Background: I graduated with a degree in Accountancy and Finance back in 2015, going into a job as a junior accounts assistant within a medium sized PR company, working up to Finance Executive (in real terms - senior accounts assistant) but not being able to learn anymore within my team until someone leaves, I decided to part ways and took on a role as a Finance Manager / Bookkeeper / Accountant for a Shipping Company. The reason I have named all three roles, is because I will be undertaking the tasks of all.
The current situation is, the company has been trading for many years, with an external bookkeeper who uses VT accounts. He files the accounts by requesting the info required from the PA, however, I believe due to there being a lack of day to day bookkeeping on the ground, with no accountancy system to run the day to day sales invoices/purchase invoices/debt chase, this has led to gaps in information and the bookkeeper now being behind on the accounts. He has recently been took ill so since I joined the company 2/3 weeks ago, I have not been able to really see how he processes things, nor have I had access to the accounts.
I guess what I am asking is; for advise on a) how to figure out where to get started?! I believe I have every capability of tackling such a challenge and it is the very reason I wanted to leave my previous role. But I underestimated the transfer of moving from a role where systems were already in place, to moving somewhere which needs a system implemented. At the moment, all information is logged on an excel spreadsheet which isn't very reliable.
a) A way to link when a payment has come in from one company, to know then when to pay the other company and what for
b) To ensure that all sales invoices match contracts/charter parties
c) To ensure all sales invoices are paid on time and to manage queries on account efficiently and effectively
d) To be able to run the creditors/debtors ledger to know what is owed in/out
e) How can I know where to start the accounts with no previous information.
Any advise would be greatly appreciated, I am grateful that at the least the accounts are semi up to date and the external bookkeeper is extremely knowledgeable (from my understanding). But without being able to really chat with him and see where he is at. I am at a loss, and until I can speak with him I want to use my time wisely.