"Keeping The Books: Basic Record-Keeping and Accounting For The Small Business" by Linda Pinson and Jerry Jinnett is an excellent introduction to record-keeping and accounting for small business owners.
The book does a solid job introducing record-keeping. It discusses the:
Petty Cash Record
Fixed Asset Log
Independent Contractor Record
Payroll Records (though the authors recommend you hire a payroll firm to handle your payroll due to the government's extreme demands for payroll records)
Travel Expense Records
Sample forms of all of the above are given and explained, as well as blank forms the authors state you can copy and use for your business. Today most of us would put such records on a computer, but we should still understand the process, the authors point out.
"Keeping The Books" is especially good, as it discusses, not only single-entry accounting, but also gives a decent introduction to double-entry accounting. The brief explanation, though very good, is not as good as taking an introductory class in double-entry bookkeeping. Taking a basic bookkeeping class is one of the best things a new business owner can do.
For example, "Keeping The Books" casually mentions there are two sides to any business transaction and the two sides are recorded as debits and credits. Then it lists the rules for how revenue, expense, asset, liability, and equity accounts are affected by debits and credits. (Debit increases the value in an asset account; a debit decreases the value of an equity or liability account, etc.)
Debits are entered on the left-hand side of the column and credits are entered on the right hand side. But, it is never explicitly stated that the one giving in the transaction is the credit(or) and the one receiving in the transaction is the debit(or). A simple rule like that makes understanding double-entry accounting much easier.
For example, if you sell one hour of your service, Service Revenue is the giver (so it's credited) and cash is the receiver (so cash is debited) and increased. Many people new to accounting benefit from having that point *explicitly* mentioned, though some might say it is obvious.
But, overall, the introduction to double-entry accounting is solid, extremely readable and not overly long. Adjusting the entries at the end of an accounting period is also discussed.
"Keeping The Books" goes into basic financial statements--balance sheet, income statement (or profit and loss statement), projected cash flow statement. These topics are very well-explained and will benefit the small business owner.
Pinson and Jinnett show how to put all the statements on a comparative basis to examine percentage value changes. For example, on the income statement, let sales' revenue be 100% and, then, examine all costs and expenses (and hopefully profit!) as a percentage of sales. This helps you understand your business better and make better business decisions.
Especially good is the discussion about projecting cash flow on a month-by-month basis. This is something too few business owners do. Break-even analysis is also briefly mentioned.
A excellent chapter written by Marilyn Bartlett, C.P.A., discusses basic financial statement analysis and how it helps you understand and improve your business. Incidentally, this chapter would be good reading for someone new to investing who wants a good introductory explanation of why and how analysts break down financial statements.
Finally, "Keeping The Books" mentions the basic tax forms your business will need. Though there is no discussion about actually filling out the forms. Useful tax calendars tell you when to send in what form to which agency. But, you can get that directly from the IRS.
Overall, this is a great book for new business owners to learn basic record-keeping and accounting. The book is extremely readable and covers extremely important topics for the new business owner to understand. Review by Peter Hupalo, author of "Thinking Like An Entrepreneur"