You don't have to be a programmer to operate a computer, and you needn't be an accountant to keep good financial records--not with the Big E-Z Bookkeeping System (Big E-Z Bookkeeping Co., $45, 800-650-3279). Designed for numbers-shy business owners, the handbook provides a few pages of simple instructions and requires you to fill out only four clearly labeled forms. The 100-page book includes three optional forms (which the skittish may ignore), examples of completed forms and an envelope for receipts.
"It's an effortless tool that will keep your business on track for an entire year," promises Michelle Carley, president of Big E-Z Bookkeeping Co., and a former corporate controller and veteran bookkeeper. Her tips:
1. Keep daily records and monitor them to detect and correct problems immediately.
2. Keep an audit trail--a record, in numeric order, of all invoices and checks (including voided checks).
3. To save time reconciling, open a business checking account with month-end cutoff dates for statements.