How to Set Up an Accounting System for a Small Business?

Recording business transactions systematically ensures the smooth operation of the firm. This is where the accounting system comes into play. Using an accounting system allows you to simplify your bookkeeping process. On top of that, you can save time, money and focus on vital business matters which require your critical attention.

Before getting the benefit of using this system, you need to be familiarized with the system. You need to know how all the functions work. Setting up the accounting software for your business can feel overwhelming. Keep reading to learn and understand more about our simple steps for setting up an accounting system.

Accounting Method

This is the first step in setting up the accounting system for your business. You need a method to record all the financial transactions of your business. Let’s discuss the financial transactions before discussing the accounting method.

Financial Transactions

Financial transaction refers to all the business activities directly impacting the business’s financial health. In other words, it can be described as accounting transactions. Financial transactions come in many forms depending on your business type and activities, such as

  • Inventory purchase
  • Cash sales or credit sales
  • Bank deposits and checks
  • Receive cash by sending an invoice
  • Vendor bills
  • Borrowing funds from a bank
  • Repayment of the loan to the bank
  • Operating Expense

Choosing the Accounting Method

Two methods are available to choose from to record income and expenses.

  1. Cash Basis
  2. Accrual Basis

1. Cash Basis Method

This method is based on cash transactions. This means that you record your income and expenses when transactions are done in cash.

2. Accrual Basis Method

Unlike cash basis, the method is a bit complex. This method uses the double-entry bookkeeping system of accounting. In this method, you record transactions when they occur, whether you made transactions in cash or credit.

Let’s Get Familiarize with Accounting System Sections

In this system’s interface, you’ll see the dashboard and various sections, which are shortcuts for the execution of numerous tasks. From the settings option, you can set up your account with business information, such as business name, contact number, email, address, tax info etc.


An excellent accounting software system ensures user-friendliness. You can see your key business information by navigating through various sections under the dashboard, such as inventory manager, sales manager, locations, accounts, customers, reports etc.

Understanding the Chart of Accounts

This is the most essential part of your accounting system. A chart of accounts lists all financial transactions used in the company’s general ledger (GL).  These accounts are categorized based on financial transactions.

In this system, you can keep track of your business accounts in the chart of accounts sections. The accounting software system is very flexible and allows you to create or edit accounts as per your requirement. The chart of accounts also gives you an overall idea about your business accounts and financial health.

Here's an example of your five primary accounts and subaccounts:

  • Asset
    • Current Asset
      • Cash in hand
      • Bank Account
        • ABC Bank Ltd.
        • XYZ Bank Ltd.
      • Petty cash
      • Account receivable
      • Bills receivable
      • Prepaid expense
      • Advance salary
    • Fixed Asset
      • Building
      • Land
      • Office Equipment
      • Vehicle
  • Liability
    • Short term Liabilities
      • Tax payable
      • Creditors
      • Expense Payable
      • CC loan
    • Long term liabilities
      • Mortgage loan
      • Bonds payable
      • Lease
  • Equity
    • Owner’s equity
    • Retained earnings
    • Common stock
  • Income
    • Sales
    • Bank interest earned
  • Expense
    • Material cost
    • Salary
    • Utility bill
    • Office expenses
    • Rent expenses
    • Bank fees
    • Other Expenses

Bookkeeping in Accounting System

You don’t need an accounting degree to record your business transaction in the accounting system. This is one of the significant benefits of using this system. However, you should have a basic understanding of the bookkeeping system to record the transactions in the accounting system.

The following are the primary areas of your business:

  1. Purchase of fixed assets and inventory
  2. Money flowing into your business means sales
  3. Money flowing out of your business means expense
  4. Tracking accounts payable or liabilities

Let’s discuss how an accounting system can help you to record these transactions.

1. Purchasing Inventory Recording

It’s essential to keep track of inventory to sell products without interruption, such as stock out.  The accounting software system allows you to keep track of all the costs and quantities associated with each inventory purchase.

You can create a purchase order and send the invoice to the supplier using the system. Once you receive the products, you can record them in your inventory. On top of that, you can send a portion of your stock to the other branch and keep track of the branch's sales.

Once you make a sale to the customer and record it in this system, inventory quantities and costs will be automatically adjusted.

2. Sales Recording

Cash and credit sales are the two forms of sales that occur in business. A business generates sales either by selling products or services rendered.

As the business deals with various customers, the accounting system allows you to track customers separately. You can create a new customer in the customer manager section and see your existing customer list.

After selling products or services to a specific customer, you can record the sales transaction from the sales manager section. The accounting system will automatically adjust the inventory stock (in the case of the product) and create a journal accordingly.

You can also collect the due and refund payments from the sales manager section and see each sale’s invoice.

3. Expense Recording

Most money that leaves a business is used to cover business expenses. Business expenses are classified as either recurring or non-recurring.  Rent, utilities, and insurance are recurring expenses, also known as regular expenses.

On the other hand, non-recurring expenses frequently occur, such as spending money on a new hard drive for the computer or buying a new printer for the office.

The accounting system is designed to assist you in keeping track of both expenses. You’ll find the expense option in the account section's drop-down options. From there, you can record and track all your expenses, such as salary, bonus, entertainment cost, ISP bill, transportation cost, asset purchase etc. 

Also, if you have to specify a new expense type, you can add the new expense type from the chart of accounts.

4. Purchasing Asset Recording

The asset includes office items, buildings, land etc. You can record the item in the accounting system when you purchase a new asset. In this system, these items will be categorized as fixed assets. You can add a new item from the fixed asset section when you buy new equipment or any other type of asset.

5. Liabilities Recording

It’s a common misconception that liabilities are expenses, but they are not. It’s the money that businesses are obligated to pay to creditors. In the chart of accounts, you can see two types of liabilities, short-term and long-term.

An accounting system allows you to record new liabilities from the chart of accounts. To do so, you have to create a new account in the liabilities section as short-term or long-term liabilities and name the account as per loan name such as bank loan(bank name), car loan etc.

After that, when you take a loan, select the liability account, such as a bank loan (bank name) or car loan and credit the loan amount. Debit the cash account or bank account depending on in which medium you receive the money.