When entrepreneurs start making money for the first time with their online businesses, the last thing they want to do is worry about bookkeeping. After all, they’re enjoying the high of finally generating revenue, so why ruin it with thoughts of balance sheets and income tax? It’s such a buzz kill!

If you’re an online entrepreneur and your business is starting to generate revenue, it’s really important that you get your finances in order as soon as you can. Good bookkeeping practices are the foundation to accomplishing this. It might not be as sexy as managing your sales funnel or running your social media campaigns, but establishing good financial practices in your online business can mean the difference between thriving and simply getting by.

If bookkeeping is a new concept to you, or you’ve never really understand the full benefit to having good bookkeeping practices in your business, the five reasons we’ve shared below should make it very clear why bookkeeping can make running your business less stressful and provide some real benefit.

1) You shouldn’t be spending your time doing bookkeeping

As an online business owner, there is enough work to do as it is, so why add bookkeeping to your list? The best thing you can be doing for your business, no matter what stage you’re at, is focusing on driving revenue, which is why reconciling your bank accounts every month is hardly the best use of your time. Plus, unless you have previous experience doing bookkeeping, you’re probably making mistakes that will need to be fixed by your accountant, which means more billable hours they’ll ding you for when tax time comes around.

2) Monthly bookkeeping makes your accountant bill cheaper at the end of the year

Hiring a bookkeeper is actually going to make your accounting bill at the end of the year cheaper. By working with a bookkeeper every month, your finances are organized and ready to go for your accountant when it comes time to file your tax return. That means he or she doesn’t have to round up all your bank statements or sift through your homemade spreadsheet to try and figure out how much your business made. Additionally, when a bookkeeper is maintaining your books throughout the year, the data will be much more organized and accurate. Having your accountant try to get everything done right at the last minute (especially when they’re trying to do the same things for numerous other businesses at the same time) leaves a lot of room for mistakes and missed tax write-offs.

3) It’s easier to estimate your taxes during the year

Does the thought of your tax bill keep you up at night? If you’re one of the many entrepreneurs who stress about what they will owe the government at the end of the year, it’s because you don’t have accurate financial data for your business! When a competent bookkeeper reconciles your accounts every month, it becomes ridiculously easy to look up how much profit your business has made. With that kind of visibility, estimating your tax bill is something you can keep track of month-by-month instead of waiting until the very end of the year.

4) Real financial data helps you make better decisions for your business

A lot of online entrepreneurs think that bookkeeping is just for tax purposes. This is a perception we’re trying to change at Evolved Finance, because although bookkeeping is definitely a way to keep yourself out of trouble with the IRS, it’s also the most valuable tool for monitoring the health of your business so you can make better strategic decisions. When you’re able to clearly see how much revenue you generate every month, and exactly how you’re spending your money, it becomes obvious where potential problems and opportunities lie. If you wait until the end of the year to have your accountant compile all of your financial data, you’re missing out on an opportunity to utilize valuable information that can help you make smarter and more informed decisions.

5) You’ll be better prepared for an audit

The “a” word is any business owner’s worst nightmare, but it really doesn’t have to be. The IRS performs audits on business owners and corporate entities all over the country every year (around 1-1.5 million audits), and if you’re one of the unlucky chosen, there is really no reason to stress if you have good bookkeeping practices. When your books are clean, organized and properly maintained, it becomes far less grueling and painful for the IRS to see the state of your business and make sure you are not underreporting your income or overstating your expenses. Any bookkeeper worth their salt is going to have organized financial data on your business that will show the IRS that you’re playing by the rules.

Remember, the need for a bookkeeper is good! It means your business is making money, and that’s a beautiful thing! Don’t wait until your finances are a mess or the IRS is knocking at your door. You’ll not only sleep better knowing tax time will be dramatically less stressful, but you’ll start thinking like the CEO you need to become in order to make your business more stable and reliable.