Dealing with the money side of running a business is hard. In fact, it sucks. Every week, Andi Smiles, small business financial consultant and recovering financial hot mess, answers real questions from real business owners about their money. If your business finances have you scratching your head and saying WTF, this podcast is for you.
How the heck do you wrap your head around the bookkeeping stuff?
One of the most asked questions I receive is how to wrap your head around all of the bookkeeping stuff. It’s the most overwhelming and daunting task for most business owners and yet, it’s not indicative of how good (or bad) you are with money. Bookkeeping doesn’t have to do anything with math if you use a digital program and can become a very easy task once you flex your bookkeeping muscle and put it into practice. I’m giving you some actionable tips today to tackle bookkeeping head on and master your skills!
Get ready to flex your bookkeeping muscle!
What we’re talking about
Master Your Bookkeeping Skills With Step Zero How To Build Your Bookkeeping Skills Knowing When To Get Outside Help Master Your Bookkeeping Skills With Step Zero
In order to master your bookkeeping skills, I suggest you start with step zero - making a list of what you’re having a hard time doing. Start by getting more organized and figuring out your first step. The more clear you get on what you don’t know, the easier it will be to create a path to get there.
Create a list of knowledge gaps, but recognize that it’s ok not to know it all. Don’t judge yourself. Figure out what you should work on first and base it on priority. The priority should be starting with what the first thing you could learn that will help you put in perspective the rest of the things on your list.
How To Build Your Bookkeeping Skills
Imagine the skill of bookkeeping as a ladder, but instead of the rungs being a foot apart, they’re only an inch or centimeter apart and you’re able to move slowly up it. Focus on learning one skill at a time and start with what will make every step along the way easier.
Once you learn a new skill, record the process so that you can remember it and implement more with future skills.
Your first skill should be to record your income and expenses. This will be the first part of your skillset because it does the pre-work for the next knowledge gap you will fill. Keep in mind that you won’t perfect this skill right away, but with time and practice, you’ll gain confidence and the skill will become routine and easeful.
Knowing When To Get Outside Help
If there’s something you can’t learn on your own, know that there are resources available. You can start with a Google search, find a bookkeeper or have someone do file reviews for you. They will share with you what you don’t know. Prepare yourself to need more support in the beginning because it will be easier as you learn new skills. Flex your bookkeeping knowledge and exercise it. You won’t learn what you need to learn if you aren’t engaged and doing it.
Are you ready to flex your bookkeeping muscle?
Essential Bookkeeping Tasks for Your Business
The Complete Guide to Bookkeeping for Small Business Owners https://andismiles.com/2018/07/30/the-complete-guide-to-small-business-bookkeeping-for-small-business-owners/
6 Bookkeeping Mistakes that are Screwing Up Your Finances https://andismiles.com/2018/08/06/6-bookkeeping-mistakes-that-are-screwing-up-your-finances/
How to Track Your Business Income Correctly https://andismiles.com/2018/11/19/how-to-track-your-business-income-correctly/
How do you keep yourself motivated with your business finances?
Staying motivated as an entrepreneur and business owner can be hard, but staying motivated when it comes to your finances can be even more difficult.
Today we are talking about how to stay on top of your business finances and stay motivated. Discover how knowing your numbers will increase your comfort level and make the task of doing your numbers will come with ease and comfort. I’m sharing some tips and tricks on how you can also avoid falling back into the pattern of avoiding the business financial stuff too!
It’s time to get motivated and enjoy doing your business finances!
What we’re talking about
How To Stay On Top Of Your Business Finances Taking A Proactive Stance With Your Business Finances Creating An Accountability System To Stay On Track How To Stay On Top Of Your Business Finances
In order to stay on top of your business finances, you need to take the first step in figuring out what motivates you AND works for you. The obvious answer would be regularity. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Regularity is how you feel emotionally around the task of your business finances and with it comes a sense of ease.
One reason people aren’t motivated to deal with their business finances is because it can be overwhelming. It can become so overwhelming that business owners and entrepreneurs might question their career choice because of the time it takes to handle their finances.
With an increase in ease there will also be more openness and willingness to take care of the tasks you need to complete. Regularity is the key!
Taking A Proactive Stance With Your Business Finances
One of the best ways to create ease when it comes to your business finances is to set up a system for your numbers. Utilize a template that will create a profit and loss report for you. By looking at your numbers, you will build the skills to analyze your numbers which will allow you to go from looking, observing and asking questions, to knowing the questions to ask before looking at your numbers. This is taking a proactive stance because you really understand what’s going on with your business finances.
Creating An Accountability System To Stay On Track
Now that you have a better grasp on how to stay motivated when it comes to your business finances, let’s talk about how you can stay motivated. You should understand what triggers your pattern of avoidance, but don’t make it a shame game or get down on yourself. Explore this with curiosity and compassion because knowing the trigger of the pattern is ultimately more important than knowing the actual pattern.
Set yourself up for success by picking the best day that works for you to review your numbers. Experiment with it to see what is the best and understand your behaviors enough to be able to stop them before they start.
Create accountability. You can hold yourself accountable (internal accountability) and even reward yourself with something external, such as a glass of wine. You are the person holding yourself accountable. You could alternatively opt for an external accountability option in which someone else holds you accountable. This outside person could be someone you pay, a business friend, a regular friend, or a group. The key in external accountability is to declare your intentions and follow up to ensure you are held accountable.
Examples to set up for success. Pick the day that works best for you. Be willing to experiment. Understand your behaviors enough to be able to stop them before they start. Identify the type of accountability that works for you.
Are you ready to hold yourself accountable for staying motivated in your business finances?
Free Profit & Loss Template + Bookkeeping Spreadsheet
Episode #27 What are the top 5 things business owners should be tracking? https://andismiles.com/
How do you deal with collecting money from clients?
As a business owner, one thing we all have to deal with is how to collect money from clients for our products and services. Today we are discussing how you to deal with collecting money from clients, otherwise known as collections or accounts receivable or A/R. We’re going to start with how to create expectations from the very start with your clients to defining your payment terms and what to do if a client ends up not paying you at all. I’m covering what forms of communication you can utilize and how long you should wait, along with how kindness can go a long way.
Let’s collect your money!
What we’re talking about
Creating Expectations For Your Clients Defining Your Payment Terms What Do You Do If A Client Doesn’t Pay On Time? Creating Expectations For Your Clients
Creating expectations for your clients on your payment terms should start well before your first invoice is sent to them. You should set up the parameters and boundaries in your initial call, your contract and your onboarding emails, so that your client is informed and fully understands your payment expectations. You can share your payment terms during your onboarding call, your discovery call, within your workflow and in your contract. In addition to the payment terms, you should inform your client as to what your billing process is. How often will you bill? When will you bill? How long will they have to pay your invoice? Define your payment terms or how long they have to pay you from when they receive your invoice.
Defining Your Payment Terms
One of the biggest parts of collecting money from your clients is defining what your payment terms are. They can vary from due on receipt which means the invoice is due as soon as it is received or you could offer payment terms of 7 days, 14 days, 30 days or more. Keep in mind that if you work with large corporate clients, they might need 30 day terms due to the size of their accounting department and internal processes.
When defining your payment terms, consider your own cash flow and when you need money to come in. If all of your payment terms are 30-60 days, remember that is how long you will have to wait to be paid for your services and in some cases, even longer if a client is late.
In addition to payment terms, define your billing process. When will you bill your client: before, midway, after or a combination of when the work is done?
What Do You Do If A Client Doesn’t Pay On Time?
You’ve defined your payment terms, sent your invoice and the due date is quickly approaching, but your client hasn’t sent you a payment. What is the consequence if they go past the due date and don’t pay you according to the terms? Most often, business owners apply a late payment fee which can be a flat fee or a percentage of the invoice. There is also such a thing as a rolling late fee in which a percentage is charged after being so many days late and accrues as the days continue. The late fee is meant to be a deterrent from paying late, not to be a money making scheme for you.
As a courtesy to clients, send them a reminder a day or two before the invoice is due and reiterate what the late payment policy is. Once the invoice is overdue and the late policy has been applied, send them another reminder restating the late policy to ensure that your client is aware of what’s going on. You can reset the deadline but the next due date should be a shorter time frame than your original deadline.
If you still don’t receive payment, then escalate things with a phone call, but show concern that all is ok with them and their business. Come at this entire process with kindness.
If payment is never received then you can either come to terms with the fact that you’ll never receive payment and let it go. You can use a private collections agency, but remember that they will take a fee of whatever they col
How do you prepare for unexpected business costs?
As a business owner you are bound to have unexpected expenses come up at some point, but are you ready for it? How do you prepare for unexpected business costs? These costs could be big or small and being prepared to take any kind of financial hit is something that we want to prepare for as best we can. We’re going to discuss how you can ensure you’re not only prepared for costs throughout the year, but how to save for the rainy day that could pop up.
It’s time to prepare for the unexpected!
What we’re talking about
Foreseeing Unexpected Costs What Costs Will Impact You? Pre-Thinking About Your Solution The Importance of Building A Savings Foreseeing Unexpected Costs
One of the best ways to prepare for unexpected costs is to foresee them coming. If you thought I was going to say save, then I’m sure you’re surprised by my strategy. Although saving is great and should be a part of your business, if you can’t save right now, then foreseeing expenses is going to be your starting point.
Make a list of all of your annual, bi-annual and every 2 year expenses. If you are using an bookkeeping software, then enter these expenses into your system and do so in advance of when the payment will be due. This will give you cushion room because you know these expenses are upcoming. You will be able to see the impact on your bank balance and utilize this as a cash flow tool.
What Costs Will Impact You?
The next way to prepare for unexpected expenses is deciding on what expenses would actually impact you. Create a list of all kinds of expenses, both big and small from a phone charger to a new laptop. Decide what your cost threshold will be. What kind of costs will make you feel stressed or unprepared? Identify these costs and the type of expenses that could come out of them, then decide which expenses would actually be necessary for you to run your business.
Pre-Thinking About Your Solution
The last step to preparing for the unexpected is to pre-think about the solution. You shouldn’t think about the solution only when the cost arises. our first time thinking about the solution to this unexpected expense should not be when it first happens.
One solution for an expense such as needing a new laptop would be to utilize an old one until you can afford a new one. Consider different ways you could handle the same situation. Come up with solutions that cost money or don’t and figure out what our options might be instead of waiting for your actions to be activated financially.
The Importance of Building A Savings
Let’s also talk about savings. You should already be saving for your taxes as long as you have a profit, but you should also focus on building your business emergency fund. I’m a fan of diversifying my savings model and automating it through my bank. You can do this on a weekly, monthly or bi-weekly basis. Build a cash reserve in your business.
There are two methods to savings. The first is through your bank with large, substantial amounts on a monthly basis. This would be macro-savings. The other method is to micro-save through savings apps, such as Qapital or Digital Savings. Micro-saving is saving smaller amounts such as $0.60 or $3 per day. I am a fan of pairing macro-savings with micro-savings!
Are you building a cash reserve and preparing for the unexpected?
Qapital savings app
Digit savings app
Episode 24: How do I save more in my business and when should I invest? https://andismiles.com/podcasts/e24/
How To Build A Business Emergency Fund Quickly And Easily https://andismiles.com/2019/04/10/business-savings/
How to Save in Your Business Even if You’re Broke https://andismiles.com/2018/04/09/how-to-save-in-your-business-even-if-youre-broke/
How to Automate your Tax Savings with Qapital https
Is QuickBooks Online better than Wave?
When deciding what accounting software to use, it can be confusing and hard to compare one to another without diving in and actually using them. I have used several, and today we’re going to compare two I have used and have quite a bit of experience with. No one wants to make this seemingly daunting task any harder than it has to be, and I’m going to share a couple time hacks to help you make it even faster! We’ll talk about how each of these cloud based systems can feel almost automatic once you’ve set things up the way you’d like, how to integrate each of these with the platform you sell from, and how to know which one is best for you, because December 31st isn’t the only time you should be looking at your numbers and reports.
Are you using the accounting software that’s best for your business?
What we’re talking about
It’s Almost Automated - Two Cloud Based Accounting Software Systems Integrations With Your Selling Platform Thinking Long Term - Which Will Serve You Best It’s Almost Automated - Two Cloud Based Accounting Software Systems
Most people aren’t thinking of what accounting software they want to use when they start their business. It’s something that happens over time, out of necessity, unless you’re a numbers geek like me, and enjoy that kind of thing. So, it may come as a pleasant surprise to find out that QuickBooks Online (not to be confused with any of the other QuickBooks products) and Wave are both able to automatically download your bank transactions, sales, refunds, etc. and load it into your accounting system. Both are cloud based, and you can access the information in your system from their website, as well as their app.
Integrations With Your Selling Platform
The last thing you want when you’ve got a booming business is to worry about the tedious task of entering each sale, breaking out the sales tax, and fees from collecting the money from the invoice. While Wave, a free accounting software system has some integrations that work with various selling platforms such as Etsy, Square, etc. But QuickBooks Online, although it’s a paid accounting software system, has many more platforms it integrates with. This is something you’ll want to check into before making the final decision of which system to ultimately go with.
Thinking Long Term - Which Will Serve You Best
Free always sounds good, but when deciding on which software system to choose, the thing you want to keep in mind is what your long term goals are. Will you have multiple locations? Do you need your expense categories subdivided? How detailed do your reports need to be? Which system works with the platform that brings in the most money for you? Is the free software worth the amount of time it will take you to manually do some of the functions the paid one does automatically? Don’t forget that the cost of the system can be expensed out!
Is QuickBooks Online Right For You?
Which Version of QuickBooks Online is Right for You?
The Best Integrations to Streamline QuickBooks Online
How to Use the QuickBooks Online App to Stay on Top of Your Bookkeeping
How do I get back on track if I've been slacking on my bookkeeping?
We are halfway through 2020 and in addition to being busy with COVID-19 and combating social injustices, some business owners are also realizing they are behind in their bookkeeping. I feel your pain because I’ve been there as well and it’s nothing to be ashamed of because it’s actually not uncommon. Your bookkeeping should be a focus now though so that you aren’t going into the last quarter of the year needing to catch up even more. Let’s dive into how you can catch up on many months of your bookkeeping!
Get ready to get back on track with your bookkeeping!
What we’re talking about
Assessing What Needs To Get Done In Your Bookkeeping Doing The Prep Work - Have What You Need Before You Start Getting Started With A Method For Your Bookkeeping Batching Your Work - Macro Batching and Micro Batching Last Steps To Catching Up On Your Bookkeeping Assessing What Needs To Get Done In Your Bookkeeping
Before you work on all that you need to catch up on, you need to assess what needs to get done. Identify all of the components of your bookkeeping that are undone, including what accounts you need to do. Start off by making a list of them. Write out all of your accounts, such as your bank accounts, Venmo, PayPal, and credit cards. Any type of account in which there is a transaction should be included.
Once you have your accounts listed out, focus on things you track, such as mileage, home office expenses, split expenses, such as your cell phone, internet, and cash receipts. You will need to include all of these items in order to get caught up!
Doing The Prep Work - Have What You Need Before You Start
You now have a list of everything you will need, so next you need to gather your materials. Have everything you need to do the work before you start on it. If you are using your bank statements, you need to download them year-to-date. If you’re using QuickBooks, make sure your bank is connected and update the system, so that your statements download properly. If you don’t want to download everything, have your login details available and finish the prep work a day or week before to save time.
Getting Started With A Method For Your Bookkeeping
We have now reached the doing phase of things! You have what you need and you know what needs to get done. Most people will want to do month-to-month which is a great method if you have one month to do. If you need to catch up on a lot of months, you’ll be switching between too many accounts and it breaks the flow. Try batching by account, not month and only focus on one account at a time.
Batching Your Work - Macro Batching and Micro Batching
Macro batching is high level batching in which we focus on one account at a time. You will have a variety of deposits, checks, and transactions, so I suggest you focus on one account at a time. It’s going to be easier to have your checking account on your screen and to look at all of your check images at once, rather than to toggle between multiple accounts. This is breaking up the work, by breaking up the accounts.
Micro-batching is working within each account. An example of working in the account is by doing all of the deposits at once. Start by tackling all of the easy transactions at once followed by all of the recurring subscriptions that are easy for you to categorize or type in. To make this even easier, you can sort alphabetically in QuickBooks. Next, focus on the checks at once so you can look at images at once and not have to search for numbers. Finally, work on your Venmo transactions at once since you have to log into your Venmo account to access the details.
Last Steps To Catching Up On Your Bookkeeping
The last step is to do easy stuff. Skip the hard stuff or things you have questions about. If there’s research that needs to be involved in which you have to exit from what you’re currently doing
Customer ReviewsSee All
Andi’s Podcasts are very informative because she breaks it down into terms that every one can understand!! If you need help or even if you don’t her Podcasts can teach you something you didn’t know before listening to them!! I wasn’t that motivated on anything that has to do with money except for making it and spendibg it but now I’m glad to start doing my financial paperwork for my business because of her Podcasts and her excited demeanour about getting every body the information that they need in their business!!
THANK YOU ANDI!!
Love the Nuggets of Gold!
I have been a fan of Andi’s videos for years and happy that now their’s a podcast I can also listen to while walking or hanging out in my home office. Andi’s advice has helped me to understand how money works in business and make it fun plus build in better habits!
Great for starting a new business
This has been incredibly helpful for me understanding the financial parts of setting up a business, going into things I’ve heard about but didn’t understand