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Bookkeeping: The Backbone of Your eCommerce Business Business

June 09, 20235 min read

As an e-commerce seller, you understand the importance of keeping your online store up and running smoothly. But are you paying attention to the financial health of your business? Bookkeeping is the backbone of any successful e-commerce operation, yet it's a task that often gets overlooked or put on the back burner.

At Upscale Bookkeeping, we know that accounting and bookkeeping may not be your passion - that's where we come in. Our team of experts is here to take these tasks off your hands so you can focus on what you do best: growing your business. But even if you're not ready to outsource your bookkeeping just yet, it's important to understand the role it plays in the success of your business.

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What is Bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is the process of recording, storing, and retrieving financial transactions for a business. These transactions may include purchases, sales, receipts, and payments. Bookkeeping allows businesses to keep track of their finances and provides a clear picture of their financial health.

By keeping accurate records of your financial transactions, you can:

  • Monitor your cash flow and maintain a healthy balance of income and expenses

  • Prepare financial statements and reports to analyze your business's performance

  • Track your inventory and cost of goods sold (COGS)

  • Keep up with regulatory and tax filing requirements

Why is Bookkeeping Important for E-commerce Sellers?

As an e-commerce seller, your business operates entirely online - but that doesn't mean you can ignore the financial side of things. In fact, e-commerce businesses can be even more complex when it comes to bookkeeping. Here's why:

Multi-Channel Sales

Many e-commerce sellers use multiple sales channels, such as Amazon, Etsy, and their own website. Each channel may have different fees, revenue splits, and payment processing methods. Keeping track of all these transactions and reconciling them can quickly become overwhelming.

Sales Tax Compliance

Sales tax is a tricky area for e-commerce businesses. Each state has its own rules and regulations, and even a small mistake can result in hefty fines and penalties. Proper bookkeeping can help you keep track of your sales tax obligations and ensure timely and accurate filings.

Accrual Accounting

Accrual accounting is the preferred method of accounting for e-commerce businesses. Unlike cash accounting, which only records transactions when money changes hands, accrual accounting records revenue and expenses as they are incurred. This allows for more accurate tracking of inventory, COGS, and other financial metrics.

Inventory Management

Managing inventory is a critical part of running an e-commerce business. Proper bookkeeping can help you track inventory levels, COGS, and profit margins. This information can help you make informed decisions about restocking, pricing, and promotions.

Now that we've covered the basics of bookkeeping and why it's important for e-commerce sellers, let's dive deeper into some common bookkeeping tasks and challenges.

Keep reading on our Services page to learn more about how Upscale Bookkeeping can help you manage your e-commerce finances.

Common Bookkeeping Tasks and Challenges for E-commerce Sellers

Recording and Categorizing Transactions

Recording and categorizing transactions is the heart of bookkeeping for any business. With e-commerce, this task can become complex quickly given the volume and variety of transactions.

To keep track of all transactions, you'll need to:

  • Record all sales transactions, including fees, refunds, and chargebacks

  • Record all expenses, including shipping costs, advertising, and software subscriptions

  • Categorize transactions appropriately for accurate financial reporting

Tracking all of these transactions manually can be time-consuming and prone to error. Upscale Bookkeeping can help automate these tasks and ensure accurate financial record-keeping.

Reconciling Bank Accounts

Reconciling your bank accounts is another critical component of bookkeeping. This involves comparing your bank statements to your accounting records to ensure all transactions have been recorded correctly.

Reconciling bank accounts can be challenging for e-commerce businesses because of the large volume of transactions. Discrepancies can be difficult to track down, especially if you use multiple payment processors.

Working with a bookkeeping professional can help ensure that your accounts are reconciled accurately and on time.

Sales Tax Compliance

We mentioned above that sales tax can be a significant challenge for e-commerce businesses. To comply with sales tax rules, you need to:

  • Determine which states you have a sales tax obligation in (known as "nexus")

  • Register for sales tax permits in those states

  • Collect and remit sales tax according to each state's rules

Sales tax rules can be complex, and the consequences of non-compliance can be severe. Working with a bookkeeping professional who specializes in e-commerce can help ensure that you stay compliant with all sales tax regulations.

Inventory Management

Managing inventory is a critical part of running an e-commerce business. You need to know:

  • How much inventory you have on hand

  • The cost of that inventory

  • The value of your inventory

Accurate inventory management can help you avoid stockouts, optimize your pricing strategy, and minimize waste. Proper bookkeeping can help you keep track of inventory levels, costs, and profit margins. We've created a blog dedicated specifically to inventory management. You can check the blog out here.

Financial Reporting

At the end of the day, all of your bookkeeping work should be leading up to accurate and insightful financial reporting. Key reports for e-commerce businesses include:

  • Income statements

  • Balance sheets

  • Cash flow statements

  • Inventory reports

These reports can help you make informed decisions about pricing, inventory, and overall business strategy.

Do you feel like your e-commerce bookkeeping could use a little help? Check out our Services page to learn more about how Upscale Bookkeeping can help manage your finances and take your business to the next level.


In conclusion, bookkeeping is the backbone of any successful e-commerce business. It may not be the most exciting part of running your online store, but it's essential for financial health and compliance. E-commerce businesses face unique challenges when it comes to bookkeeping, including multi-channel sales, sales tax compliance, and managing inventory. By hiring a bookkeeping professional or outsourcing to a firm like Upscale Bookkeeping, you can ensure accurate financial recording and reporting and focus on growing your business.

Working on your own bookkeeping? See our how-to videos on pulling your own financial statements in Quickbooks Online or Xero!

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Danielle Madden

Danielle Madden is the founder and head bookkeeper at Upscale Bookkeeping.

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