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The best way to manage your bookkeeping/accounting for a SaaS startup is to use QuickBooks Online.
When it comes to setting up your Chart of Accounts, there’s no straight answer. Your Chart of Accounts will need to be tailored to your specific needs based on the level of detail you prefer. QuickBooks will start you off with a pre-populated Chart of Accounts and from there you can edit.
Looking at the Chart of Accounts can be a bit dense so I’ve decided to present a sample P&L instead. The goal of the Chart of Accounts is to get the accounts to track to the appropriate location on the financial statements. As a general rule, look to create 1 Master Income Account, 1 Master COGS Account, up to 10 Master expense accounts, 1 Other Income Account, and 1 Other Expense Account so that the accounts will roll up nicely into an Executive Summary style Condensed P&L. Under these Master Accounts, you can have as many sub accounts and as much detail as you wish. Check out the Expanded and Condensed example below:
You’ll want to use a software like QBO because it will output the financial data you need understand your business and create the standard SaaS metrics that the best SaaS founders - and VCs - use. Metrics like the Rule of 40, burn multiples, etc. require good accounting management and solid metrics.
Caveat: Your business is unique, and your Chart of Accounts/P&L might look much different from this. This is just an example of how the Chart of Accounts tracks to the P&L. If you want to hire one of the best SaaS accountants, talk to us!
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