashier demands payment from a customer who has already paid.


• Misclassification of accounts. Accounting records without proper account titles tempt the bookkeeper into placing similar expenses under one account. For example, transportation, personal meals, and meeting expenses are booked under representation expense account when this could be properly classified under three different account titles.


Doing so would lead to exaggerated representation expenses that could exceed the allowable limit set by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and decreasing expenses while increasing taxable income.

• Recording prepayments and deposits as expenses instead of assets. A good bookkeeper should know when an item should be expensed or capitalized. Examples of capitalized items are rental deposit, business permit and fire insurance payments, and advances for a store space.


(Some bookkeepers automatically record these as expenses received during the month instead of recording them as assets.) This would overstate the total operating expenses while understating net income if these items were booked as expenses during the month.



• Forgetting to set up accounts. This normally happens in transactions involving withholding taxes from the total amount payable to the supplier. An example of this is a franchisee paying his franchiser royalty fees. The franchisee’s bookkeeper may have properly withheld the corresponding tax on the royalty payment when he filed the remittance form with the BIR.


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