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Business Management &Finances &Time Management &Virtual Assistant Sydni Craig-Hart on 26 Mar 2010 01:44 pm

Use Accounting Systems to Streamline Your Finances

Dealing with the accounting aspect of your business is a necessary “evil” of being an entrepreneur.  Whether or not you are a “numbers” person, keeping accurate records, billing your clients and paying your taxes are tasks that you will need to handle regularly in order to stay profitable.

These weekly processes can be simple if you set up a system to handle them.  What is a system? It is simply a matter of documentation.  A system is documenting the steps you take to complete a task. For example, when you get ready to bill your clients each month, you may tally up the hours/tasks you completed for them, compile a report, prepare an invoice and bill their credit card.  What else do you do?  What software do you use to track your time? Do you have a format for the monthly report?  How do you prepare invoices? What steps do you take to bill their credit card?  If you have systems for billing, you will accomplish this monthly task in a matter of minutes.  If no systems are in place, it could result in hours of wasted time and much frustration.  (You could be using that time to make more money in your business or take a well-deserved break).

Here are a few tips on creating systems around your monthly financial tasks that will save you precious time, money and sanity:

  1. Document EVERY thing – Spend some time writing down each step of what you need to do to manage your finances.  This includes everything from billing clients, collecting payments, reconciling your bank statement and paying your taxes to everything in between.  Once you’ve identified each major task, then document each step it takes to complete that task.
  2. Analyze your process and eliminate time-wasters – Using the right tools can do much of this work for you. If you are currently managing these processes manually, you will greatly benefit from utilizing a tool like FreshBooks or QuickBooks Online. Remember, though, SIMPLE, is best.  If you try to use a program that is more than you really need, it can be confusing and overwhelming. Utilize technology that will save you time and energy, not one that will add more tasks to your to-do list.
  3. Get expert advice – Even if you manage your business finances on your own, you’ll do well to tap into the expert advice of a Bookkeeper and/or a CPA (Certified Public Accountant).  You’ll want to partner with a professional who specializes in working with small and micro businesses.  These individuals can provide priceless insight on how to create the best financial position for your circumstances.  They can also advise you on how to manage your accounting files and the related paper trail.
  4. Handle your accounting on the same day each week or each month – Once you’ve got your systems documented, schedule a recurring appointment on your calendar to maintain your business finances. This way you aren’t leaving this essential task to chance, thus risking your bookkeeping building up and your finances spinning out of control.
  5. Automate your billing – If you have clients on retainer, why not set them up on automated billing each month?  This can be done easily through a merchant account or even through PayPal.  You can plan your cash flow better as all of your payments will process on the same day and it makes for one less task on your to-do list.

With a little forethought, planning and implementing simple systems, managing the accounting needs of your business can be a painless, profitable exercise.

Want to use this article in your ezine or blog?  No problem!  Feel free to do so as long as you include the following bio:

Sydni Craig-Hart, The VA Success Coach™, is Founder of Executive Assistant to Virtual Assistant!, a company dedicated to providing Administrative Professionals with the support, tools and resources they need to create a highly successful, profitable Virtual Assistant business.  Visit www.VASuccessSecrets.com to listen to Sydni’s FREE audio class “How to Start and Grow A Profitable Virtual Assistant Business …In Less Than Six Months

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3 Responses to “Use Accounting Systems to Streamline Your Finances”

  1. on 26 Mar 2010 at 4:52 pm 1.Joanne said …

    That is great advice Sydni and I have found it to be immensly helpful. I use Freshbooks which is very easy to navigate and use with lots of tools and resources. They also have an auto-bill feature which streamlines the process even more. Less vendors to rememer the better for me!

    Joanne

  2. on 28 Apr 2010 at 5:08 pm 2.Deb said …

    Hi Sydni,

    Great article. Very well written. I defintely plan on sharing it with my audience, either on my blog or with facebook. Am a QB user myself, and find that to work best with small business, but would not have a problem sharing another system if it met a clients needs better. Which do you prefer Freshbooks or Quickbooks? Looking forward to reading your other articles!

    Deb

  3. on 28 Apr 2010 at 7:46 pm 3.Sydni Craig-Hart said …

    Thanks for the note and the feedback Deb! Feel free to share the post with your audience by either using a link back here to the post or using my resource box:

    Sydni Craig-Hart, The VA Success Coach™, is Founder of Executive Assistant to Virtual Assistant!, a company dedicated to providing Administrative Professionals with the support, tools and resources they need to create a highly successful, profitable Virtual Assistant business. Visit http://www.VASuccessSecrets.com to listen to Sydni’s FREE audio class “How to Start and Grow A Profitable Virtual Assistant Business…In Less Than Six Months”.

    I’m still using QuickBooks myself, but may consider switching over to Freshbooks soon as I’ve heard so many great things about it and they have awesome customer service. I called a while back to ask some questions and a live HUMAN answered the phone! Gotta love that! :)

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