And I Repeat…

I don’t blog often ‘cuz rhapsodizing about efficient office systems and how a P&L is a fantastic tool for running your business doesn’t do it for most folks and I have been advised not to bore people with the joy it brings me.

But today is April 14th (Aargh!!) and the first 2018 tax filing is tomorrow, or if you live in Massachusetts or Maine, Wednesday, April 17; and I am thinking about the reason you haven’t filed.

Could be any number of things. Could be you just don’t wanna. Could be you want to take a bit more time to review your information. Could be you need a new accountant.

First, file an extension  and breathe a bit.

Ok. Now let’s take a look at what’s up. Are you not ready because your information hasn’t been completed for 2018? That’s what is often the case with many of the business owner’s and solo entrepreneurs I speak with. It’s not that they don’t want to be ready. Every year they plan on getting everything in place so they can have this task checked off before the deadline, it’s just that they don’t have the time to take care of their day-to-day administrative tasks.

So, I am about to beat that drum again. Acknowledge the need and hire help. I know it doesn’t feel like it but it doesn’t mean that you lose control of your business.

The secret is to hire a person you trust to take care of the day-to-day administrative needs. And by day-to-day, I don’t mean that you need to hire a full-time or even every-week part-time employee. If your business is crazy busy and generates lots of paperwork, or you want to have someone available to answer phones then yes… hire someone for daily assistance. That doesn’t mean they have to be full-time, though.

First, figure out everything you need to be done but can no longer handle yourself during your normal business hours. Part of the consideration for bringing on staff (employee or a freelance worker like me) should be that you will get your evenings and weekends back. That would be lovely, yes?

So, you have the list. No? Can’t think of everything that gets done because it is always on the fly?

Let me get you started. In no particular order…

– Answering voice messages and returning phone calls
– Reviewing and replying to email requests for services
– Reviewing and replying to client emails
– Reviewing email for vendor bills
– Paying bills
– Invoicing clients
– Tracking outstanding monies due to you
– Ordering supplies for your services
– Ordering office supplies
– Reviewing time sheets and handling payroll
– Ordering uniforms
– Marketing
– Filing

That’s quite a list. Did you know you were taking care of all of that… and probably more things unique to your business? Of course you did, because you have been doing it all.

So let’s take a look again. What can you hand off without losing control of your business? How about almost everything.

It’s all about systems, training and hiring the right person.

Sounds like I think it’s easy but I can assure you that I know it is not. And depending on where you are in your business, it can take time to get it right. But you can get it right and once that happens, you can comfortably take your business where you want it to go and, get more of your personal life back.

How do you do it? One step at a time.

I know… How cliché is that? It is, however true. It can take time but each step will get you closer to your goal.

Don’t know where to start? Drop me a note and we can chat. I love helping businesses grow and owner’s keep their joy.

Just a thought.

 

A bit of help

I’ve been contacted by several owners lately who are looking for assistance organizing their businesses. Part of that organizing will include bookkeeping but the real need is to get systems in place that will make it easier to stay on top of the day-to-day, week-to-week business needs.

When money is tight, the temptation is to believe you can do it yourself. And you can, but often at the cost of your business. If you are the face or key employee providing labor or services, it isn’t a good use of your time to take care of the general administrative tasks. And the truth is, if you could, you would already be doing it.

The next time you are working on your budget. (You have an annual budget, right?) Include a line for office assistance. Then imagine what you can do with those extra 4 to 20 hours you get back each month. Grow your business? Spend time with family and friends. A new hobby?

Sounds nice, doesn’t it.

Just a thought

Kim at KC Solutions

It’s in the details

I subscribe to the Grammarly blog. I think words are fun and interesting and find these posts are always a good read. One that I recently read was titled “10 Biggest Leadership Mistakes You Really Should Avoid”,
( https://www.grammarly.com/blog/leadership-mistakes/) a 2017 GlassDoor post. It piqued my interest and upon reading it I couldn’t help but notice several of the items are applicable to my preferred client, the very small business owner. Folks who have less than 10 employees or just themselves.

The one that jumped out at me was number 2, “Forgetting about the details”.

It isn’t that most small business owners forget about the details, it’s that they just don’t have the time to get organized enough to identify those tasks that should be handed off, or hand off tasks but don’t schedule a time to sit down with the task owner to review the process or get an update.

Sometimes in an effort to build our business or maintain our business, we forget that it is our business. It is a temptation to put complete trust in the person who handles your week-to-week administrative responsibilities. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are, you’re ready to take the next step. You find the right person or company and even if they don’t understand the service or product you provide, they have a clear understanding of the administrative needs and the skills to get to get you where you want to go.

Now comes that big sigh of relief. There is someone else to help you share the burden of getting those tasks done: bill paying, invoicing, payroll, HR support, office supply or inventory stocking and all those other pesky tasks. You can get back to the computer or in the field or on the phone and do that thing that you do best and for which you are well compensated (or will be soon because you have taken that next step). Or even better, you can start having some personal time in your life again, (no worries – I’m not linking to my Joy blog post).

Here’s the thing; you need to make sure that you schedule the time to stay on top of the tasks you handed off. You don’t have to micro-manage, just remain aware of the status of things and be available for questions. It is your business and if you are a very small business it is likely that you have been doing it all. That makes you the greatest resource for information about your processes. It doesn’t necessarily need to be face-to-face; although I recommend a face-to-face meeting at least once a month or quarter depending on the type of work being done by your new administrative support staff, you should make sure there is a regular communication channel available.

It may not feel like it when you starting your workday with a 7 am meeting with your bookkeeper or office manager or spend part of your evening reviewing a report requesting answers to missing information or the Deeds and Needs email sent for your reading pleasure, but the time needed to stay in touch with your support staff goes a very long way towards the success of your business.

Just a thought.

Balance Sheets – keeping track of the big picture

I’ve been thinking a lot about balance sheets lately. They have so much valuable information about your company’s financial health and I am often surprised by how many business owners don’t use them.

A balance sheet is often described as “a snapshot of a company’s financial condition” And how cool is that – having all that information in one place.

If you have set up your books correctly, you should always have a balance sheet. Almost every business has a checking account. credit card, or line of credit. All of those items show up as liabilities on the balance sheet. If your company owns vehicles, buildings, large equipment; those items show up as assets. It is the document that can give you a long=term view of your company and a possible buyer or investor its value. It’s where you track your cash contributions (owner investments) to make sure that you are reimbursed when you sell your company.

Setting it up shouldn’t be a slap-dash casual thing. You should have a conversation with your tax accountant about those items that will be depreciated or whether there are long-term liabilities and how you will record your owner’s draws and investments. These all have tax implications.

If you use sales receipts and write checks, there is a temptation to ignore your balance sheet and use your Profit and Loss (P&L) to track your business but I want you to think about at least entering your vendor bill then processing the payments. The advantage of doing this is that it allows you to keep track of – and an eye on – your payables. It is a lot easier to know who you owe when it is available in your bookkeeping software. And the bonus is that you can set up restrictions that won’t allow someone access to the sensitive areas of your bookkeeping software – like payroll – and still have them enter the bills and credit card charges, allowing you to have a running total of your expenses. So an admin can take over this data entry for you.

If you invoice your clients, there is often a delay between the client receiving it and you receiving your payment. This is when invoices come in handy. They show up on the balance sheet as receivables – a predictor of income to be received later. How cool could it be see in one place what is owed to you and what is due to your vendors.

You can set up your books to run accrual (tracking receivables and payables not yet received or paid) even when run your company on a cash-basis. Your tax accountant will know what to do so that you don’t pay taxes on income that has not yet made it into your bank account.

A P&L reflects the “now”. A Balance Sheet reflects the “future”.

Just a thought.

Notice the forest

Sometimes all we can see are the trees. We get so involved in the details we fail to notice the forest.

Spending all of your time running around taking care of the details –  although they’re necessary –  can oftentimes make you forget why you decided to start your business in the first place.

And your business may suffer because there is no one to see the big picture – the forest – and notice the slow-moving blight that could be causing so much harm.

When you have a good bookkeeper, you have someone else keeping an eye on for your business. They may be able to see patterns before you: price increases from vendors, unusual expense reporting, clients who regularly take forever to pay. Working with someone who keeps on top of your income and expenses and provides you the data you need to support your organization is one less thing on your plate.

This position is a big deal and trust is essential so don’t go lightly into the process of hiring a bookkeeper. Make sure they know your expectations and can follow through and make sure you are available to provide the support needed for them to do their job well.

Take a look at how much time and effort you are spending on your company’s bookkeeping. Now imagine that time being spent with your family & friends or increasing your sales or creating a new product or networking.

Just a little something to think about.

 

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