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Bookkeeping Checklist: What You Should Do, And How Often

It’s common for a small business owner to have little to no bookkeeping experience, so it’s easy for them to fall behind on important tasks.

That doesn’t mean you can just skirt bookkeeping tasks, of course. It means that you need to find a system that will help you regularly check in with important tasks and duties that can’t fall by the wayside.

A bookkeeping checklist should do the trick.

The following is a list of bookkeeping duties that you should be tackling periodically, whether that’s annually, weekly, even daily. It also includes some insight into the importance of these tasks, and/or tips on how to tackle them more efficiently. How you keep up with this checklist is up to you, but we highly advise setting up a system of automatic reminders to keep you on task.


  • Check cash on hand. There isn’t much you need to do on a daily basis, but you should keep a daily eye on cash. After all, cash is the lifeblood of your business. But even profitable businesses can run cash shortfalls depending on payment schedules and timing of revenues. You should always have cash on hand to tackle emergencies and other unexpected expenses – keeping daily track of your cash will give you a better grasp on your cash situation (so you can address it if there’s an issue), and help you to know what you’re working with should the unexpected happen.


  • Create and send invoices. While in theory, you could prepare invoices on an as-needed basis, catching up with this task weekly should be frequent enough, and making it a routine will make it more difficult to forget.
  • Update payroll.
  • Record payments to vendors.
  • Record payments from customers.
  • Assess cash flow. Again, because cash is so vital to a business’ operations, you need to make sure at least weekly that you’re keeping up with your cash projections.


  • Check inventory. Managing inventory is a vital task that ensures several thinks, including that you’re always stocked up on what you need, and that you’re not selling spoiled goods. Among the ways to make this job easier? Use inventory management software; consider using a first-in, first-out (FIFO) approach that sees goods sold in the same order they were created; and identifying stock that you’re having difficulty selling so you can identify the issue and determine whether you should continue selling that item.
  • File sales tax return (if applicable; may be quarterly or annually).
  • Review and process payroll.
  • Review the month’s balance sheet.
  • Balance your checkbook.


  • Make quarterly income and sales tax payments.
  • Evaluate profit & loss (P&L) estimates. You don’t create annual budgets for fun. Budgets set expectations for the year that you can check on periodically to make sure your small business still is headed in the right direction. A quarterly checkup on numerous financial metrics, including revenues, expenses and net income, is a way to either ensure you’re on track, or identify problems so you can begin to fix them.


  • Check year-end inventory. Consider this a fallback option if you truly don’t have the time to run monthly strategic inventory reviews.
  • Create your annual report.
  • Fill out applicable tax and other required forms.

Are you looking at this checklist thinking, “I’ll never have the time” or “I have no idea how to accomplish half of those tasks”? Don’t stress. Many businesses rely on third-party help to tackle bookkeeping to-dos. If you need assistance, consider reaching out to the accounting and business-services pros at McManamon & Co. Our team boasts decades of experience helping small and midsize businesses with accounting, tax services and other necessities, keeping you focused on the business of growing your business.

If you have questions about how to tackle anything on this checklist, or have other bookkeeping needs, call us at440.892.9088 or contact us online.

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