The entrepreneur’s guide to accounting
The health of your business’s accounting and financial systems plays a big part in your success. While it’s tempting to hire someone to take care of your finances for you, or to ignore them altogether until tax season rolls around, managing your money smartly is a non-negotiable when it comes to running a successful business.
While no entrepreneur can be a master of all trades, it’s worth knowing the basics when it comes to your finances.
Here are eight things every new business owner needs to know about accounting:
- Know your growth number
So, you’ve spent weeks perfecting your business plan, painstakingly highlighting your vision – but have you outlined your financial targets? Even setting a baseline goal of 5% growth per year, for example, can keep you focused and make it easier to measure your growth.
- Consistency is key
Set aside time every day or week to update your accounts, so you can get into the swing of managing your revenue, costs, and expenses. Having oversight of your finances will help you to make informed decisions and spot any financial red flags before they become serious.
- Think ahead
Plot your income and expense projections up to the end of the financial year. This will help you to anticipate your future cash flow and makes it easier to adjust your operations in future.
- Value your time
Time is money. Entrepreneurs need to master time management because it’s one skill that can’t be outsourced. Keeping your most important vendors and customers happy is possible when you prioritise effectively and take care of the most urgent matters first.
- Keep a sharp eye on your costs
You need to know your expenses inside and out. Whether they’re essential to your business or are more general (like stationery and printing), knowing where your money is going and being strict with your internal purchasing processes is paramount when it comes to managing your finances.
- Guard your revenue
Being paid on time (in fact, being paid at all) can be a challenge. When invoicing your clients, be up front about when they can expect an invoice and what your payment terms are. Include these terms on the invoice itself and try to get the client to agree on them beforehand. Some clients might struggle to meet your payment terms; in those cases, you’ll need to compromise. Usually it’s easier to wait longer for payment than to take legal action.
- Do your future self a favour
Save yourself a stressful year-end by filing your financial documents every month. By storing your receipts, invoices, and other accounting documents in chronological order, they’ll be easily accessible whenever you need them.
- Automate as much as possible
There’s no reason not to make the most of the technology available to us within our businesses – especially when it comes to our finances. Use whatever accounting tools and software you can to lighten the load of your workflow, set reminders, and ease the general day-to-day financial responsibilities.
Most small businesses will have to deal with late-paying customers at some stage. According to our ‘Late Payments: The Domino Effect’ research, 52% of South African Small & Medium Businesses experience direct negative impacts from late payments, like: Struggling to [...]
One of the greatest challenges businesses face when selling products and services – and making a profit – is managing their cash flow so that their expenditure isn’t higher than their profit. In fact, the Sage Foundation found that 36% [...]
While you might not have the savings you wish you did to grow your business, one thing you probably do have in abundance, is money advice. It can be hard to know what to accept and what to ignore. Here [...]
Funding conundrum: Why SMEs need options to succeed Did you know that as many as 75% of South African small businesses fail within the first year? A lack of funding, or poor financial management, is one of the biggest stumbling [...]
Every January, many small businesses run into cash flow problems because they’re waiting on customer payments from the year before. Along with bad debt and unexpected expenses, late payments can negatively impact the sustainability and profitability of SMEs. And the [...]
What did you want to be when you were growing up? A doctor? An astronaut? An entrepreneur? It’s unlikely that you chose the latter because starting a business is not often on a kid’s to-do list. Yet, with the global [...]
When running a small business, some expenses are obvious – electricity, rent and wages, for instance. Calculating ad budgets, on the other hand, is a far more nebulous affair. Regardless of how you feel about advertising, it is important to [...]
A cost-benefit analysis is a vital part of starting and running any project, giving you the information you need to frame objectives, calculate estimates of needed resources, and define objectives. In practice, it is the comparative assessment of benefits along [...]
Business plans are normally the first thing that you do when starting a business. Your business plan marks the point at which an idea gets turned into reality. You map out what your business will entail, how it will operate, [...]