Accounting & Tax 101 For Founders

Welcome to our resource guide designed specifically for startups from Seed to Series A stages with fewer than 100 employees.

Here, you'll discover how Puzzle can help you manage your financial health more effectively.

This guide is packed with reliable resources, all grounded in real-world experience, aimed at helping startup founders navigate the complexities of accounting and taxes. You've come to the right place—let's get started!

Getting Started with Your Startup’s Finances

I just incorporated my company. When do I need to start doing accounting?

The answer is—as soon as you incorporate, you need to file taxes, even if you have no revenue or expenses.

Key Tax Filing Dates

What are the important tax filing dates I need to know?

If you are a Delaware C-Corp, the most important tax deadlines are:

  • Jan 31: 1099s
  • March 1: Delaware Franchise Tax
  • April 15: Federal and State Tax Filings
Setting Up Your Accounting

Can I set up my accounting myself? QuickBooks requires me to have a bookkeeper.

  • Absolutely, and at any stage. Puzzle is a scalable solution and it’s an accounting platform that grows with you and your startup and supports you at each step of the journey — from Formation to Enterprise. You’ll never have to migrate off of Puzzle when your startup succeeds.
  • It only takes 9 minutes to set up your accounting with Puzzle - create a login, connect your accounts, and evaluate your financial documents in minutes instead of days or weeks.

Hiring a Bookkeeper

Do I need to hire a bookkeeper?

  • Puzzle is a modern accounting software solution. If you recently started your company and want to see all your financial data in one place, Puzzle is a great tool for you. The platform will aggregate your financials and give you actionable insights the moment you connect your accounts.
  • While Puzzle can significantly streamline your financial management, hiring a professional bookkeeper can help ensure compliance as your business grows. We can connect you with Puzzle-certified bookkeepers for additional support. Contact us for more information.
Switching to Puzzle

How do I convince my bookkeeper to switch from Quickbooks to Puzzle?

Follow our 5-step process to make the switch.

Benefits of Choosing Puzzle

Why is Puzzle better for startups than other solutions like QuickBooks?

Puzzle is built specifically for startup needs—offering dual cash and accrual accounting, vital financial insights, and intuitive onboarding with access to on-demand accountants.

We help you scale by…

  • Simultaneously generating cash accounting (what you want) and accrual accounting (what accountants want) in a single solution
  • Key financial insights such as cash, burn, runway, ARR/MRR, spending and revenue insights, and cash monitoring
  • More time growing your business with confidence, less time preparing your financials
  • Intuitive onboarding with on-demand accountants ready anytime

Founder Accounting - Blog & Video Series

Accounting 101
Guide to filing taxes
Navigating tax mistakes
Key financial metrics (and why investors ask)
How should I handle my finances?
Cash vs Accrual Accounting
Calculating the right burn rate
How to interview a bookkeeper

Learning Center

What actually is accounting?

Understanding How Your Banking, Spending, and Revenue Work Together in Accounting

See how a modern startup stack—tools like Stripe, Ramp, Mercury, and Gusto—integrates into a piece of software known as a "general ledger," which is the core of your accounting system.

How Accounting Gets Built




Customer Payments


Income Statement

Balance sheet

Cash flow statement

This list is not exhaustive

The Benefits of Early Accounting Adoption

Top 5 Advantages of Starting Accounting Early
Potential Pitfalls of Delaying Accounting

More Founder FAQs

Can I get started on my own as a founder (with no accounting experience)?

Yes, Puzzle provides a few options to match your needs:

  1. Self-service setup - You can set up your accounting and finances on your own through our software. Puzzle automatically connects to your business systems to pull in data. The setup takes just minutes, after which you can access real-time financial reporting.  There is a guided solution to do most of the work yourself to keep costs low until tax time.
  2. Get help when you need it - Get set up yourself, and if you need to, you can hire a bookkeeper, tax preparer, or finance expert through our network to assist you. We help match you to the right expert based on your budget and needs.

How does Puzzle help me understand my business better?

Get multiple, real-time views of your business.  Cash, accrual accounting, metrics like burn, runway, ARR, MRR, spend analysis by new vs recurring and top vendors, revenue analysis by product, customer and accounting views, variance analysis and much, much more.

How does Puzzle keep me tax-ready?

Puzzle provides accurate real-time data and has a robust network of experienced tax experts.

If you are a Delaware C-Corp, the most important tax deadlines are:

  • Jan 31: 1099s
  • March 1: Delaware Franchise Tax
  • April 15: Federal and State Tax Filings
How does Puzzle keep me fundraise ready?

Feel confident as you go into fundraising by knowing your numbers and understanding the key drivers of your business. We give you real-time access to the financial statements and metrics needed for due diligence, with a network of on-demand experts available anytime.

Why can't I rely solely on Stripe, Brex, and Ramp for accounting?

Other systems provide raw transaction data but do not generate financial statements needed for tax compliance, reporting, and decision-making. Puzzle ingests data from these systems into our general ledger to create those reports needed for taxes, compliance, and fundraising.

I’m already using QuickBooks but don’t know how to switch to Puzzle.

Switching to Puzzle is easy.

It only takes 3 minutes to onboard. We'll take the reins once you connect your QuickBooks account or upload your general ledger and provide a switchover date. Our team will upload historical journal entries and refine the Chart of Accounts (CoA) to accommodate your customization financials. If you’d like to schedule a call, we’re always ready to answer any questions about Puzzle or the transfer process. Otherwise, it’s a hands-off process; we’ll handle the details.

After revising your books in Puzzle, you can cancel your old subscription and enjoy real-time financial data, the Puzzle business metrics dashboard, and automated accounting processes.

Read here to learn how easy it is to switch from QuickBooks to Puzzle.

Or schedule time with us at We’ll help you set up your account, and if you have historical financials to transfer, we’ll take care of the migration after the 30-minute phone call.

I’m unsure what to do to ensure my accounting is ok

We help founders all the time. Start with this guide to learn more about accounting and tax 101 for founders. You can also use the Founder’s Resource Hub for tips on what to do as you start your business.

Send this to your Accountant FAQs

Will generative accounting replace me as an accountant?

No! Founders still need (and value!) experts like you for advice and assurance. Puzzle automates many rote, tedious tasks so you can focus on high-value work. While the system generates draft financials, it lets you focus on exceptions, errors, and an amazing month end review with your clients focused on insights and analysis to improve their business.

How is Puzzle different from QuickBooks?

Puzzle built a smart general ledger and real-time data platform in a single solution.  Some new capabilities are:

  • We automating repetitive tasks such as categorization, reconciliations, auto-detection of potential issues.
  • Accrual automation across accounts payable, accounts receivable, fixes assets, prepaids
  • Revenue recongnition and ARR/MRR calculations
  • Collaboration - tag founders on transactions and get automatically subscribed to their responses
  • Smart monthly checklist, helping you focus your time on highest value work
  • Financials and reconciliations drafted for you, with an indicator when they are in draft or final state or out of balance.
  • Maintained integrations means less time reconnected or copying and pasting data
  • Learning categorization - the more your categorize, the better the system learns.

Can I really transfer a QuickBooks client to Puzzle in minutes?

Yes, through a read-only login Puzzle will import your clients historical financial statements, and trial balance from QuickBooks so you don't start from scratch. We can also help map accounts to a new chart of accounts if needed.  This will allow you to retain your historical financial records in Quickbooks format and have comparative financials in Puzzle while cancelling your Quickbooks account (they retain your financials)

note: Currently while the setup and integration just takes minutes, we do the work for you behind the scenes which takes a few hours.  We will share the results with you in a few days, depending on volume of requests. We plan to build a self-serve user experience so you can do this yourself in 2024.

What else do I get besides accounting?

Beyond accounting, Puzzle provides variance analysis, metrics on cash runway and burn rate, breakdowns of expenses by type and vendor, and reporting by customer and product line for SaaS companies. This empowers you to provide more strategic advice.

Won’t automation lower my revenue?

While every case is different, we see two key outcomes from moving from Quickbooks to Puzzle with your clients:

  • You can manage more clients at a higher margin, even if you reduce your fees
  • Deliver a better client experience with faster more accurate books, plus key insights.

By having both automation and insights in a single solution, you to focus on more advisory work rather than data entry, delivering a better client experience at a lower cost, higher margin, with more satisfying work.