photo credit: businessnewsdaily.com
There’s something about starting your own business – or going into business for yourself – that nobody told you. You’re going to have to find a phenomenal accounting solution that you understand, and even enjoy using.
If you’re like most small business owners, you may not even be business minded! You may very well be a creative type, an artist, a free-spirited salesperson who just wants to sell organic cookies or free-range yoga classes or inspiring life coaching sessions. While you certainly want to make money, you certainly do not want to headache of dealing with it.
But how many startups can afford to hire a full time accountant? When you’re just getting started, you may not even be able to afford to hire someone to do your taxes (Two-hundred whole dollars? Are you serious?!)
We’ve been there. And you’re in luck. Thankfully, today it’s totally possible to find an accounting solution for your small business that is user-friendly, affordable, and keeps you focused on your business itself, instead of your business’s finances. But successful accounting requires more than just choosing some accounting software or signing up for a cloud-based application. The following steps will help you create lasting habits that will keep your finances – and your spirits – in good health.
1. Get in the Habit
A budget meeting? You?
While the thought of having a meeting about accounting stuff – even with yourself – may feel way too corporate to you, it’s an essential accounting solution for your business. Call it whatever you want, but having daily, weekly or monthly check-in sessions about your finances is essential to maintaining a budget and planning your future.
If “budget meeting” or “accounting session” scares the bejesus out of you, try these names on for size:
- Monday Morning Money Madness
- Rolling in Dough
- Accounting for Abundance
- It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby
During these sessions, check out your overall status. What are you spending, and where? What is your projected income for the next month? The next quarter? What are your estimated profits?
By getting real about where you are, you’ll be able to meet your goals and move forward into the abundant abyss.
2. Go Shopping!
It’s time to choose the software or application that will act as your personal accounting solution and personal assistant. Nowadays there are cloud-based apps that let you track your spending, analyze your income, and create budgets while you’re on the go. Many of them also offer digital receipt functions and cool graphs that give you an instant snapshot of your spending.
3. Speak the Language
How are you going to evaluate your COA is you don’t even know what that is? Accounting is filled with weird lingo: chart of accounts, accrued expenses, accumulated depreciation…and while you may not necessarily need to memorize a dictionary of accounting teams, you do need to have a basic foundation of knowledge from which to work.
For a comprehensive list of accounting terms and their definitions, click here.
You can also check out a Small Business Development Center for help. SBDCs are run by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and offer small business owners help with everything from developing a business plan to – you guessed it – accounting.
4. Go for Coffee
Or a cocktail. Get a drink with a fellow self-employed rock star or small business owner. Find out what they use for an accounting solution, and which software or cloud-based services they’ve tried. Ask them what they wish they knew when they were first starting out. You could also ask
- Do you have an accountant? How did you find them?
- How did you decide whether to become a sole proprietor, an LLC or an independent contractor?
- How often to you examine your finances, and what do you look for?
- Which software or applications do you use, and what do you like about them?
- What do I need to know about paying quarterly taxes?
By giving your accounting life some love, you’ll be able to focus on what really matters – designing the most eco-friendly dresses the world has ever seen. (Or saving the planet, one organic cookie at a time).