Thanks for a good event - your participation made it feel relaxed and open.
Before looking over the materials, would you be willing to give me some feedback? If not that's fine, but it was my first time presenting this topic and I would appreciate any suggestions you have of what to keep and what to change.
Here's the Prezi presentation I started with in case you want to see any of it again (feel free to share it too if you want).
Guide to Bookkeeping
This is the other document I covered a couple things from - specifically the Roles for Financial Controls, and the Document Security sections.
Notes and Other Resources
In a nutshell, some of the main points:
A good business plan will include projections of income and expense over time. Do it in a way that you can easily update as you get into the launch, because things will always be different from your projections. Think of your projections as a living document. Wherever possible use actual numbers from real world sources, then established industry standards, for estimating your income and expenses. Update them whenever you have new information - even if it doesn't "look as good."
Accounting apps are primarily backward looking. If they include forecasting tools (like QuickBooks does), those versions of the tools are usually not very good. Forward looking projections are still best done in spreadsheets, but there are some new tools coming on the market designed for start-ups that may be worth trying - stay tuned to my blog for some reviews of these.
Track your pre-launch, pre-funding expenses related to the start-up, because you can write them off and get reimbursed after funding, but only if you have them well documented.
The IRS does not require a receipt (paper or electronic) for anything under $25, and will accept an e-receipt (specially formatted transaction data from your bank) for anything $75 and under. Having a receipt is always best, but you can let go of your anxiety if a receipt goes missing and it's less than $75.
Expensify (expensify.com) is a great mobile app and website for tracking receipts, and they will create e-receipts from your bank/credit card imports. Easily create expense reports for the files or to get reimbursed. Shoeboxed (shoeboxed.com), launched and located here in Durham does something similar.
Incorporate the company and open a bank account when you have proven the idea and are ready to move ahead, even if expenses will be minimal. Waiting until you are funded is too late. (We skipped this item)
When you secure your funding, it's important to record who funded you, and whether it is debt or equity, but also to make these numbers part of your accounting right away - it needs to be on the balance sheet. This is also the time to start using the "budgeting" or "forecasting" features of your accounting software, so you can easily report planned versus actual. Remember: budgeting and forecasting are merely tools for bringing the dream down to earth by translating it into a realistic financial picture.
After funding, use "Roles for Financial Controls" and make sure you have the right permissions in place for handling money and financial information. Having accounting duties segregated properly makes your reports more accurate, and prevents both temptation and opportunity for shady dealings.
If you decide to work in the cloud, and to have financial documents in the cloud, there are tools available to help you do it securely. Lastpass for storing and sharing passwords, and Boxcryptor for locking/encrypting files before they are stored in the cloud. (lastpass.com, boxcryptor.com)
What I learned
Have signs for the front doors telling people where the presentation is
Use a bigger laptop (screen mirroring with small screen = less on the big screen)
Asking around at the time of the presentation meant a couple folks joined in - awesome!
Integrate logos/websites of security tools into the document security section
A full presentation on cloud documents and security would probably get some interest