Entrepreneurs contribute greatly to our nation’s economic growth and job availability. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) notes that 99.7% of employer firms are comprised of small businesses. However, new business owners often have a difficult time gaining their financial footing when they first launch a new venture. Fortunately, government offices, nonprofits and business incubators in the U.S. provide small business owners with professional training opportunities, accounting guides and seed funding possibilities.
Having fundamental accounting skills, such as navigating popular bookkeeping software and tracking income for future tax filings, can pave the way to business success. The following resources give you an introduction to accounting and can help you identify community-based support organizations, all contributing towards your small business success.
U.S. Small Business Administration
- Filing and Paying Taxes: General articles that can help individuals and organizations determine whether activity is for a business or hobby, obtain tax ID numbers and understand tax responsibilities for federal and state filings. Consider adding this to your accounting bookmarks as a reliable reference for federal employment law and regulations.
- Introduction to Accounting: A 30-minute primer course designed by the SBA’s Small Business Training Network to help new business owners become acquainted with accounting basics, including bookkeeping, general ledgers, balance sheets and cash flow statements.
- Find your SBA State Office: Local district offices provide businesses with several complementary services, including advising, loan program information, development consulting and support for businesses run by women and minorities. These offices are excellent for business owners who are looking for in-person, community-based assistance.
- Small Business and Self-Employment Tax Center: A centralized directory of business forms and resource documents like EIN applications, excise tax forms, tax provision paperwork and Spanish-language information.
- IRS Video Portal: New business owners who prefer to learn with visual material can get a grasp on the basics through this extensive virtual workshop and video library. Video topics cover expenses, retirement funds, disaster information and IRS liens.
- State Taxation Websites: A directory of taxation and small business resources published by state governments.
- Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council: The SBE Council advocates for policies that serve the interests of small business owners and provide continued education opportunities. Members gain access to weekly newsletters and research reports. Membership dues start at $50 a year for startups.
- SCORE Counselors to America’s Small Business: The SBA has partnered with this national nonprofit organization to provide mentorships and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. In addition to online workshops, podcasts and tutorials, SCORE also hosts local workshops in cities across the United States. Entrepreneurs are invited to volunteer for SCORE as a networking and personal development opportunity.
- United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship: USASBE is an academic society devoted to entrepreneurial public policy advocacy, education and research advancement. Current students and/or entrepreneurs are encouraged to explore membership benefits, such as access to professional networking opportunities and research publications. Annual membership dues start at $75 for current students.
- National Association of Women Business Owners: NAWBO is comprised of over 5,000 women who own businesses in the United States. National business conferences feature speakers like Olympian and author Bonnie St. John and interior designer Leigh Anne Tuohy. Member benefits include affiliate discounts and access to networking events. Membership dues vary across state chapters.
- National Business Incubator Association: This is an advocacy collective that welcomes entrepreneurs and academics worldwide. Members can choose from eight full-day workshops at the annual NBIA conference, take advantage of special discounts and add their profiles to a members-only networking directory online. Annual membership dues start at $119 for individual students.
- Small Business Majority: This advocacy initiative hosts community events and webinars to help small business owners take advantage of funding opportunities, training and retirement planning. Take a look at the State Activity map to find a local event and office near you.
- 10,000 Small Businesses: Selected applicants can get free entrepreneurial training and capital funding opportunities from Goldman Sachs. Participating companies have experienced a 64% increase in revenue and a 45% increase in new jobs after completing this growth and support program.
- Summer@Highland: Entrepreneurs who are current students can apply for this exciting incubator opportunity that supports new businesses with a $20,000 grant, office space and mentoring. Graduates of this program have studied at a diverse range of colleges and universities, and they have founded companies like CloudFlare, Anchovilabs and Wildfire.
- Fledge: This business incubator is dedicated to connecting investors and mentors with owners of “conscious companies” ― organizations that focus on the advancement of health, environment protection or sustainability. Entrepreneurs can apply to two free program opportunities: a tuition-free incubator experience hosted in global cities or a $20,000 grant and boot camp opportunity hosted in Seattle.
- EvoNexus: This pro-bono, tech-oriented startup accelerator and incubator provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to gain professional training, develop sound business pitches and earn funding. In-person events are hosted in San Diego or Irvine, California.
Small Business Media and News
- Startup Professionals Musings: Run by Martin Zwilling, CEO of Startup Professionals, INC. this blog offers advice and assistance on all aspects of small business ownership from one of the most highly regarded professionals in the entrepreneurial community.
- Bplans Blog: The Latest on Starting and Growing a Business: Consisting entirely of guest authors, this blog gives fresh faced small business owners (and business owners to be) an array of takes on how to successfully launch and grow a business.
- The Barefoot Accountant on Accounting, QuickBooks, Taxes, Money, and Politics: Authored by CPA William Brighenti, this blog offers a no frills, tongue-in-cheek perspective on modern accounting issues facing all businesses, large and small. His writing provides a detailed and in-depth look at the accounting and financial side of business operations as it relates to current developments.
- Small Biz Survival: The Small Town and Rural Business Resource: Founded by small town entrepreneur Becky McCray, this blog focuses on the challenges of building and maintaining a business in more sparsely populated areas. With an emphasis on social media marketing, the publication discusses how to succeed in an economy that often favors large corporations.
Online Journals and News
- Forbes Entrepreneurs: This news feed compiles the latest inspiring stories of up-and-coming business owners, management tactics, business policy updates and entrepreneurial legal concerns.
- Entrepreneur – Accounting: Get a tighter grasp on your company’s funds and taxes by following this advice and news feed managed by an international online media outlet.
- National Federation of Independent Business – Finance and Accounting: NFIB publishes small business primer resources and guides on crowd funding, bookkeeping, payroll and tax regulations.
- Bloomberg Small Business: The publishing minds behind BusinessWeek collect tips and breaking news stories that impact entrepreneurs at the small business and franchise levels.
- Small Business Labs: This data-driven publication run by Emergent Research highlights survey trends and experiences as reported by small business owners.
Orgs & Businesses
- @natlmainstreet: National Main Street strives to create localized hubs of business revitalization by helping commerce centers grow in cities and neighborhoods worldwide. This Twitter account tracks their latest events, like conferences and education opportunities.
- @bizdistricts: Biz Districts serves as a global awareness hub for localized business districts of various sizes. They regularly post news about available empty storefronts and pop-up opportunities for marketing visibility.
- @SaveLocalBiz: Save Local Businesses is an advocacy coalition dedicated to monitoring the National Labor Relations Board and promoting legislation that helps American entrepreneurs.
- @NewLocalization: Economist Justin Golbabai and CPA Paula Golbabai regularly tweet about localized community building and commerce growth tactics.
- @TwitterSmallBiz: Twitter has jumped on board to serve as an aggregator of breaking news topics relevant to small business owners.
- @NinaKaufman: Lawyer and one of Forbes’ Top 30 Women Entrepreneurs who posts about small business law, productivity and client management.
- @DeniseOBerry: Author Denise O’Berry spurs entrepreneurs to create a plan of attack before they face the challenges of running a business. Her Twitter account is devoted to productivity tips and foundational preparation.
- @StartOnPurpose: Startup and capital funding advisor Susan Schreter is the author of Start On Purpose: Everything You Need to Know and Do to Startup with Strength. Her Twitter account includes many examples of tech startup success stories.
- @FSonnenberg: Frank Sonnenberg has been named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders by Trust Across America. He is the author of Follow Your Conscience, a self-help guide to creating personalized small business practices.
- @tjmccue: TJ McCue is a 3D design and printing expert who writes for Forbes and Harvard Business Review. Keep track of tech startup news and 3D developments through his Twitter feed.
Practical Accounting Resources
- Financial Reporting Framework for Small- and Medium-Sized Entities: The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has published a free PDF guide for organizations that won’t be using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) due to their size or financial reporting circumstances.
- Guide to Practice Management for Small- and Medium-Sized Practices: This International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) guide helps business owners learn about strategic planning, risk management and building a strong staff.
- Accounting 101 for Tech Startups: Wave, an invoicing and accounting software company, has published a guide devoted to basic accounting tasks and terminology.
- Small Business Accounting Checklist: Intuit, the software company behind the popular QuickBooks titles, has published a 21-point checklist for small business owners and accountants. Tasks are organized by daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual timeframes.
- Record Keeping for Small Businesses: Take a look at the SBA’s general guidelines and recommendations for complying with the law, preparing for tax filings, tracking information and creating financial strategy.
- Professional Association of Small Business Accountants: Accountants who specialize in small business needs connect with entrepreneurs through the PASBA Find an Accountant database, which is searchable by state or zip code. All accountants listed here have personal experience as small business owners and are well versed in accounting areas such as payroll processing, succession plans, growth planning and ledger reporting.
- CPAVerify: This centralized database helps you track down the credentials of any CPA or accounting firm without having to search individual state licensure websites. CPA listings include the full name of the accountant, their jurisdiction, license number, license issue data and any reported disciplinary actions.
- CPAs with Specialty Credentials: AICPA helps connect business owners with accountants with additional credentials, such as Accredited Business Valuation (ABV), Personal Finance Specialist (PFS) or Certified Information Technology Professionals (CITP). Each credential is associated with its own unique database.