Home audit or how to start accounting finance
In this article I will talk about my experience in financial accounting and what has changed in my life with its appearance.
In 2010, when changing the city of residence, I decided to start recording my cash expenses. I did not begin to store receipts from stores or write down my expenses in a notebook; I wanted to store data electronically. At that time, phones were still push-button, mobile applications did not yet have such popularity as now. After browsing the Internet, I was surprised to find that the choice of programs for keeping finances is not so great, and I could not find a program suitable for myself, so I decided to write my own. At first I took into account only expenses, then I began to record income, then there was an account of debts, vacations, business trips.
Where to begin?
- It is necessary to determine the goal.
Decide why you need financial accounting? Understand where the money goes, become more financially competent, optimize your expenses, save up for a car / apartment or something else.
- Create several accounts in the program.
Enter all your money accounts (wallets) into the program: cash, bank cards, credit cards, deposits, electronic wallets and more. When recording income and expenses, indicate which account it relates to.
- Types of income / expenses.
It is necessary to determine the types of income and types of expenses. There is no need to spare time, you need to think in sufficient detail about the types of income and expenses that are relevant to you. I do not recommend using the standard types that existing programs offer. If it is interesting, I will write what types of income / expenses I used at the beginning of financial accounting and which I use now.
- Family accounting.
If you have a husband or wife, it is advisable that both of you keep records of finances. But if your soulmate is categorically against it, then do not strongly insist and bring to quarrels. In one article I read that it is ideal to keep records in one program for uniting the family. I believe that this is not so important, from my own experience I will say that my wife and I kept records of finances separately. The program was the same, but each had different accounts, types of income and expenses. I created an expense in the program, transferred money to my wife, my wife created income in the program. I note that the wife was enthusiastic about the idea of financial accounting.
We start to enter data
Try to spend 2-3 minutes every day to add income and expenses to the program. If there was a transfer of funds between accounts (for example, you withdraw money from an ATM), make a transfer between accounts. Do not save unrecorded data, otherwise there will be a high probability of forgetting something. From my own experience, I note that it is desirable to pay as little as possible in cash, because entering data from an Internet bank statement is always easier, the probability of error is minimized. Do not discard checks until data is entered into the program. If it is not possible to enter data for several days, write in an electronic notebook. As an option, you can carry a program for accounting for finance with you on a flash drive.
Be sure to periodically back up the database. If possible, set up automatic backups. I specially configured in the program that before each start, a backup copy of the latest version of the database was first created.
If you need to hide your finances from prying eyes, set a password for the program.
What you need to analyze
- Over a period.
Analyze the total values of your income and expenses by week / month / year.
- By type.
Analyze income and expenses by type. What type of expenses is the most expensive and how many percent does it take from total expenses. From my own experience and according to the recommendations of specialists, I’ll say that housing costs (mortgages, rental housing, utility bills) should not exceed 30% of monthly expenses.
- According to the bills.
Analyze as a percentage your income and expenses by accounts.
Analyze the dynamics of the day changes in your balance ( all income minus all expenses for a particular day). Such information over a long period of time will make it clear in which month you were aground, and in which month you managed to earn extra money. In my program, I made it possible to look at the balance chart for each account.
What gives financial accounting
- Where does the money go?
Allows you to immediately see where and how much money is spent. Try to keep records for at least a month and, I assure you, you will be very surprised when you analyze the data.
- The balance is always in sight.
You can always see the available balance on each account and see the total balance.
From my own experience I will say that there were cases when I timely discovered that I had not paid enough for a month, the accountant was mistaken in calculating the number of hours worked. There was a case when I immediately noticed that when applying for a loan, extra money was written off, and it turned out to be registered insurance.
A few rules of reasonable economy
- Avoid impulsive shopping.
Ideally, in principle, unplanned purchases should be minimized. Try with every unplanned purchase, especially if it is quite expensive, ask yourself the question: " Do I really need this? "
- Do not always buy in one place.
Try to buy in different stores, compare prices, buy some goods online.
- Plan your vacation in advance.
- Always plan your expenses.
After reviewing the recently popular finance software for desktops today, I never saw a decent option. I was surprised that the programs that I considered back in 2010 remained in the same form. Some applications were extremely slow, some were very difficult to learn, one application generally crashed with errors. Even Steve Jobs talked about mobile devices:
The program should be intuitive, any menu can be accessed with a minimum number of clicks.I spent a lot of time optimizing and speeding up my program.
I note that there appeared software products with bookkeeping on the Internet through a browser, and there appeared types of expenses in Internet banks. Most pleased with mobile applications, there is a very large selection, convenient beautiful interface, there are free versions. But in the modern world, phones do not live long and the entered data is easy to lose, so I still trust the desktop version more, otherwise I would hardly be able to collect data for 7.5 years.