Ecommerce Accounting 101

July 19, 2023

Ecommerce Accounting

Ecommerce accounting involves recording and tracking financial transactions related to an ecommerce business, including sales, expenses, and returns. The process enables businesses to monitor their financial health, make informed decisions, and stay compliant with tax laws.

Importance of Ecommerce Accounting

Proper ecommerce accounting is crucial to the success of any ecommerce business. It enables business owners to make informed decisions, identify areas for improvement, and stay compliant with tax laws. By tracking sales and expenses, business owners can evaluate the profitability of the business and identify areas for improvement. Additionally, tracking returns ensures that refunds are processed correctly, inventory is updated, and any associated fees are accounted for.

Accounting for Ecommerce Transactions

To account for ecommerce transactions, accurate records of all financial transactions, including sales receipts, invoices, and shipping expenses, must be kept. Accounting software such as QuickBooks, Xero, or Wave can help track and manage these transactions. Accounting for returns can be tricky, but software can reconcile returns against inventory and sales. Sales tax must also be considered for more complex ecommerce businesses, and accounting software with sales tax calculation features can help with this task.

Best Accounting Software for Ecommerce Retail Websites

Accounting software can make life easier, and choosing software that integrates with the ecommerce platform and offers inventory tracking, sales tax calculation, and financial reporting features is ideal. QuickBooks, Xero, and Wave are popular options. QuickBooks offers integrations with popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. Xero offers similar features and integrations, while Wave is a free accounting software with basic features.

Accounting Systems for Large Ecommerce Companies

Larger ecommerce businesses may require an enterprise-level accounting system like SAP or Oracle, which can handle large transaction volumes and provide advanced reporting and analysis. Regardless of the software chosen, integration with the ecommerce platform is crucial to automatically track sales and expenses and remain compliant with tax laws.

Tracking Inventory

Accurate inventory tracking allows businesses to monitor stock levels and make informed decisions about when to reorder products. Accounting software or a separate inventory management system can track inventory. Keeping detailed records of all incoming and outgoing products, including sales, returns, damaged products, lost or stolen items, helps identify trends and make data-driven decisions.

Staying Up-to-Date on Tax Laws

Ecommerce businesses are subject to various taxes, including sales tax, income tax, and value-added tax (VAT), depending on their location and customers. Failure to collect and remit these taxes properly can result in fines and legal problems. Working with a tax professional familiar with ecommerce accounting can help navigate tax laws and regulations and minimize tax liability.


Proper ecommerce accounting involves setting up a chart of accounts, using accounting software, tracking inventory, and staying up-to-date on tax laws. By implementing sound accounting practices, ecommerce businesses can ensure their financial health and long-term success.

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