Looking at your business accounting and seeing a mess can leave you feeling sick. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to start getting the problem under control. Here are five tips for controlling a business accounting situation.

Accept There's A Problem

If you're reading this, then you're probably ahead of the game on this one. Don't assume you know the scale of the problem. Until you've gotten deeper into it, the best assumption is that the situation is worse than it initially appears. It's better to be overly pessimistic and revise your assumptions with new evidence than to be too optimistic.

Seek Help

You need to talk with a professional business accountant. Even if you're confident in your accounting skills, you need to have an independent perspective. That's especially the case if there are specific compliance rules within your industry.

Also, hiring a professional demonstrates good faith. If you end up dealing with an auditor or a forensic accountant from another organization or the government, they will be happier if there's an independent and qualified person answering their questions.

Secure All Records

This applies to both physical and digital records. If you have documents in boxes, make sure you store them in a place where someone won't knock them over. Similarly, the conditions should be dry and cool, particularly if some of the documents are receipts from thermal printers.

Also, make copies of the digital files right away. Store the copies on physical media, and then set up a cloud storage account in a secure environment. You want to be sure the records will survive power outages or equipment failures.

Talk With Folks In The Know

If there is someone at the business who handles the accounting, talk with them to get a sense of what's going on. Don't be accusatory, even if you think someone did a terrible job. You still need some idea of what the mess is about.

If someone made mistakes, that's life. Correct them. If there is evidence that you need to revise your accounting strategies, deal with it once you have the mess under control. Likewise, document any evidence of fraud and let your accountant know. Don't act on anything until the business accountant has reviewed the documents.

Implement Appropriate Measures

As you sort the mess out, you'll likely identify a handful of things that went wrong. These can be human or machine errors. Regardless of what the answer is, the critical thing is to identify the mistakes and ensure they don't recur.