I was chatting with my accountant the other day and he mentioned something that surprised me. He said he works with over 100 small business owners and around 95 percent of them have little interest in or understanding of accounting practices. Most of them just focus on the money in their bank account and they have no idea whether their business is profitable. In these challenging economic times, I thought this was a recipe for disaster. I am sure there are many converters who are in the same boat, so here is a review of accounting blogs that can help you gain a better understanding of your business finances.
The Accounting Coach (http://blog.accountingcoach.com/)
AccountingCoach.com is a free online resource for anyone wanting to learn about US accounting practices and terms. Developed by Harold Averkamp, a university lecturer, business consultant and CPA, the site has thousands of pages of information. Complex terminology is explained in easy to understand layman's terms. The blog part is a Q&A section. Here are a couple of recent queries: "Does a dividend reduce profit?" and "How do you calculate accrued vacation pay?" The questions can get much more complex than these, but all are answered in simple terms, often with examples cited. AccountingCoach.com may well be the largest free accounting resource anywhere, and by reading this blog you will gain an understanding of many business accounting challenges.
The Exuberant Accountant (http://www.exuberantaccountant.com/)
Scott Heintzelman is the exuberant accountant. He is a CPA working at the Pennsylvania accounting firm of McKonly & Asbury. He enjoys advising business owners on financial matters, and as you can infer from the blog's name, Scott is quite an upbeat guy. He focuses on several areas: small family businesses, fraud prevention, leadership, and management. He is not just a numbers guy, so you won't read much about accounting theory or debits and credits here. He likes to share stories from clients that are doing well, where there is a lesson that could be applied to other businesses. You can read some excellent down-to-earth, practical business advice on this blog.
The Accounting Onion (http://accountingonion.typepad.com/)
Tom Selling is a professor emeritus at Thunderbird, one of the top business schools in the world, and he has a PhD in accounting from Ohio State University. He is one of the leading academics in the accounting profession and his blog is considered a must read for students of finance and accounting, not to mention business journalists. His particular area of interest is financial reporting and with all the financial shenanigans of recent times, he has had a lot to write about. This blog is certainly not for the accounting beginner, as Selling's posts provide in depth analysis of complex issues. He doesn't mince words when it comes to his criticism of the financial regulation and lack of accounting standards that have lead to the current economic crisis. Best of all, he provides his own ideas on how to fix the problems that still exist in financial reporting today.
SME Plus (http://smeplus.mercerhole.co.uk/)
Mercer & Hole is a Chartered Accounting firm in the United Kingdom and SME Plus is the name of its blog. SME stands for small and medium enterprises, which is the focus for this accounting practice. Many of the firm's staff accountants write for the blog, which means a steady stream of blog posts, usually one a day. While this blog is definitely focused on issues pertaining to the UK, such as the many posts that deal with the HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs), some posts are general topics that could apply to any business in the world. But if you are based in the UK and you want to read about accounting and tax issues that will impact your business, this blog is a great one to read.
Don't Mess With Taxes (http://www.dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/)
You can't really discuss accounting without talking about taxes, one of the two absolute certainties in life. Don't Mess With Taxes is the blog of writer Kay Bell, a native Texan. She writes for US taxpayers with the goal of helping everyone reduce their taxes. In fact, she has just published a book titled The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes. It helps that she is a professional writer as she is able to take mundane topics and make them readable and interesting. This site is not just about business tax; Bell focuses on cutting personal taxes as well.
Peter Renton is the founder of Lightning Labels, Inc. an all-digital label printer in Denver, CO, USA. He is also the co-author of the company's blog at blog.lightninglabels.com.