As a business owner, one of your main tasks is making sure the finances of your business are in order. With multiple payables and receivables that need to be attended to all throughout the year, keeping everything organized is a process within itself that can easily take away time you need to run your business.
While it’s understandable that you want to have your hands in every aspect of your business, you do have several options to ensure your finances don’t pile up and become unmanageable.
To give you some direction, 10 members of Forbes Finance Council share the best ways to keep your business finances organized without eating into the time you need to focus on other critical matters. Here’s what they recommend:
1. Delegate or outsource.
Our company does bookkeeping, controller and CFO services. Our biggest competitor is not other service firms but instead the owner — and possibly their family — attempting this work. If you do not have the staff to delegate financial activities to, then outsource it. Your focus needs to be on making decisions with the financial data, not figuring out the debits and credits. – Marjorie Adams, Fourlane
2. Leverage technology.
In today’s world, if you are disciplined enough to segregate your personal and business finances, your accounting system pulls all your transactions directly from your bank account and credit card activity. Forget the paperwork — for less than $40 per month you can get a technology tool that aggregates your business spending for you. This keeps you organized and is the single biggest time saver out there. – Matthew May, Acuity
3. Create your Prizefighter Day.
“Prizefighter Day” is a concept I learned from Ben Newman. Define your daily tasks that drive results, and stick to them every day. If you’re focused on daily activity, you’ll find yourself getting your critical items completed and better delegating other tasks to your team. It’s a great way to stay focused on your strengths, and you’ll find yourself more aware of how you are spending your time. – Drew Gurley, Redbird Advisors
4. Take time now.
Take the time upfront to organize your expenses. Those who procrastinate will find a pile of items they don’t remember and will have to guess what the receipts are for. By taking the time each week to categorize, you’re going to save yourself a lot of time in the long run for higher priorities. It’s easier and faster to organize expenses into categories when the transaction just took place. – David Gass, Anderson Business Advisors, LLC
5. Set it and forget it.
The best way to do this is through automation, which will take more work off your hands. Setting deadlines each month or quarter can also help smooth out the amount of work over time and keep you on track for the year. It eliminates the need to sort through everything that has piled up over many months, so by December, it won’t be a year-long timeframe but another three-month period. – Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital
6. Go digital.
Relying on manual methods to manage paperwork is a sure-fire way to waste time and leak money. Take advantage of tools that digitize your paperwork on the go. For small business owners especially, digitizing your receipt and expense management process could mean up to 80 hours per year back on your calendar and tax benefits you would’ve otherwise missed out on. – Corey Gross, Sensibill
7. Focus on overall financial health.
Keeping a small business on track takes accountability. Hire a financial advisor who works with small business owners. Business owners can expect to have six to eight meetings per year to keep the important things in focus and delegate those items which are not. Focus on your overall financial health, and everything else will fall into place. – Justin Goodbread, Heritage Investors
8. Create a financial reporting process.
Even if you don’t have a supervisory board, it is important to have quarterly profit and loss statements, a balance sheet and use of cash report. Creating a deadline for periodic reports will help you understand when and how to grow. If your business is new, the focus should be on cash accounting and forecasting cash flow. Once your business is mature, hire an accountant that can transition tasks internally. – Miguel Vasquez, Financial Fitness Group
9. Make organization part of the daily process.
Commit to a daily process. Set aside a time at the end of each day to review both sales and purchase activity. Developing this habit will help monitor cash flow and facilitate business growth. Consider having an accountant come in quarterly to provide a balance sheet/income statement. Besides creating a snapshot, it will also keep you focused on maintaining clear and complete records. – Adam Stettner, Reliant Funding
10. Commit to overtime work.
Everyone in business runs into periods when the plan is off course, things back up and concern sets in. We handle these by staying late, coming in early or working on a weekend to get things right. In today’s day and age, it is common to have too much coming at you, and sometimes you just need a quiet period to catch up, typically before the phone rings. Don’t beat yourself up, just accept there are times when we all fall behind. – Michael Seltzer, Verite Group, LLC