Tags: accounting checklist

Small Business Accounting Checklist

In order for small businesses to be successful and sustainable, it is crucial to start making sure that you have accounting responsibilities taken care of in advance. This includes legal and financing activities, planning, and many housekeeping tasks, from registering business to bookkeeping to projecting cash-flow and to paying taxes. While you may not need to have an accounting degree to accomplish these tasks, the more you understand about these vital financial components to small business operation, the greater your business will succeed.

BSB receives many inquiries throughout the year from small-business owners and have compiled a checklist to address some of the most common questions that we receive from clients. These checklists are composed of the main accounting requirements a new small business owner needs to complete before their business can launch. To learn more about any of these items on the checklist, please consult your accountant.


  • Research business name options and check trademark issues.
  • Determine business entity type.
  • Decide on calendar year vs. fiscal year reporting.
  • Work with an attorney to produce organizational documents.
  • Register business entity with state corporation commission.
  • Apply for Federal tax ID#.
  • Register for a business license (DC, MD, VA by county).
  • Open business bank account with local bank.
  • Discuss with your banker potential line-of-credit options.
  • Establish accounting system – online or desktop.
  • Get business insurance (D&O, liability, property)
  • Review personal and employee insurance options (disability, health, life).



  • Register account with state tax authority for withholding and unemployment taxes.
  • Get employment forms for all employees – W-9, I-9, other.
  • Set up employment files separate from other documents.
  • Sign up for online tax payment account with IRS and state(s).



  • Get W-9 form from all vendors, before payment.
  • Register business entity with other states in which you are doing business; obtain license if required.
  • Register for sales tax account.


Download a printable copy  HERE