This for all of you aspiring entrepreneurs who have the courage to start your own business. I know how it feels to be the guy or gal who does sales, marketing, finance, and also has to deliver the product or service. Initially, you have neither time nor money to do everything that needs to be done so you have to make compromises. You might feel you need all sorts of expert advice and help but can’t afford to pay for it.
Well, here’s some expert advice, without charge, from a guy who has learned some painful lessons as the accounting and finance guy for high-flying oil and gas wildcatters (there is no promoter like an oil promoter) and numerous other business ventures, large and small, strapped for capital and worrying about cash flow.
When it comes to getting your accounting set up to meet your business needs, a small investment up front can save you a tremendous amount of time and money. If you do not make this investment, you will begin to feel the pain very quickly. What do I mean by small? It depends on how complex your business is and whether you are converting existing accounting records. However, for many small startups, investing in less than a day of an expert’s time to get your books and accounting procedures properly setup will ABSOLUTELY reap you tremendous savings in time, money, frustration, and worry.
I’m talking about basic stuff here; things like being on top of how much you have in the bank, when you are going to collect invoices and be able to pay your bills, how much you will owe in taxes, and whether you are making a profit. Not being on top of these issues keeps people up at night. With knowledge you can plan strategies; with uncertainty, all you can do is worry.
A minimum start-up investment that will pay big dividends.
Before your QuickBooks advisor offers a single word of advice or aid they should have a clear understanding of how your business works. Make them explain back to you how your business works and do not let them proceed until they can do this to your satisfaction. This will give your advisor a vision of what your accounting needs are today and what they will be as your business grows. This vision will allow them to set up your QuickBooks file in a way that is most advantageous to you now and in the future.
Get some basic written instruction on procedures for, at least, the following:
- Invoicing customers
- Processing bills from their arrival in the mail to the time you file them as paid
- Receiving and recording customer payments, including.
- Recording the customer payment and the check as undeposited funds
- Where you keep undeposited checks pending your bank run
- How you will transfer money in QuickBooks from undeposited funds to your bank account and print a deposit slip to accompany your deposits when you are ready to go to the bank.
- Recording all cash receipts and disbursements and reconciling you bank account.
By following these basic procedures you will have up to date information to manage cash flow. Thanks to QuickBooks, you will automatically be collecting sales tax and tracking your sales tax liability. You can quickly identify slow pay customers, schedule vendor payments based on expected cash receipts, and you can avoid writing hot checks.
QuickBooks training options
I have never found a computer program (other than, maybe, Pong) that I didn’t find frustrating to use without some investment of time and money in training resources. I did find that, when I made the investment in time and training, I became a power user very quickly. It wasn’t that I mastered everything. What was important was that I learned all of the things an application could do and I had a reference guide to master a new feature when I found it would make me more productive, i.e, save me time or produce better results.
I have learned repeatedly that an investment in training pays big dividends in saving time, frustration, and fully utilizing the benefits of an application. Here are some training options to consider: