Not an Accountant - Proper Workflow?

I’ve recently been laid off from the oil & gas industry and am doing some remodeling jobs to pass the time until I’m gainfully employed again. I know enough to know I need to keep track of the business finances, but I don’t know enough to know the correct way to go about it. I’ve been using a spreadsheet but I think that’s quickly going to get unwieldy.

My workflow is: Meet the customer, review the job, create an estimate, sign the contract, locate & hire subcontractors, manage the job. I typically collect a deposit at contract signing and several progress payments throughout the remainder of the job. When I get a check, I deposit it into a business checking account that is only used for business transactions.

My question is two-fold: First, how should I go about entering the existing transactions (there’s only a dozen or so) to bring the books current? And second, what workflow should I use in the future to make the bookkeeping simple & accurate? (By workflow I mean, creating customers, tracking estimates, turning estimates into invoices, tracking payments and applying them to invoices, etc.)

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Your question is far too multi-faceted for effective resolution through the forum. Read through all the guides first. Watch the videos under Partners. Create a test business and experiment. Then, if you have specific questions, ask them.

The best piece of advice that I can give you is to hire an accountants time for one hour and get him to show you how to setup your books correctly and how to do things step by step. Your question is just not possible to answer properly in a forum. Accountants don’t cost that much money for an hours session. If you want to do it properly get an accountant to get it right from day one.

I would also second what @Tut said. Create a test business and experiment with the software. Its the best way to learn how to use the software and become familiar with accounting.