Accounting

Accounting, bookkeeping, and tax tips to help you understand your small business finances.

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Review and Comparison: GnuCash vs. Other Accounting Software

Explore GnuCash's features, safety, and comparisons with Bench Accounting, QuickBooks and other alternatives. Your concise guide to understanding GnuCash's role in financial software.

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Return On Assets: What It Is and How to Calculate

Want to understand how efficiently you use your capital? You need to know your return on assets (ROA), a metric used by investors and owners alike.

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The Waste Book: The Oldest Book in Accounting

Dive into the history of accounting with this blog post! Learn about the Waste Book, why it's the oldest book in accounting and how it's still relevant today.

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Introduction to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

Discover the history, importance, and key principles of GAAP. Improve your financial reporting with this essential accounting framework. Learn more now.

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Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)

Explore the role of FASB in financial reporting, including its mission, standards, and collaboration for consistency in accounting practices.

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Comprehensive Guide to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

Discover IFRS with our comprehensive guide. Explore key principles, major changes, and best practices for implementation in your organization.

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A Relatively Painless Guide to Double-Entry Accounting

A (relatively) painless rundown of the double-entry system of accounting, and why your business should probably switch to it immediately.

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Best Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses

Accounting software can be your secret weapon when it comes to managing your small business finances. But you don't have to spend big for features you won't use.

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Quicken Alternatives: Your Top Six Options

Looking for a Quicken replacement? Here are your top six options.

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Accumulated Depreciation Explained

What exactly is that accumulated depreciation account on your balance sheet? Here’s what you need to know about this important line item.

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What is a Purchase Order and How Does It Work?

Did you order 100 standing desks, but on delivery day, 1,000 showed up? You should have used a purchase order.

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Variable Costs: A Simple Guide

Understanding (and lowering) variable costs can help your business make more money—so long as you don’t sacrifice quality in the process

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What Are Assets, Liabilities, and Equity?

A simple guide to some common accounting terms, and why they matter.

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Understanding Income Statements vs Balance Sheets

Understanding how income statements and balance sheets work together can help you plan your business's future growth.

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Owner’s Equity: What It Is and How to Calculate It

If you had to liquidate your business today, how much could you get out of it? Your owner’s equity account has the answers.

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How to Calculate Retained Earnings (Formula and Examples)

Retained earnings are like a running tally of how profitable your business has been since it first started up. Here’s how to calculate it.

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What is Outsourced Accounting and How Could It Help You?

Need a little help managing your finances? Learn what outsourced accounting involves, its advantages, and whether or not it’s right for you.

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Foreign Currency Accounting for Small Businesses

Master the basics of foreign currency accounting—so you can get back to bringing in dollars (or euros, or yen...).

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Fixed vs Variable Costs (with Industry Examples)

Reducing your fixed and variable costs increases your profit. But first, you need to tell the difference between the two.

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Bad Debt Expense: Definition and How to Calculate It

Bad debt is how your business keeps track of money it can’t collect from customers. Here's how to calculate it.

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What is Accounts Payable? (Definition and Example)

Accounts payable tells you exactly which suppliers you owe money to, and how much. Here’s how it works.

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FIFO: The First In First Out Inventory Method

First In, First Out (FIFO) is the most common method of inventory valuation. But how does it work and why is it so common? We've got you covered with everything you need to know to start tracking your inventory accurately today!

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EBITDA: What it Is and How to Calculate

Recorded a negative net income? Your EBITDA may tell a more hopeful story. Here's why this measurement of the profitability of your operations is important.

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How to Calculate Gross Income for the PPP

On February 22, the PPP changed so the self-employed can apply using gross income. But what does that mean for your PPP loan amount? Here's our guide on how to calculate gross income for the PPP.

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Invoice Templates for Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Excel, Google Sheets, and PDF

Looking for an invoice template? Take your pick. We’ve rounded up some of the best invoice templates.

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What Is Unearned Revenue, And Why Is it Good for Your Business?

Unearned revenue may be a liability on the books but it does have many benefits for small business owners.

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LIFO: The Last In First Out Inventory Method

Last In, First Out (FIFO) is a method of inventory valuation that assumes you sell your newest inventory first. How does this affect the books? Read on for a definition and examples!

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A Quick Guide to Proforma Invoices

If you sell on consignment, you might at some point have to send or receive a proforma invoice, which is different than a regular invoice. Here’s why that’s important.

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Fixed Costs: Everything You Need to Know

Understanding fixed costs can help you become more profitable (and make better business decisions).

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The Cost of Debt (And How to Calculate It)

Borrowing money costs money. How much money? Calculating the cost of debt will tell you!

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Gross Margin: A Simple Introduction

Gross margin is how profitable your individual products/services are. It's a great starting place for measuring how healthy your business is.

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Convert Your Cash-Basis Books to Accrual at Tax Time

Cash-basis accounting is simpler for many small businesses, but some are required to file taxes using the accrual basis. Relax: you don't need two sets of books.

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How to Calculate (and Use) the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

The accounts receivable turnover ratio is a simple formula to calculate how quickly your clients pay. Here's how to calculate and use it in your business.

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How to Do Accounting for a Small Business: Your Quick-Start Guide

Learn how to handle your small business accounting and get the financial information you need to run your business successfully.

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Understanding Accounts Receivable (Definition and Examples)

If you want to get paid faster, you need to understand accounts receivable. Here’s a full rundown.

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What is Profit Margin? A Simple Introduction

Profit margin is how you tell how profitable your whole business is. It's important! Here's everything you need to know.

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How to Calculate (And Interpret) The Current Ratio

Trying to measure liquidity? Here’s how to calculate the current ratio, a financial metric that measures your company’s ability to pay off its short-term debts.

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Gross vs Net Income: How They Differ and Why They Matter

A business income statement includes both gross and net income. Each can provide valuable information about the overall health of your small business.

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What Are Net 30 Payment Terms? Should You Use Them?

Thinking about offering your clients net 30 payment terms? Here’s what that could mean for your business.

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What's a Good Profit Margin for Your Small Business?

Wondering if your profit margins are high enough? Here's how to calculate gross, operating, and net profit margins and what they can tell you about your business.

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5 Top Picks for Ecommerce Accounting Software

Nothing feels better than that first online sale, but as your business grows, so will your admin. Here's how to stay on top of it.

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How to Calculate and Use Year-Over-Year (YOY) Growth

The year-over-year growth formula is one of the most reliable ways of tracking your long-term growth. Here's how it works.

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Real Business Decisions You Can Make Using Bench Financial Statements

Bench financial statements can help you find ways to grow your business and cut costs. Here's how.

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Modified Cash Basis: What Is It? Who Should Use It?

Just when you thought you had the basics of cash basis and accrual basis accounting covered, there’s a third option to throw into the mix: modified cash basis.

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Gross Profit vs. Net Profit: Understanding Profitability

How profitable is your small business? Gross profit and net profit will tell you.

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How to Read the Bench Income Statement From Your Stripe Dashboard

We’ll take you step-by-step through the Bench income statement and how it describes the current financial state of your company.

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How the Bench App Helps You Assess the Health of Your Business

With Stripe plus the Bench app, you can keep track of more than just payments. Here’s how to get a holistic view of your numbers.

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The Best Shopify Accounting Software: Our Top Seven Picks

If you're running your own Shopify store, you might need a better accounting solution.

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Law Firm Accounting 101

An in-depth guide to setting up the accounting basics for your law firm.

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Budgeting When Your Income Changes All the Time

Small businesses go through ebbs and flows. But with an effective budget, you can prepare for the dips by making the most of your peaks.

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Easy Formula to Calculate Markup & Margin

Profit margin and markup are like two sides of the same coin. They describe the same thing, but from different perspectives. Here’s how to tell the difference - and why it matters.

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How to Read and Analyze a Profit and Loss (P and L) Statement

Your profit and loss (P&L) statement shows your business's financial performance at a glance. Here’s how to read and analyze it.

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How Much Does an Accountant Cost?

Accountants charge using three common fee structures: hourly, project-based, and fixed fees.

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How Much Does a CPA or Accountant Cost?

A good CPA isn’t cheap, but their deep accounting, tax, and financial knowledge can benefit your business in the long run.

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6 Challenges of Ecommerce Accounting (& How to Overcome Them)

With a low barrier to entry, ecommerce is a great way to get into entrepreneurship. But there are unique challenges. Learn about what challenges you'll face and how to master them.

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Accounting Outsourcing: How to Hand off Your Financial Tasks (With Recommendations)

How to outsource your accounting, even if you can’t afford a full-on CPA.

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What is Burn Rate, And How Do You Calculate It?

If you're a startup burning cash, you'll need to pay attention to your burn rate. Here's what that means.

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Retained Earnings: Calculation, Formula & Examples

That "retained earnings" line on your balance sheet matters a lot—here's how to make sense of it.

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How to Pay Yourself From an LLC [2024 Guide]

When it comes to taxes, LLCs are shapeshifters. Learn the right way to pay yourself, depending on your business structure.

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Accounting Dictionary: A Simple Guide to Financial Business Terms

Your small business dictionary. These are the essential financial terms every small business owner needs to understand.

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What Is Equity, and How Do You Calculate It?

How much of your business do you actually own? If you understand equity, you can answer that question.

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Cash Basis Accounting vs. Accrual Accounting

The main difference between cash basis and accrual accounting is the timing of when revenue and expenses are recognized. Which method is best for your business?

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What is Petty Cash?

Some expenses are too small to write a check for. That’s where petty cash comes in.

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What Are Operating Expenses? (With Examples)

Understanding operating expenses can help you keep tabs on how efficiently your small business generates revenue. Here’s what you need to know.

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What Are Liabilities in Accounting? (With Examples)

Debt sucks, but you usually can’t run a business without it. Here’s everything you need to know to make sure you’re recording it in your books properly.

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Amazon Seller Fees: Everything You Need to Know (Including the Accounting)

Selling products on Amazon? Here’s everything you need to know about Amazon fees to help you make money-saving moves (and avoid any nasty surprises in the future).

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What is a Break-Even Point and How to Calculate

“When will we actually make money?” is the burning question for new businesses. Fortunately, you can answer this question by calculating your break-even point.

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Working Capital: What It Is and How to Calculate It

Having working capital can mean having funds to invest in new technologies and growth. But what does it tell you and how do you measure it? We've got you covered from understanding working capital to making the most of it.

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How to Read (and Analyze) Financial Statements

When you know how to read your financial statements, you can find ways to increase your profit, and catch problems before they grow.

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How to Read (and Understand) an Income Statement

If you can read an income statement, you can read your business.

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Gross Profit: What Is It and What It Means For Your Business

If you want to have a profitable business, you must first turn a gross profit. But what exactly is it, how do you calculate it, and how do you make more of it?

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What is a Chart of Accounts? A How-To with Examples

This is a straightforward guide to the chart of accounts—what it is, how to use it, and why it’s so important for your company’s bookkeeping.

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Overhead Costs (Definition and Examples)

Overhead is the cost of staying in business—learn how to track how much you’re really earning and build rock-solid profit projections.

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A Beginner’s Guide to The Accounting Cycle

How do financial statements actually get created? The six-step accounting cycle.

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What is Deferred Revenue and Why is it a Liability?

How do you record revenue when you get paid upfront? Deferred revenue.

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Owner’s Draw vs. Salary: How to Pay Yourself

How do you pay yourself when you're the boss?

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Financial Statements 101

Being fluent with your financial statements allows you to see where your money is going, where it’s coming from and how much you have to work with.

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Cryptocurrency Accounting 101

Cryptocurrency is complicated enough. Here’s a simple guide to the bookkeeping, accounting, and tax side of things.

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How to Calculate Net Income (Formula and Examples)

Net income, net earnings, bottom line—this important metric goes by many names. Here’s how to calculate net income and why it matters.

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How Revenue Recognition Works: A 5-Step Guide

What is revenue recognition and does it affect your business?

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20 Common Small Business Budget Categories

Organizing your expenses into specific budget categories helps you prepare for a smooth tax filing season and make more informed business decisions.

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Revenue vs. Profit: The Difference and When They Matter

When you’re running a business, it’s all about the bottom line. Or is it all about the top line? Discover how revenue and profit influence your business outcomes.

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What is an Invoice? (Example and Template)

Invoicing is the bread and butter of your business. Literally: If you don’t invoice, you don’t get paid, and you can’t afford bread or butter.

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Liquidity: A Simple Guide for Businesses

Having trouble paying your bills? You might have problems with liquidity. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Pro Forma Financial Statements (with Templates and Examples)

As an essential ingredient in financial forecasting, pro forma statements let you try on the future for size—and see which business moves are the right fit for you.

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What is an Adjusted Trial Balance and How Do You Prepare One?

If you do your accounting own accounting, you need a trial balance. All of your raw financial information flows into it, and useful financial information flows out of it.

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A Primer on Accrued Expenses (6 Examples)

If you’ve received a good or service and plan to pay for it in the future, you have to record it in your books as an accrued expense. Here’s how to do it properly.

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Statement of Retained Earnings: A Complete Guide

Understanding the statement of retained earnings can help you evaluate your business’s profitability and help you plan for future growth.

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Forensic Accounting Summit Q&A

Bench's Shawna Laker, manager of our Bookkeeping team, participated in a Q&A panel on how to recreate financial records.

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Can I Afford to Hire an Employee?

Are you ready to hire your first employee? Here’s how to find out.

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A Guide to Nonprofit Accounting (for Non-Accountants)

You probably didn't start a nonprofit to do accounting. Here's the basics you need to know to stay on top of your books and taxes.

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How to Create a Financial Forecast

A financial forecast tries to predict what your business will look like (financially) in the future—which is key for uncertain, economic times.

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What is an IOLTA Account & 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Mismanaging IOLTA can carry stiff penalties, even leading to disbarment. Here’s how to prevent that from happening.

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Fiscal Year Explained: How To Choose One For Your Business

Picking the right fiscal year for your business can save you and your accountant a lot of time, money and stress. Here’s what you should consider when deciding on one.

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11 Alternatives to QuickBooks in 2024

QuickBooks isn't for everyone. Here are 11 alternatives to explore, each with a different emphasis.

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Accounting for Medical Practices: Tips and Best Practices

Accounting for a medical practice has some unique challenges. Follow these best practices to keep your practice in the black.

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The Best Accounting Software for Consultants

A roundup of some of the best accounting software solutions for consultants.

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Hiring an Accountant: Before and After

What are the signs that your small business needs an accountant, and how do you recruit one who's a good fit?

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Top 8 Easy-to-Use SMB Accounting Software

Shopping for small business accounting software can be painful and confusing. To make your search easier, we’ve narrowed it down to these twelve picks.

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Financial Literacy 101 for Small Business Owners

Your financial statements are more than a look at how your business performed in the past. They can help you make decisions now and in the future.