Bookkeeping for startups - All you need to know
Founders and CEOs of early-stage companies understand that accurate and up-to-date financial information is critical for the operation of their startup, communicating with investors, and preparing for upcoming funding rounds. While many founders start by doing their own bookkeeping, that can quickly become a significant investment in time and effort. That’s time that could be spent running the company. At that point, a founder might want to consider outsourcing the company’s bookkeeping. Reasons that you might want to outsource your bookkeeping include:
To make effective business decisions, you need an accurate financial picture of your startup. You need to have a clear understanding of your cash management, your runway, your monthly expenses, your financial statements, your taxes, and more. Outsourcing your bookkeeping ensures that all those essential functions are handled by a team of skilled financial professionals.
Kruze account managers have an average of 11 years of experience with handling the finances of early-stage, venture-funded companies. We’ve developed highly automated processes and systems that help us save you time and money on bookkeeping services, plus we go beyond bookkeeping to provide you with due diligence and financial advice that reflects the needs and requirements of startup companies. Services include:
Recording financial transactions
Kruze’s outsourced bookkeepers record your revenues and expenses into your company’s accounting system, categorizing transactions and reviewing your books and financial records to make sure they are error-free.
Revenue numbers are crucial to raising additional rounds of venture capital, and VCs will check to see if there are discrepancies in revenue numbers. Incorrect revenue recognition is one of the biggest reasons that startups switch to Kruze for bookkeeping services. Online bookkeepers that have limited accounting experience may claim to do everything with automation, but it’s usually the founder who has to code all the transactions.
Reconciliation is an important part of bookkeeping, making sure that different records balance and that funds leaving your accounts match the actual money spent. Accurate books are essential to companies that raise venture capital, since company executives have to deliver regular, accurate financial reports to investors.
Burn rate needs to be carefully managed in early-stage companies, and founders need to know exactly how much money they have and how much they’ll need to continue operations. Kruze uses automated systems to manage accounts payable, and feeds that data into your accounting system for up-to-date cash management.
Preparing financial statements
Every month, founders, investors, and board members want to see three important financial statements: income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. Kruze has developed automated systems to provide startups with low-cost, highly accurate financial statements and financial reports.
Accurate and affordable bookkeeping for startups is one of Kruze Consulting’s key services. We are 100% focused on providing outsourced bookkeeping services (and related tax and finance services) to seed and venture-funded companies. These companies require specialised bookkeeping and accounting. Our tax preparation team, financial planning & analysis team, and outsourced CFOs are ready to help your startup address the unique strategic situations and challenges you’ll face, including investor updates, board meetings, venture funding rounds, or mergers and acquisitions. We know what venture capital and M&A teams want to see and we deliver it.
Your books will be ready!
If you haven’t been keeping track of your books by the time you raise your first outside money, you need to get your books in order.
Your books need to be in order by the time you raise your first outside money. We generally recommend that startups move away from spreadsheets and into accounting software as soon as possible:
Unlike mature businesses, startups have unique requirements and need financial advice from a knowledgeable and experienced bookkeeper. Automated bookkeeping software can make mistakes, which means your company may not be ready for upcoming venture capital or merger & acquisition due diligence. Kruze Consulting handles the complexity of early stage bookkeeping and provides you the financial data you’ll need. Kruze is a pioneer in cloud accounting, and has been an Intuit Firm of the Future Finalist, an Expensify Emerging Partner of the Year, and a Gusto Gold Partner.
Venture capitalists don’t like it when their portfolio companies’ numbers change, and you don’t want your numbers to be squirrely during an acquisition. Because we are totally focused on startup business models, we understand the nuances required to get the numbers right. And because we are one of the leaders in accounting automation, we’ve seen the mistakes the automated systems make. If you are aiming for your early-stage company to become a unicorn, you need accurate books!
At early-stage companies, decisions are made on tight timeframes. We know that your company is burning cash, and understand how important it is to get the financial data you need to make critical decisions. Kruze’s bookkeepers will work with you to find the financial delivery date that works for your needs.
Startup CEO’s don’t have time to proof their books. Our team conducts multiple reviews on every client’s financials - every month. And because we are familiar with early-stage companies’ business models, we understand the complexities (and importance) of issues like revenue recognition, ARR, capitalized vs. non-capitalized development costs and more.
Our team loves working with early-stage companies, and we’ve got the experience to help you make critical financial decisions. And our advice can grow with your company, from simple bookkeeping to part-time CFOs. We have former VC’s on staff to help prepare you for your next funding round, and former IRS agents on hand to assist you as you think through the tax ramifications of selling your company. And we have one more critical advantages - we care more!
LOW TIME COMMITMENT COMMITMENT
CEOs of early-stage companies have a tremendous number of things to accomplish. Managing the books shouldn’t be one of them! Kruze’s bookkeeping team strives to handle all the minutia so you can focus on growing your business, achieving product-market fit, advancing your R&D, hiring, etc. We understand the pressure of running a hyper-growth business, and want to make your financials as easy as possible.
Early-stage companies are rightfully price sensitive. Kruze offers a variety of pricing plans to help startups afford accurate bookkeeping services. Check out our pricing page to learn more.
Venture capitalists typically don’t want to invest in LLCs and S Corps. If you plan to raise angel and VC capital, you need to incorporate as a Delaware C Corp.
Don’t mingle investor funds or your business expenses with your personal money. Establish a standalone bank account.
Your expense management system should document your expenses for IRS audit purposes, keep founder and business expenses separate, and easily integrate into your accounting system. Learn more about setting up expense tracking.
One of the most important steps to setting up bookkeeping for your startup is to establish an automated payroll system that interfaces with your accounting system. We typically recommend Gusto or Rippling.
You’ll probably need to pay contractors, since most startups rely on them. Your bill payment system needs a solid audit trail, an easy-to-use interface, and integration with your accounting software. We normally recommend Bill.com.
The system we suggest for startups is QuickBooks Online, since it works well for early-stage companies and high-growth small businesses, and interfaces with many other automated systems.
This is a list of every “account” that you’ll use to organize your records of expenses, revenues, and other categories on your general ledger.
Once your bookkeeping systems are set up, you’ll need to do your books. If your startup isn’t complex, the systems recommended above will help you generate the financial records that you need. So let’s look at the basic steps required:
If money is tight, you may not be able to outsource your bookkeeping right away. But you’ll still need to keep accurate financial records. You may also want to look at our free due diligence checklist, so you know what you’ll need to keep track of to raise capital.
First you’ll need to connect QuickBooks to your bank account. Your bank username and password will allow you to get all your financial transactions into QuickBooks, and then you can match transactions in your bank account into what you’ve got in QuickBooks. This is an important step to detect fraud and make sure all your payments are being made correctly.
Record all your transactions into QuickBooks, and make sure all your information is captured accurately. We recommend doing “intra-month reconciliations,” which is reconciling your transactions in both the middle and the end of the month. You’ll cut your month-end workload and get a better picture of your financial position. Remember to reconcile all your numbers with your bank account.
Booking revenue is recognizing the revenue you’re receiving based on contracts you’ve signed. So if you sign a 12-month contract for $1.2 million, you’ll recognize $100,000 each month.
Each month you need to bill your clients by sending invoices and reviewing your receivables. You’ll also need to check how much billing you have outstanding by checking your accounts payable aging.
Running payroll is easy with an automated system. You will want to check to see if your payroll is synced with QuickBooks.
We often see inexperienced or untrained bookkeepers not labeling the vendor names in their clients’ accounting software to save time. A good outsourced bookkeeper will make sure vendor payments are labeled correctly and in the right categories. That lets you run reports by vendor and monitor your spending and overall burn rate.
Doing financials right the first time saves time and makes sure you’re able to produce financials quickly when you’re ready to raise venture capital.
Not working with a skilled outsourced bookkeeper can end up costing founders money:
The best outsourced bookkeeping firms, like Kruze, charge clients fixed monthly fees for their services. The typical Kruze client is charged between $500 to $1500 a month, depending on the complexity of the books, the number of transactions / expenses, tax compliance needs, and the client’s growth. Kruze bookkeepers and controllers support companies that raise later stages of funding (Series C and beyond), and these clients often save hundreds of thousands of dollars in yearly, in-house accounting salaries by using Kruze’s team. See our interactive pricing estimator below to learn more.
Kruze Consulting has controllers, bookkeepers and staff accountants who can serve your financial needs. We currently serve more than 500 startups in dozens of states, and we’ve got got skilled startup bookkeepers in your time zone!
Affordable Startup Bookkeeping and Accounting
Check out Kruze's affordable monthly bookkeeping options.
Monthly Company Expenses
Monthly costs vary based on your needs and company expenses.
Ideal for angel funded companies
Starting at $325 per month
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Starting at $425 per month
Ideal for high-growth, well-funded businesses
A CPA Firm Specialized in Startup Accounting & Finance
Startups are our niche, and our passion. Our clients have raised over $10 billion in venture capital financing. We are one of only a few outsourced accounting firms that specialize in funded early-stage companies - we only offer financial and tax services to fast growing startups in the Seed, Series A, Series B and Series C stages.
The Right Accounting Partner for Your Startup’s Next Round
We know how to de-risk your startup’s next venture capital round. Our team makes sure you are ready to fly through your next VC’s accounting, HR and tax due diligence. And when you use us as your bookkeeper, we set up and keep up-to-date a due diligence folder so you can get that next round of fundraising.
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Our practice is built on best of breed cloud accounting software like QuickBooks, Xero, Netsuite, Gusto, Zenefits, Expensify, Avalara, Brex iand Bill.com. Technology makes us more efficient, saving our clients money and letting us offer higher value services like FP&A modeling, 409A valuation and venture debt consulting. Startups deserve to work with CPAs using modern software.
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Top angel investors and VCs refer Kruze because they trust us to give the right advice. Our clients are portfolio companies of top technology and Silicon Valley investors, including Y-Combinator, Kleiner, Sequoia, Khsola, Launch, Techstars and more. With us, your books and taxes are in order when it’s time to raise another round of venture financing.
What types of startups does Kruze Consulting usually work with?
Kruze Consulting works with a variety of funded Delaware C-Corps, but the majority of our companies have secured Seed, Series A, Series B and Series C. We look to partner with our clients, going beyond the typical outsourced accounting relationship and seeking to provide a higher level advisory role. We feel honored to be a part of making the world a better place, even if it’s one debit and credit at a time.
Accounting, Finance, Taxes, & Payroll all in one solution
Startup CFO services, startup accounting and bookkeeping services, startup annual taxes, expense reports, payroll, benefits: we've got you covered. Our software provides custom tailored dashboards that can be provided weekly or monthly, depending on your preference and plan. Founders are often so busy building their company that they don’t have time to take care of their finances. Traditionally, these companies have had to work with a basket of people to get their work done, including bookkeepers, accountants, AP clerks, CFOs, consultants, and tax accountants. At Kruze Consulting, our founders have one point person, saving time and money.
We're huge fans of Vanessa and the folks at Kruze Consulting. They set up our books, finances, and other operations, and are constantly organized and on top of things. As a startup, you have to focus on your product and customers, and Kruze takes care of everything else (which is a massive sigh of relief). I highly highly highly recommend working with Vanessa and her team.
Co-Founder @ Superhuman
As a startup, moving quickly is a top priority for us and we just needed to get our tax return done. After we uploaded our docs, we got our tax return in 3 days! E-filing was confirmed by Day 4. Super responsive and helpful!
VP, Operations of Calm.com
Avochato has been growing rapidly in the past year – in fact, too quickly for us to keep up with books, taxes, and budgeting for growth. Partnering with Kruze Consulting has been fantastic to manage, track, and analyze our finances while we continue focusing on building our customer base. Kruze’s team knows what startups need.
Alex De Simone
CEO @ Avochato
Everybody, go to Kruze Consulting. They do a great job. I personally can tell you, they've done a great job for our companies, including Calm.com. I'm sure they’ll do a great job for you.
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