Small Business Accounting for Your Pet Care Business

First Financial Bank
Leverage the best practices of small business accounting for your pet care business to be sure you get paid for all your hard work.

As a small business owner, you tend to be the jack-of-all-trades, especially in the start-up phase. You are working with the customers, caring for their beloved pets, all while managing the business’s back-end operations. Though probably not the favorite part of your pet care business, accounting and bookkeeping are necessary tasks to ensure your business survives.

Getting Started

If you are in the early stages of building a business, you may be managing your books entirely through simple spreadsheets, such as Excel, and keeping a folder of expense receipts for your taxes. This is a good start, but this approach won’t scale as you (hopefully) grow. It also doesn’t provide you with the security and auditing controls that are necessary for protecting your financial records.

To take the next step for building an effective financial infrastructure for a successful pet care business involves three key elements:

  • Establishing appropriate internal controls to provide the rules and guidelines for working with your finances. These include both the “who” and the “how” to help you prevent fraud, maintain the integrity of your financial records, and provide an audit trail.
  • Implementing an appropriate accounting software solution that addresses your pet care business’ specific needs for tracking and managing any incoming and outgoing dollars.
  • Partnering with talented financial consultants who can provide you and your business with their skills and expertise. To begin with, you need a CPA or accountant to help you with initial recommendations, as well as provide ongoing support.

Internal Controls and Effective Business Processes

Whether your business provides pet spa services, supplies doggy daycare, or overnight boarding, you’ve established “best practices” for delivering those services to your clients. This ensures those clients receive consistently good services, safely. Just as you have set work patterns for the customer-facing work, you also need appropriate and repeatable back-end business processes that leverage established financial best practices. In particular, these internal controls are the process and procedures that document and enforce:

  • Who from your team has access to your finances and related records – and what can they do once they have access? This includes creating invoices, ordering supplies, documenting receivables, editing or writing off charges, cutting checks – and more.
  • What happens when procedures are not followed? Mistakes happen, but unfortunately, so does theft and fraud. Having the proper documentation of established procedures allows you not only a way to measure against but also can provide specific approaches for dealing with non-compliance.
  • Overall checks and balances for your business. Are you staying within your budget? Are you maintaining proper cash flow? Being able to answer these questions (and others) about the health of your business’ finances is essential not only for day-to-day management but for sharing with potential investors or lenders.
Accounting Software and Other Technologies

Moving your recordkeeping from spreadsheets to appropriate accounting software can make a huge difference in your business. It can help to:

  • Enforce your internal controls by restricting user access and ability to write/edit/delete records.
  • Document everything that happens – and who does what – so that if you need to investigate an issue, the details are captured automatically.
  • Provide professional looking invoices for delivering electronically and/or via US mail – and easy ways to accept and process payments that are then automatically settled into your bank.
  • With a few clicks, provide reports on outstanding bills, income statements, and other reports you’ll need to share with your accountant, tax specialist, or lending partner.

There are a variety of accounting software options to choose from, but you’ll want to consider what else you need to accomplish. Suppose you are also looking to move your scheduling, booking or product-selling capabilities to a more robust system. In that case, you’ll find that many have the capability to do some basic invoicing and integrate with one of the more established small business accounting softwares. You’ll want to consider what type of businesses the software focuses on and compatibility with the accounting software of your choice. Options include:

  • Time to Pet for pet sitters/dog walkers that has a tight integration with Quickbooks;
  • Gingr for boarding, daycare, training, and grooming businesses that has a basic integration with Quickbooks; and,
  • Pawfinity provides features for a variety of pet care businesses with a scheduled 1x/day transfer of data to Quickbooks.

Quickbooks is the most popular option for accounting software for small businesses. It integrates with most banking and credit card systems, as well as apps such as PayPal, Square, and Shopify, which many businesses use for accepting payments. It’s intuitive and established. It will be something your accountant or bookkeeper will be comfortable guiding you through.

Building a Trusted Team of Financial Advisors

Though we are listing this third, one of the primary things you need to do to create a successful financial infrastructure is to partner with ethical and experienced financial advisors. In particular, your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and your financial lender. As you look to establish your internal controls, create/update your financial technology systems and make decisions about how to move your pet care business forward effectively, these people’s expertise and experience can provide information that is invaluable to your success.

Pet Care Industry Consulting Firms

Building a set of advisors, technologies, and processes for your pet care business can be daunting, especially if you are new to the industry and/or this is your first time as the owner. What if you could work with a team who has “been there and done that” helping other pet care businesses drive success? There are consulting firms that specialize in the pet care industry, working with prospective and current business owners to establish industry best practices for people, processes, and systems that contribute to the bottom line. Outstanding Pet Care is just such a resource. Laura Laaman and her team understand exactly what it means to be in your shoes and have helped many other pet care business owners implement comprehensive approaches that result in revenue. Their focus on clients delivering quality care to their customers, while achieving strong financial results for their business is one of the reasons First Financial Bank has chosen to partner with Outstanding Pet Care. We want you to be a success.

Want to discuss your plans for moving your pet care business forward? Let’s chat!

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