This really depends on your business, and the amount of time and effort you can devote to learning about bookkeeping and accounting.
A CPA firm can help you with your accounting, though it will be expensive. You will need to rely on the CPA for help with some of your business accounting, but you will be able to do much of the work yourself. Most good CPA’s actually want you to do some of your own work, and will even train you to do it in order to keep the bill manageable (and keep you as a client).
In general, you’ll need to have the CPA help with your taxes and with tax planning. CPA’s can often actually save you money, since they will find tax deductions that you will miss and they will help you conduct your business in a way that minimizes your tax bill.
If you have employees, your CPA can prepare payroll tax returns and keep the payroll records. You can do this on your own, but you’ll need to know a good deal about the rules and regulations and filing requirements in order to avoid costly penalties. And that’s not just at the federal level. If you live in the US, your state will also have its own payroll rules and regulations.
In addition to tax and payroll, you will need to record your daily transactions in the accounting system. This is the work that you will be most able to do for yourself, especially when a computerized accounting program is used. The necessary knowledge can be obtained by clicking the Basic Bookkeeping link at the top of any page and reading the tutorials. The QuickBooks tutorial on this site will give you a basic understanding of the way an accounting program works, and because it uses the online edition of QuickBooks, you won’t even have to install any software to complete it!
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