Ecommerce Accounting: The Full Guide 2023

accounting for ecommerce

Think of these as the owner’s manual for your business—your financial statements and reports represent everything you need to know about the workings of your company, all compiled in one place. Ecommerce accounting is the practice of recording, organizing, and managing all of the financial data and transactions relevant to the operation of an ecommerce company. Think of it as a subset of small business accounting that is specifically set up to handle the unique needs of an ecommerce provider.

  • Develop an ecommerce platform that meets customer needs, and test and launch the site.
  • Often, as an e-commerce business, you won’t need to use all the sub-accounts and/or you will need to add more.
  • Simplify your close processes with financial close automation software that work to solve any problem, no matter how complex.
  • These reports let you identify and explain any discrepancies between budgetary items and accounts.
  • This method of cash accounting is commonly used by small businesses, particularly those with straightforward operations.

Accounting for e-commerce may not be the most attractive part of growing your biz, but it’s a necessity. However, with a clear understanding of your business’s financial needs, the right tools, and possibly the help of a professional ecommerce accountant, these challenges can be effectively managed. Cash basis accounting is a straightforward method where you record revenue when cash is received, and expenses when they are paid. This method is simple and gives a clear picture of how much cash your business has at any given time.

Step 2. Track Sales and Expenses for your ecommerce business

Having real-time reports, thorough data analysis, and comprehensive financial forecasting is an essential component of your overall success. Our team of financial experts can help you reach your maximum potential. If you find it’s eating up too much of your time, you might want to consider automating it with a service like TaxJar. You can create your own financial statements, or use accounting software to generate them automatically (if your books are up to date). If you’re not up for doing it yourself, your accountant or your Bench bookkeeper can prepare your financials. You can manually import that information by copying it from your online bank account.

Net sales reflect your total sales revenue after subtracting returns, discounts, and allowances, which are discounts made for defective merchandise that customers keep. E-commerce business owners have a degree of flexibility not afforded those with physical storefronts. More appealing than avoiding rent on a storefront, being able to fulfill orders from home while wearing sweatpants would lead me to opt for an e-commerce model.

Enter and categorize your transactions

If your in-house bookkeeper tries to perform accounting responsibilities while you’re in growth mode, details that grow into larger issues quickly get lost in the shuffle. As you can see, growing as an eCommerce business is exciting, but it comes with extensive responsibilities. If you don’t have the correct accounting systems in place, growth can quickly turn into a nightmare.

  • You can also go through our Guided setup method where you can book a free 30-minute video call with one of our experts.
  • Yes, GST (Goods and Services Tax) is applicable for e-commerce transactions in many countries, including Canada and Australia.
  • Shipping to customers must be accounted for separately, which we’ll explore next.
  • Manually logging sales data in an accounting system is both time-consuming and inefficient, especially when your online shop has a sizable transaction volume.
  • Improperly tracked, one return can throw off your sales, inventory, expenses, forecasting, and sales tax records all at once.
  • As you fulfill orders, you update your inventory levels and keep an eye on your reorder point to ensure that you don’t run out of stock.
  • On top of that, investors and creditors will want to see detailed accounts before they put money into your business.

Another key difference between traditional and e commerce accounting is the volume of transactions. These methods use
double-entry accounting, where each transaction must have A Guide to Nonprofit Accounting for Non-Accountants at least two general ledger accounts assigned, which balance and offset each other. When you work with LedgerGurus, you aren’t just getting an accountant or bookkeeper.


With the high volume of transactions and the need for real-time accuracy, manual data entry isn’t a viable option. Finally, revenue recognition in ecommerce accounting can be complex, especially for businesses selling digital goods or services, or using subscription models. Accounting for small ecommerce business involves dealing with complex data.

What is the role of accounting in e-commerce?

Financial Management: Accounting helps e-commerce businesses monitor their revenue, expenses, and cash flow. By analyzing financial statements and reports, entrepreneurs can identify trends, assess profitability, and make informed decisions to optimize their operations.

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