Can your business finances be rainbows and sunshine?

By Katie Marshall

For many of us making the decision of going into business ourselves was not a decision we made lightly. I know for myself I constantly told anyone who would listen I would never work for myself even though I had a small side business whilst working full time in a corporate financial planning role. Over the years I have had and still have a number of family and friends who worked for themselves and whilst they did have more freedom than I had in my 9 to 5 role they did have enormous amounts more stress than I would ever have. 

You see I would have my pay deposited directly into my bank account without fail every Thursday. I didn’t have to worry about working out when I was going to find time to do the all important invoicing, when I was going to chase up those who owed me money and I never had to worry about organising my bills to work out who had to be paid first and who could wait a few weeks until one of my clients finally paid their invoice which was now well overdue. 

So even though the allure of being able to take a few hours off here and there that I didn’t have the luxury of doing in my corporate roll never outweighed the constant stress that I watched my family and friends go through being self-employed.

From experience with my family and friends there was three main problems that stood out and turned me off becoming self employed which included:

1. Long Hours doing paperwork - From invoicing at all hours of the night and weekends, to being behind on their bookkeeping and overrun with receipts, requirements from the ATO such as Business Activity Statement completions not to mention end of year tax returns and the looming notion of an ATO audit at any time.

2. Constant battle to have your invoices paid - They had completed the job, provided the good/s and or service and still had to wait to have their invoice paid. Further time was spent worrying about when the client was going to pay and in many instances if the client was going to pay

3. Constant Stress - Not only from the above two points but also from family and friends who are missing out on quality time with you because you are so stressed.

My world changed when I came across the cloud based accounting program Xero. Whilst there are many cloud based accounting programs, Xero was the one which converted me from being the ‘I’m never working for myself’ type person to the happy and content self employed person I am today. 

Now I understand to many it sounds ridiculous that a cloud based program let alone a accounting program changed my steadfast view on self employment and there are a number of reasons how it did just that. I believed, like my self employed family and friends, that stress free finances was a myth, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that small business owners no matter how many hours they worked would never reach. It was the ultimate illusion.

So how can you can you reach that pot of gold?

1. Action: You need to take action, you need to put your finances (both business and personal) as your top priority list as without it your business will not survive or if it does survive chances are your health will suffer due to the stress of your disorganised finances. 

My suggestion is always to decide what stress free finances means to you? 

● Does it mean you outsource your bookkeeping?

● Does it mean you  hire someone in house to fill this role? 

● Does it mean you find solutions which will systemise your receipts, invoicing, reconciliation and follow up of outstanding invoices to name a few so that these tasks are completed and you have more stress free time?

2. Review: You need to review your current process to see how much time you are currently spending on each tasks or are you leaving it till the last minute to get these task completed.

●  receipts

● invoicing

● bank reconciliations 

● chasing outstanding invoices

● Business Activity Statement (BAS)

● End of Year Tax

● Other general duties related to your business finances

3. Engage: You need to engage the services of a cloud bookkeeper who specialises in cloud integration also. Someone who will 

spend time not only asking you about your current bookkeeping processes but also about what your business does and how you currently do it. 

Someone who is knowledgeable in the area of Add-Ons that could help streamline your processes further than you could ever imagine. Someone who is interested in setting your business up for financial success rather than just for compliance to your ATO obligations

As a small business owner I have been able to grow my business far quicker through the use of a number of Add-Ons which without them would have meant I would be working really long hours of I would have had to employ someone to cover some of the administration tasks. 

For example, the Receipt Bank Add-On allows me to update Xero with all the details of all of my expenses without me having to do data entry - at all. Now I know it seems odd that someone who offers bookkeeping services as part of her suite of services doesn’t do data entry but with the click of a button Receipt Bank will take a photo of the receipt, upload the information directly into Xero and attach a copy of the receipt to the transaction so when I am audited by the ATO the receipt is right there for them to view without be having to find the box where I have stored those receipts from years ago. One simple Add-On program can not only remove data entry from my life but can also reduce the chances of a fine from the ATO down the track for not having a legible receipt for them to cross check to my account.

Stress Free Finances for small business owners doesn’t have to be a myth, it can be the norm, you just need to decide which  side you would prefer to be on. 

Founded by Katie Marshall, Efficient Business Services evolved from years of working with small business owners in her corporate role as a Financial Planner and seeing clients make poor decisions in their business because they didn’t have accurate or up to date figures. 

She has chosen the side with the rainbows and sunshine and she's happy to show you how you can too. Feel free to call her on 0481 112 834 or email katie@efficientbusinessservices.com.au to book in your complimentary 30 minute discovery session to discuss your business and your goals. You can also find Katie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

Photo Credit: Unsplash