Small business owners have a lot on their plates and oversee many aspects of the business: Operations, Marketing, Sales, HR and often Finances. Chances are, managing your finances is neither your favourite activity nor your greatest skillset. Good financial management of your business is one of the most important factors for your success. But that doesn’t mean it has to eat up all of your time - resources that can be better allocated elsewhere.
Finding time to properly manage finances can be a challenge as is, but if you make it a priority to implement some strategies and tactics to make managing your small business more efficient and productive. Even small changes can go a long way. Here are five ways to save time managing your small business finances so you can get back to doing what you do and love best:
#1 - Get Organized
Managing your small business finances is time consuming enough without wasting additional time looking for files, documents, invoices and receipts. Some time spent upfront developing systems to capture, track, file and label key records and data points will save you time down the road. It may take some time to establish these habits or “good financial hygiene,” but with practice, it will become second nature.
Take inventory of all of your daily, weekly and monthly financial tasks - recurring activities related to financial management. Estimate and allocate hours to each activity and schedule them in your calendar so nothing is overlooked or left to the last minute.
Task lists, schedules, tracking and filing systems (for digital and paper-based) are just a few ways to boost organization in your management of finances. This will not only save time, it will give you increased visibility into where you are spending your time.
#2 - Use Cloud Accounting Software
Take advantage of the plethora of tools available to you. Do a little research - most online tools come with step-by-step instructions and offer various levels of support to assist you. Accounting software has developed into a mainstream service providing a number of advantages that traditional methods do not. Ease, access, support, and efficiency are just a few of the benefits. QuickBooks is a great example of a program that helps you organize your accounting and produce professional records. Many of these tools offer free trials so you can see the various benefits for yourself without long-term commitment.
#3 - Outsource Tasks/Hire a Good Bookkeeper
Outsourcing is a small business owner's best friend. Being the overseer leaves little time for all the tasks that running a small business entails. Every task that you identify as able to outsource frees up more time for you to focus on managing your finances.
Consider using an accountant. It can be tempting to try to do your own finances and save on costs, but the extra time you spend can be more costly in the end. A professional has tools, skills, knowledge and processes in place that can add considerable value to your business. Bookkeepers and accountants know what to look for and where you can afford to cut costs or payments, saving you money that pays for their services and beyond.
#4 - Source Good Reporting Templates
The Internet is a great resource for your small business - why recreate the wheel when there are countless business and finance templates available online? If you’re not already, it’s time to start taking advantage of the many resources available to small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs. There are a number of accounting templates online that you can source for your own finances. Smartsheet is a good example that provides a number of excel-ready templates for you to use. Frugal entrepreneur is another.
#5 - Keep your records up-to-date
One of the challenges of managing your finances is maintaining records consistently. Make sure that you’re constantly reviewing your finances, especially your business expenditure. Fifteen minutes a week can be enough, according to this Forbes article, and you’ll find tax time to be a whole lot easier and less stressful if you have kept on top of things year-round.
A crucial part of having a successful small business is maintaining detailed and accurate financial records. It takes time, there’s no way around it. The strategies mentioned above are just a few of the great ways to manage your small business finances more efficiently. Experiment with these suggestions and you should see quick results in the financial management of your business.