Ainsworth & Co, Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors.

What do I need to record ?

Basic Business Records


The business owner needs to keep financial records for quite a few good reasons.

The main and best reason is to keep track of Profit (or Loss, which is very important.

It is also critical to know how much you owe and how much you are owed.

It is also a legal requirement keep records, especially for HMRC.

Other people who are interested will be anyone who has lent money to the business, especially a bank.

It is possible for a small business to keep good records on a spreadsheet. We have a free spreadsheet for clients.

Once a business begins to grow it becomes more difficult for a spreadsheet to cope and we recommend recognized accounting software like QuickBooks.


We recommend that you record the following as a minimum:

For each transaction (eg. sale or purchase) you should record:

• Amount £ (and other currency)
VAT £ (if you are VAT registered)
• Name of other business or people as appropriate (eg. customer or supplier)
• Date of transaction (eg. invoice date and later payment date)
• Other person's reference if appropriate
• Internal reference
• Other notes

The following are typical transactions which should be recorded:

• Sales
• Money received from Sales
• Purchases & Expenses
• Payments for Purchases and Expenses
• Capital purchases
Payroll/PAYE
• Loans and repayments
• Dividends
• Owner's drawings


Please contact us if you need more help.


HMRC Guidance
Record keeping (self-employed)

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