Running a small business can be a hectic time with many variables to think about from products to sales to marketing, and if you are doing your own accounting on top of that, it can be all too easy for mistakes to be made.
Those who are new to business might think they can save money by doing all of their own financial management but accounting is a skill in itself and trying to take on too much when you don’t know what you are doing, can cause all kinds of problems.
Some mistakes can be small; others can be the difference between your business succeeding or failing. Ongoing mistaken accounting practices can skew your figures and create significant issues for your company.
Here are some of the most common accounting mistakes which small businesses make so you can avoid making them as well:
Making assumptions about cash flow
Just because you’ve landed a new client, you can’t make assumptions that the money you have planned will actually come in on time. They might be late payers, or the project might go on longer than first thought.
It’s good to have an idea of what’s coming in and what’s going out in your business, but you shouldn’t assume what your cash flow is going to be based on proposed projects and potential new work.
As well as knowing what money is coming in from clients, you need to know what is going out, and the best way to do this is to set budgets in place. Have a budget for advertising and marketing and have a budget for all project costs.
That way you will know exactly what money is due to go out of your business account every month and why, and you won’t be tempted to spend ad-hoc on special offers for advertising or one-off project costs. Setting budgets helps to keep you on track.
Leaving book keeping to the last minute
It’s vital to keep accurate records of all the money coming into and leaving your business account, and the only way to do this is to keep on top of your book keeping. You need to record every business transaction accurately.
If you leave it all to the last minute you might find receipts missing, transactions recorded in the wrong category and your books will be a mess. The key to business success is making sure all of the financial records are up-to-date and correct.
Not understanding employees vs contractors
You need to understand the difference between employing people in your business as employees and using contractors. There are different taxes and financial requirements so make sure you are very clear on the law and very clear on what kind of contracts you are offering.
Trying to do all of your finances yourself
While it’s true that you will have to pay for an accountant to support your business finances, trying to do all of the accounting by yourself is one of the most common mistakes small business owners make.
Even if your business is small and the finance is simple, as you grow and expand it will become more complicated and more time-consuming to manage all of the finances by yourself. You don’t want to be up into the early hours balancing the books so let someone else do it for you. Accounting services offered by companies like Crunch allows small businesses to simplify their accounting needs through their unique approach.
Using cash to buy a set of stamps to post out invoices is still a business transaction, no matter how small and you need to make sure you record every single transaction accurately. It’s all too easy to forget some of these smaller transactions and overlook them.
But if you forget a number of smaller transactions in your books, it will all add up, and your business accounts will quickly be affected and become inaccurate and potentially misleading records of how much money you are actually spending.
Not making sure your books match your bank account
While it’s important to keep records of all of your income and outgoings, it’s also vital to check your records against what is actually on your bank statement. It’s all too easy to overlook small expenses that you might forget about.
You need to make sure your accounting records match with every transaction that shows up on your business bank account so that you have a very clear and accurate picture of your actual real-time business finance.
If you employ a book keeper to help you then you need to tell them everything that goes on within your business and you need to keep records of all transactions and copies of all receipts to give to them at least every month to make sure all the transactions reconcile, so your books always match your bank account.
Cheryl Davis Freelance Writer
Business building is a difficult task at the best of times. Factor in being full time parents and the business only being a startup and you’ve got your work cut out for you. However, it’s also a very costly endeavour if you’re not properly prepared to do so. Cutting costs for your business is difficult, but not impossible. We’re going to be taking a look at three different ways that you can effectively cut back what you spend and not have to worry quite so much.
Use Social Media Where You Can
When building a business, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of free marketing? That’s where social media comes into play pretty effectively. Often one of the best tools for entrepreneurs, social media offers you a wealth of resources for basically no cost. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. These all offer you a unique way of cutting costs without compromising on marketing and reach.
As parents, you’ve probably had to improvise a situation before. It’s unfortunately not a guaranteed thing that every event will go according to plan. Therefore, a lot of parents will be able to adapt and be creative. This skill set can actually help you to cut down on costs. By getting creative with your business, you can save a lot of money. For example, why spend money on accounting software to track finances when you can work a spreadsheet with the correct know how? It’s little things like that which will really help. You’ll be saving money and also demonstrating a unique and creative approach to problems, which will help you during the life of your business.
When you’re trying to cut costs, why not ask other people to do it for you? Crowdfunding is a great way for people to save money on the building of their business. It means that someone else is funding your business because they like the idea of the services and goods that you offer. They’ll often be some of your best customers as well because they’ve seen your idea from the very beginning and support your way of doing things. It’s definitely a good way to reduce your expenses, and can even help you to find entire portions of your business without paying a penny.
Overall, these are three of the best ways for startups to cut costs. It’s not always easy to do, but it is highly recommended because you don’t want to spend masses to get started. You won’t be making any kind of profit until you’re generating more than the startup costs and more than the running costs. Therefore, it’s best to keep these kinds of costs as low as possible. Otherwise, you’ll find that you’re not making enough money to get by, and this can be dangerous. It’s important to try and bring down all of the different costs for your business, and this can be accomplished in a variety of different ways. You just have to stay calm and figure out what’s best for you.
From some of us, money isn’t something that comes easily. This is particularly true when you have a family to care for. A common misconception when you own your own business is that you are going to be wealthy. However, this isn’t always true, particularly during those early days.
This means that parentpreneurs, in particular, have to work hard to ensure that they look after their money. But how can they do this? How can a parentpreneur ensure that they focus on saving money?
Have an accountant or use accounting software
There are so many business owners out there that decide to save money by doing their own finances. This may work for some of them, but for others, there needs to be some professional support in the process. If you are not great with money or have no idea on where to start with your business finances, then you need to invest in an accountant or find appropriate accountancy software. Both of these things can have a huge positive impact on your business finances and make things easier for you too.
Keep your business and personal finance separate
One of the worst things that can happen for a parentpreneur is for their business and personal finances to blur together. During the early days it may seem easier to have one account for everything, but in the long-term, this isn’t a good approach. It makes much more sense to leave things separate from the beginning so that you can see how your business is growing.
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Focus on paying off debt
Debt is something that many of us have, and it can have a huge impact on where we stand financially. This means that one thing that you should always focus on when you run your own business and bring in profit is paying off your debt. It may seem like an obvious thing to do, but you would be surprised how much it can help you on a month to month basis, simply making an effort to bust some of that debt that you may owe.
Save and create an emergency fund
When you make a profit in your business, it can be all too tempting to spend it. However, you may find that next month you are not so lucky. This means that an important approach for any parentpreneur to take is to save money as and when they can. Think of it as creating an emergency fund which will come in useful if anything was to go wrong and you will feel much better about putting money away.
Of course, from time to time everyone deserves a reward for working so hard, which means that you can spend out on a treat for you and your family. Why not save for a big day out? Or perhaps a small break somewhere? It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture; in fact, you are likely to find that your family truly appreciate simply spending some time with you away from your work!
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Starting a business is hard work and comes with a lot of risks. You need to create a product or services that prospective customers want, you need to find the right team that will complement your management style, and you need to stay on top of your finances. With all the possible pitfalls. No-one is an instant expert in business. Chances are, no matter how much you think you know, you could make some costly financial mistakes along the way.
Of course, everyone makes mistakes, that is how we learn and grow, but if you can minimise the mistakes that you make, then you can try and make sure that your start-up business has the success that it deserves.
We have put together three financial mistakes start-ups should avoid.
Not understanding the market
Market research should be a substantial part of the foundation of any startup. Not completely understanding your marketplace can prove detrimental to your business. If you don’t correctly understand your market, you may miss-pricing your products and services. Who is your customer, what need do your products and services fulfil, what do you have to offer, who is your competition, what differentiates your offering, what is your unique selling point why should customers buy from you? Without a good grasp of the market you plan to break into, you will likely make poor business projections.
Doing your own accounts
Knowing the difference between what you do best and what you do each day because the task “needs to get done.” Wasting time with a task that is not on your highest skill set is a misuse of your time and, your money. If you don’t have strong skills in financials, then recruit an accountant or retain one on contract to do your accounts and account to provide them to you in an easy-to-understand format.
Every business should keep detailed records of expenses and transactions, start-ups often overlook the importance of bookkeeping, but they are invariably reminded of its significance when the taxman comes to collect his dues. Also not keeping track of expenses also results in tax reliefs going unclaimed.
Ensure you maintain separate bank accounts for business and personal finances. You can get a 30-day free trial with FreshBooks small business accounting software here
Recruiting employees is exciting, to keep your costs as low as possible, you need to consider ways to save money on staffing. You might have some busy months, followed by a slow quarter. When starting up recruiting too many employees can have financial and psychological cost to your business.
As you start to build your team, look for people who have work experience of working in a start-up business. A good startup employee needs to have a specific mindset that isn’t often found in traditional companies. They need to be prepared to possibly work quickly and for long hours. And they need to be willing to take on responsibilities outside of their defined job description.
It good practice to set financial goals as it’s a way to measure how well you expect your business to be doing giving yourself a framework in which to operate and make important business growth decisions.
*Some links you’ll find here on Parents in Biz are affiliate links. This means I might earn a commission if you click through and purchase a product or service I recommend.
When you run a small business, then you will start to realise that every penny that you make is important. Particularly if you are also trying to look after your family too. Even with the best planning and plenty of effort, sometimes running your own business can be hard. There is always a chance that something could happen to really put a strain on your finances, and this could have a knock-on effect with your family life.
One way that you can try to minimise the risk of this is to have an emergency fund for your business. This “rainy day” fund will top up your cash supplies and ensure that when times are hard, you can still keep your business afloat.
But, when you are counting the pennies, it can seem hard to put money aside. So, how can you build an emergency fund for your business?
Lower what you spend out
Sounds like a simple way to save money, but you can be surprised by just how much you can spend out as a business. It is a good idea to try and negotiate with your suppliers, securing yourself a reduced rate and you can also try and see if you have any tax deductions that might be owing to you. Another thing that you can look at is the advertising and marketing costs that you are spending, is there a way to lower these?
Try to save when the profit is coming in
If you find that your profit can vary, particularly during different times of the year, then it is a great idea to make sure that you put more profit away at the times when you are making more. It might seem a shame not to enjoy such a high-profit month, but if you find that those profits dry up then you will be grateful that you made the effort to put the money away.
Save your money in the right way
Some people like to display their rainy day fund in cash, others like to squirrel it away in their savings account. As a business, you should definitely see your rainy day fund as an investment. It is a good idea to put it into a low risk and short term form of saving, such as an instant access account. Whilst this may not give you the best rate on interest, it will make sure that you can get to your money when you need it most.
Even the most successful businesses can have times when disaster strikes. If you are concerned that this could happen to you, then it makes sense to try and have an emergency fund. It might be a few thousand, it might be a few hundred. Just make sure that it is enough to keep you, your business and your family ticking over.
“The longer you’re not taking action the more money you’re losing.” Carrie Wilkerson
One of best lessons I learned from being broke and needing money was to open my eyes and look around me. From my experience needing money my mind opened in this short but sweet post I going to tell you 3 ways you are losing money because your eyes and mind are most likely closed.
1. Ebay.com has over 59 million visitors per month and ebay.co.uk ranks number 7 as the most visited website according to alexa. Look at the things you have accumulated over the years ask yourself? “do I really need all of this” if the answer is no you can always do what I did. I made two piles 1 for charity and the other for items I planned to sell on eBay. Take pictures describe the item in as much detail especially the condition it’s in. We all know children grow very fast and outgrow their clothing very quickly why not make some extra cash selling those items.
2. I had accumulated so many books when I was studying for a number of reasons I did not like to borrow the library books because I could not write and highlight relevant section in them some of these books were expensive and in good condition baring all the post-it notes I had placed. A relative told me about an online website that bought books ww.webuybooks.co.uk I downloaded the app signed up for an account and simply scanned the barcodes packaged up the books and a courier that they pay for came and collected the parcels within a week the money was in my account. I’ll also add that as you scan the barcode it tells you how much you will get for each book, cool right?
3. The 3rd final items our family was losing a lot of money on was video games there’s always the latest must-have game or games console that the children just have to have in their lives. Yes you got it they eagerly awaited game finished it in a matter of days or maybe weeks and it on the shelf gathering dust. Well I got my sons to sort through all the games and consoles they no longer wanted and we carried them down to CEX at the time we did it you could get the cash or exchange for items within the shop.
If you are feeling you are strapped for cash right now “The longer you’re not taking action the more money you’re losing.” Carrie Wilkerson.