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Protect Your Accounting Data Two Ways

Jan 09, 2009

Today's guest blogger is Becky McCray from Small Biz Survival. Her bio follows her post!


6a010534a53f1d970b010536c17d17970c-800wi.jpg From Becky McCray...

As the last invoices and statements come in and you finish up your 2008 accounting, it's time to backup your accounting records. Here are two important ways you protect your data.


1. Take a backup offsite

Yes, offsite can include online. The goal is to be sure you don't keep all the copies of your accounting data in the same building. In the event of a disaster, you will be glad you went offsite.


2. Run your year-end reports on paper.

Why paper? Because you need to keep data up to 10 years. Will you still be able to open those zipped backup files in 10 years? Will you still have the same accounting software? Probably not. Paper is your best data insurance over the long term. Store these off-site as well.


Here are the three types of reports you want to get on paper, along with the likely report titles:

  • Your basic financial position: Profit and Loss, and Balance Sheet
  • Detail of every transaction: Transaction Detail by Account
  • Important payroll tax totals: Employee Earnings Summary


The basic financial and detail reports document your company's year. The detail of every transaction for the entire year is going to take some time, so you may want to print it month by month, rather than all year at once. The payroll tax reports protect you in case an employee ever questions withholding, perhaps even years after the fact.


I honestly hope you'll never need your backups. But you'll feel better once you get them done.

Becky McCray is a small town entrepreneur. She writes about small business and rural issues, based on her own successes and failures. She is the co-owner of a small town retail liquor store and small cattle ranch. As a consultant, she helps small businesses to maintain their web presence and helps rural nonprofits and governments with grant writing and project management.

Category: Accounting

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