There is no doubt that many would argue what the true “keys to success” are. But at a very basic level, it’s hard to deny that organization belongs somewhere on the top of the list.
Organizing your business will help keep things running smoothly on a day-to-day basis, ensure that things like inventory and labor are in check, and ultimately help you stay sane. At the end of the day, all of those things (and more) are related directly or indirectly to your finances, making financial organization a must for new and veteran business owners alike.
Not everyone is a financial guru, and you shouldn’t need a PhD in math to keep your business finances in check. Here are a few quick tips to make your life easier when it comes to things like accounting, bookkeeping, and the overall financial health of your small business.
1. Separate Business Finances From Personal
You’ve probably heard this spiel before, but it’s an important one. Many entrepreneurs will find themselves dipping into their personal finances to get their business up and running. It happens, but it’s not something you should be making a habit.
Aside from protecting your personal credit from business-related financial woes, separating the two can help you better track the flow of cash in and out of your business. Instead of hunting down multiple transaction records, you’ll be able to refer to business-specific checking, savings, and credit card statements. This will result in better record keeping, forecasting, and planning throughout the year and beyond.
Additionally, keeping your business and personal finances separate will be extremely useful come tax time, when you’ll need to keep track of expenditures and revenue. One designated “business” account will make your life easier and help you keep your sanity if the IRS comes knocking.
2. Create a Routine
It’s hard to stay organized without some sort of system and routine to keep you or your employees on track. It doesn’t need to be complicated or complex, but having a designated time of the day or week for going through paperwork, invoices, and statements can help you make sure the task of staying organized doesn’t fall through the cracks.
The system you choose is entirely up to you, but make sure it’s one that you can easily follow. From balancing your books at the end of every week to monitoring statements and invoices on a certain day each month, a routine will allow you to accurately and regularly keep track of your business metrics.
3. Invest in a Streamlined Service
Unless you’re a financial wizard, trying to keep your business financials organized on your own can be taxing (pun intended). Identifying a program or service that can help you keep track of everything can really make your life a lot easier.
Before you start your search, it’s best to ask yourself what exactly you’d like to accomplish. Are you hoping to streamline payroll? Check out Gusto. Organize your accounting? Check out Quickbooks Online.
4. Call in a Professional
Yes, it’s OK to manage your daily business organization on your own, or to enlist the help of one of the aforementioned business service apps and programs. But if you find that’s still not enough, or you’re experiencing complex financial circumstances, calling in a pro might be your best option.
This person can be an individual hired to work within your company regularly, or an accountant or financial professional to work with on a less frequent basis for things like advisements, consultancy, or tax purposes.
5. Back It Up
We’re fortunate enough to live in an age where it’s not always necessary to hang on to boxes of potentially important paper documents for years on end. However, that doesn’t mean that you can simply save a file to your desktop and walk away.
Backing up your information is absolutely essential—and luckily, you have more than a few options. Online storage services are plentiful, and there are ones that fit any budget. For example, Google Drive and Dropbox are easy-to-use, low-price options that offer basic storage solutions. Services like Carbonite and Egnyte may come at a higher price, but offer more storage in addition to other business-friendly features.