Most Small Business Owners Lack Necessary Accounting Skills

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — While the majority of small business owners claim they are confident about managing their finances, only 45% can define basic accounting principles.

A survey conducted by Staples, the office supplier, revealed that 94% of small business owners said they can manage their finances, yet less than half can define the basic accounting principles such as "accounts receivable" and "accounts payable."

Another shocking revelation from them is that 19% of respondents claim that they have saved emergency cash at some point in strange places, including a desk drawer or 7% have stashed money in the car.

"A firm understanding of finances and business performance is crucial for a small business to be successful," said Steve Strauss, president of and a small business owner for 20 years. "Managing finances is a challenging process, and many business owners are often unaware of the tools and resources available that can help them make smart decisions and ultimately, improve their bottom line."

Before starting their own business, 40% of small business owners said they wish they were more knowledgeable about management. In the survey, 23% admitted to bouncing a check in the past year.

These survey results are in line with the research conducted by Unleash, a San Jose-based software company focused on small business owners, said Insaaf Mohideen, Unleash's CEO and founder. Three out of four small businesses fail in under five years primarily due to accounts receivable, fraud and waste, he said.

"Small business owners are very passionate about their businesses and they would much rather spend their time growing their business, meeting customers or building products," Mohideen said. "Accounting, finance and risk management are elements that are furthest from their minds."

The survey also revealed that 28% of owners lose sleep over cash flow while 48% will pay others before paying themselves.

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