Small business owners consistently cite financial management and tax preparation as the most time- and energy-draining aspects of running a business. But accurate and attentive financial management are crucial to sustaining a successful endeavor. An estimated 20% of small businesses fail in the first year, and only half make it to the five-year mark, and the underlying cause of failure is frequently tied to money issues. Some common financial issues new businesses face that precipitate a downfall:
· Poor cash flow management
· Failure to track expenses
· Failure to adhere to a budget
· Underestimated costs of goods and supplies
· Failure to meet sales and revenue goals
· Premature growth
· Overspending on marketing with low ROI
· Lack of emergency funds for unforeseen situations
While there is no single easy-fix solution to the various financial problems a new business will face, thorough preparation and planning can be key to avoiding some common financial pitfalls. Business owners who want to keep accurate, updated financial records but who do not have a lot of time to devote to bookkeeping—or a lot of money to spend on pricey accounting firms or full-time in-house hires—can still benefit from professional assistance so that occasional financial issues do not turn into crises that threaten the company’s survival.
Some ways to keep the books while avoiding most of the time-consuming bookkeeping work:
One of the best ways to reduce time spent on bookkeeping is to have someone else do it for you. While hiring a dedicated bookkeeper used to be a cost-prohibitive measure for most budding small businesses on tight budgets, virtual bookkeeping has come along to reduce some of the costs without compromising the accuracy and professionalism. Virtual bookkeepers can be paid for only the time and resources spent, and they typically have an array of professional tools that you would otherwise have to invest in yourself.
There is a plethora of cloud-based services available to businesses of all sizes, and such products are becoming more pervasive and more affordable every day. Online services for businesses offer automated, paper-free ways to complete a lot of recurring business tasks so that you get paid faster and so that your incoming and outgoing money are recorded immediately. Online services are widely available to assist: sending and recording invoices, generating a budget, issuing payments to vendors, uploading and storing receipts, running payroll, and many other bookkeeping tasks that you no longer have to do manually. Since the services are online, all security, updating, and IT are done for you
Studies of small businesses have found that, too often, purchased software goes underutilized because users are not always aware of all the available features or are undertrained on how to use each product fully. Get the most value for your money by researching the best products for your business type and size so that you only pay for features needed. Integrating the programs you already have optimizes their potential; it also reduces the likelihood of your inadvertently purchasing additional items when what you already have can accomplish the needed tasks. Many online accounting, payment, and payroll products integrate with one another for streamlined financial management.
Online check printing offers a convenient way to turn bills directly into checks from your Odoo or Xero platform. Simply connecting the account to your Checkeeper account will allow you to directly import each bill and have it automatically converted into a paper check format ready for printing and mailing. Bills to the same recipient are bundled for a more streamlined payment transaction, and an invoice table delineating each payment is attached to the check so that the total amount is accounted for.
Even if you do most of your own bookkeeping, delegating some of the work to a qualified employee can give you back a lot of your time. Downloaded software products that are device-specific require in-house maintenance and cannot be shared easily among employees. Online, cloud-based products are accessible from anywhere and are not relegated to a specific person or computer. Online check printing through Checkeeper gives users 24/7 mobile access with user permission settings that both authorize and limit the other users who access your account. All security, maintenance, updating, and IT is handled for you by Checkeeper.
Maximize your time savings by having your business checks printed and mailed for you. Checkeeper can print any amount of checks you need and have them in the mail same-business day. If you have a lot of checks to be printed and mailed at once, uploading your spreadsheet or CSV file into your Checkeeper account will allow you to create hundreds or thousands of checks instantly, with each check field automatically populated with payee names, amounts, and other needed information. Checkeeper can mail each check to its designated recipient—which you would likely want if the checks are for customer refunds or for various invoice payments—or mail them all back to you in one bundle—as you might want if the checks are employee paychecks to be distributed onsite.
One of the best ways to reduce the time spent on bookkeeping is to do it more often, not less. A short window of dedicated time each week or month (depending on your business type and invoicing schedule) that is devoted to account reconciling and expense tracking will save countless hours in the long run. The longer you wait to check in on the business’s financial position, the greater the likelihood that costly mistakes will go unnoticed. The time needed later to fix errors—and the money potentially needed to hire a professional to untangle a mess—can likely be avoided by updating and analyzing the financial records frequently and consistently.