When you run your own business there is always a lot to think about. There are so many different areas you need to get involved with including HR, marketing and finance. But some companies will specialise in these areas and are there to help you with your business. 
Being on top of your finances is a really important one because you can’t operate efficiently without being organised in this area. So, what do you need to think about and what should you be doing to ensure you’re in control? 
Here are our top 10 tips to help you with this. 
1. Create a clear business plan 
This will give you a focus on the activities you need to do to deliver your plan. It will also help you to stop doing anything that doesn’t contribute to this and determine your financial needs both in the short and long term. Essential for setting your budgets - how much money you need to deliver the activity, where it’s coming from plus what to expect in return. 
The majority of business plans create an effective strategy for growth and by measuring your activity you can determine your future financial needs. This puts you in a good position should you need to attract investors or speak to lenders. 
2. Contact HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) 
Whatever type of business you have, sole trader, limited company, LLP, you need to register it with HMRC. This is the organisation you pay your company and personal tax to on an annual basis. Depending on the size of your company and how you’re registered with HMRC, you’ll also pay VAT and National Insurance contributions. 
3. Focus on your sales and cashflow forecasts 
Both of these areas need to be considered carefully. Knowing how many sales you make will tell you how much money will come into the business. It will also inform your marketing budget because to achieve a certain level of sales you will need to spend money to attract customers. 
Cashflow is all about the flow of money in and out of the business. The number of sales you make versus how much money is going out, through expenses and running costs. This puts the focus back on keeping good financial records across the business so you can compare your forecasts against what is happening. 
4. Keep on top of your day to day costs 
Any money you spend that relates to the business you should be recording. This will include expenses incurred and running costs. What’s the difference? Expenses are items such as train travel, hotel accommodation or membership fees. Running costs relate to office rental, utilities for the building and office furniture. 
These are all costs you can reimburse against the business so really important to remember you have incurred them. Keeping regular, accurate records is essential because when you’re involved across the business, it’s easy to forget items. 
5. Log your business expenses 
An important activity for the business because it will help you understand where your money is going. It’s a great way to control your costs by identifying what you’re spending, where and how much. Implementing a simple process to do this will ensure it’s done regularly and will keep you on track. 
This can also work as your budgeting tool. If you understand your expenses you can curb any unnecessary spending and identify where savings can be made. It’s also helpful for your year-end accounts because all the information is ready for you to use. Nobody wants to sit down and go through a whole year’s expenses. 
6. Make use of making tax digital 
The government encourages all businesses to make use of digital record-keeping systems. These are available as software packages from companies such as Quickbooks, Zero and Sage. Designed to help you document all your financial transactions, these will track your expenses and give you an up to date view of your debtors or creditors. But you have to put the information on the system, so it’s a good idea to create a process to do this. 
7. Get your customers to pay on time 
Important to be upfront and honest with your customers about invoicing and payment terms. Having a good set of terms and conditions will help you with this. It details everything they need to know about doing business with you, reducing the risk of late or non-payments. 
Setting this up on your system will also enable you to prompt when the time for payment is getting close. Automatic reminders can be sent out and payments matched to invoices when they are received. 
8. Make sure you meet your tax deadlines 
There are always tax deadlines in a business, so not meeting these can cause you stress and it’s not an issue that will simply go away. This is why it’s important to be organised and remain up to date with logging all your financial information. 
When you’re busy running the business this can be a challenge because it’s detailed information that needs recording. Using a Bookkeeper can be a huge help in this area, it’s what they’re trained to do. They can also give you advance notice of how much tax you’re likely to pay which is something else you can plan for. 
9. Build a strong team around you 
Key functions within a business can be outsourced to other companies. Always a good idea to build good relationships with other specialists who may be able to help you now or in the future. It will free up your time to focus on running your business. 
An example here is using a good quality Bookkeeper. The service they provide is to manage the completion of detailed record keeping of all your finances. Giving you the opportunity for regular reporting based on accurate and up to date figures. 
10. Prepare for the submission of your financial statements 
You can’t submit your financial statements to HMRC without being prepared. If you’ve been using a Bookkeeper they will have collated all this data over the year. Daily transactions such as sales, running costs, expenses and payroll will be recorded. 
Producing accurate records such as these will give you a picture of how the business is performing. Profit and loss statements, balance sheets as well as cash flow statements can be created. These all tell a story but it also puts you in a great position to complete your annual financial statement on time. 
Have you ever used a Bookkeeper, what was your experience?  
If you would like help or a review of what you are currently doing, please contact me. 
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