We work with small business owners and entrepreneurs. Some are seasoned, others are just growing their side hustle. Their skills are varied and they have a wide variety of talents. We often get asked to explain the ins and outs of financial reports and have found that providing our favorite clients with a working knowledge of accounting terms is helpful. With that end in mind, we’re sharing that expert knowledge with you. So if you’re looking to get a better grasp on your small business books, want to understand your financial reports so you can make better business decisions, or even are just starting out and want to do it right… you can check out our word of the week and start expanding your working financial knowledge.
What Are Expenses?
Business expenses include any money you use to buy something for your company. There are 2 types of business expenses that you may want to track for your financial reports:
- overhead costs – are items you pay that probably don’t fluctuate all that much, rent, utilities, insurance, etc.
- operating costs – these costs can fluctuate more easily, and are directly related to running your business including, raw materials, supplies, inventory, etc.
When it comes to business expenses, the best thing you can do is track them all. If you’re spending money from your business bank account, then you need to have a receipt, invoice or make a note in your business ledger for that transaction. You can always go back later and decide which type of expense it is, but knowing where the money is going is key to understanding your financial standing.
How Does Knowing Your Expenses Help?
So once you know what an expense is, and you maybe have even categorized them, it’s time to talk about why knowing your expenses can help your bottom line. You’ve probably heard that saying “knowing is half the battle…”, well it applies here. If you know where your money is going you’ve got a good bird’s eye view of the inner workings of your business. If you’re finding that you’re not making as much profit each month, you’ll want to look at your expenses? Have the cost of raw materials gone up? If you’re looking to strategize and have a surplus of funds for things like rent, etc. you’ll be able to look back at your total expense, and then break that cost up into monthly payments so you’ve got a strategy that doesn’t drain you of cash all at once.
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.