5 Zen Money E$$entials to Grow Your Biz
Do you feel overwhelmed when it comes to knowing what to do and when with your finances? I hear this from people All. The. Time!
When it comes to our books & record-keeping, we can find ourselves second-guessing.
“I’m not sure what to do because I don’t want to make a mistake.”
I promise it does not have to be that way! It’s actually pretty easy to free yourself from the weight of taking care of your finances, stop spinning your wheels, and stop feeling paralyzed when it comes to your money.
By looking at your biz numbers & finances more holistically, and being systematic about your daily bookkeeping activities, you’ll quickly find that things flow more smoothly and you can spend more time focused on what you love in your business.
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
If I had a favorite word, this one might be it! Consistency is key when it comes to staying on top of your bookkeeping tasks. It will always beat sporadic accounting and reporting, hands-down.
The ticket to staying on track is to map out a calendar of your financial tasks, and then stick with it.
Once a day, you can check in on your cash situation. It might seem like overkill, but try it for a week or two! Pull up your bank accounts, and credit cards on a daily basis and make sure everything is in order.
This is a great way to make sure that nothing is slipping through the cracks, and can help you get a clear picture on what you have to work with, especially if things are tight and you’re nervous about missing payments or bouncing a check.
This is where the real biz work happens. But don’t worry, these four steps, when completed regularly each week, should take you no more than 30-60 minutes to complete if you’re a solo-preneur or small biz with a small team working in the online space. Obviously, this estimate can swing dramatically if you have a ton of clients, transactions, and/or vendors in your business, so take that with a grain of salt. I can say, however, that people are generally surprised how little time caretaking our money actually takes when we do it regularly!
- Invoice clients or make sure automatic credit card payments are processing correctly.
- Pay any vendor bills or verify credit card payments.
- Receive and record income and expense payments in your accounting system.
- File your financial receipts, save signed contracts, and generally make sure your records are in order.
Many people find it useful to timeblock this out and earmark an hour for #FinanceFriday. I also work with many clients who give themselves a small treat or fun “play” activity to look forward to when they complete these tasks. Whatever motivates you!
Put a reminder in your calendar, and strive to sit down with your numbers every week. When it comes to tax prep time, you (and your accountant) will thank you!
If you’re staying on track with your weekly bookkeeping tasks, your month-end tasks will be a lot easier and only take a few extra minutes. This is when you review your accounts receivable and send statements, compare your bank and credit card statements (making sure they match what you have in your accounting system), and review your monthly income and expenses.
These things will help you to see how much you made and spent during the month and help you to really keep your finger on the pulse of how your business is doing, on the regular. A lot can be learned by looking at your ins and outs month over month. You might be surprised by how well you’re actually doing!
Quarterly tasks are easy to forget, because they only occur four times a year (typically March, June, September & December). I find it helpful to mark these in my calendar as recurring reminders so that I don’t miss important deadlines and wake up in a panic wondering if I am forgetting to do something.
Be sure to pay your estimated taxes (if required) to avoid any additional fees. If you’re in the habit of simply paying your taxes on a yearly basis note that in the U.S., a quick rule of thumb says that you’re responsible for paying quarterly estimated income taxes if you’ll owe at least $1,000 in federal income taxes. (There’s more to it, of course, so be sure to check the details here.)
This is definitely an area you do not want to overlook because you can get hit with penalties. I want to spare you of those so you can keep that cash in your pocket!
If you run payroll in your business, we have quarterly reporting requirements, so make sure you’re staying on top of those, too.
Once a quarter is also a great time to take a step back and look at your overall progress in the year. Are you where you expected ¼, ½, or ¾ of the way through? If not, do your goals need to shift? What can you do to get back on track? (Hint: reviewing your offers & pricing once a quarter is a great activity to put on your calendar.)
On a Yearly Basis
Once you get into the practice of being consistent (there is my favorite word again) with your bookkeeping & financial review, your annual tasks will become far less daunting! I like to start these in December so that I am not scrambling around last minute trying to get them all done. (I’m actually known for being super ahead of the game in year end work simply because I hate having it hanging over my and my clients’ collective heads.)
At the end of each year and beginning of the New Year, you should spend some time:
- Developing a Budget
- Filing Your Annual Reports
- Prepping for Your Accountant
- Filing Taxes
- Recording Any Adjustments
Think of this as your time to ensure all of the pillars of your financial house are solidly planted and everything’s in order as you prepare to enter the coming year.
Setting up a regular time to keep an eye on your books will make your year-end a whole lot easier!
The Big Picture
This may seem like a lot, but if you make a point of staying on top of these accounting activities, you will be in great financial shape! You’ll also be able to face your finances with more confidence, which is my primary wish for you. The key is to start small with your daily and weekly habits. We’re all required to do them for our businesses, so we might as well make things as easy as possible, right?
I find that by checking in with your numbers daily or weekly, you’ll be far more likely to take care of your monthly tasks, stay on top of quarterly payments, and feel good heading into tax season at the end of the year.
With consistent effort and attention, your financial garden will BLOOM!
Want guidance on mapping out your financial process and streamlining this part of your biz? Grab your Zen Money Accelerator Advantage to get started with my top 5 time-tested checklists, cheat sheets, and templates to help you navigate your money management. Download your kit here.
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