Money Matters: It’s Time To Take Control of Everything from Invoicing To Tax Preparation
Here’s an all-too-common scenario: A seemingly successful service provider or business owner is hard at work growing their business. They are working lots of hours, bringing in new clients and they're hourly rate is respectable. But their cash flow is dismal.
Because they are working so hard that finding the time to actually take control of their money is impossible.
Invoices don’t get sent on time. Past due balances are ignored. Taxes aren’t done. And maybe worst of all, they have got dozens of recurring payments that go out automatically each and every month, and they have no idea what they are or if they are even using the programs they're paying for.
Sound familiar? I’m guilt of this too, but I took control of my finances and you can too. First don’t think you are alone, because sadly, that’s exactly what a lot of “successful” businesses look like. When you work at home, and you’re accountable to no one but yourself, it’s far too easy to let these little things slide until, like an avalanche, they have a devastating effect on your business.
The good news is, cleaning it up is easy, when you take the time to put some trusted systems in place.
Start with you're billing. What if you worked for a large corporation? Would they allow billing to fall behind or be willy-nilly? No, of course not and neither should you. Put your billing day on your calendar as an unbreakable appointment.
Log into a timekeeping app, generate your invoices, and click send. You’ll be done in a jiffy. Not only that, but most billing systems automatically send follow-up messages for unpaid invoices, so you don’t have to worry about tracking down those slow pays.
If your not ready yet for a timekeeping app or it doesn’t fit your business, start with PayPal invoicing. Then set a date monthly to batch invoices and also send all “past due” notices out. PayPal tracks invoices and is simple to use.
For your expenses, use a single system. That might be PayPal or a dedicated credit card or even your business checking account. Whatever it is, be sure it has a reporting feature that will allow you to send monthly statements to your accountant. At the end of every month, bundle that up with your sales report and your receipts, and send it off. When tax time rolls around, you’ll be sitting back with your feet up while everyone else scrambles to find documents and update they're accounting system.
If you do your own taxes (Bless to you!) then look for tools that will talk to each other easily. For example, you can download a Quickbooks file right from PayPal for super-fast reconciliation at the end of every month. That alone will save you hours of “doing the books” and get you back to doing what you love.
Just putting these simple systems in place can easily save you 10+ hours per month, but the even larger benefit is that the money work will get done. And honestly what that will do for your cash flow is priceless.
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Sarah Parker Thomas