Tips to work ON your business not just IN your business

Doing it All!

While I strongly advocate it is essential to understand what is going on in your business you don’t have to micro manage to achieve it!

There are a number of features which can assist you to manage your business and give you back more time while ensuring the integrity of your accounting software

 

Outsource Processing

As a business owner you have more important tasks to achieve than processing your accounts. Outsource this function to a good bookkeeper who comes recommended. This allows you to do what you do best and manage your overall business.

 

Purchase Orders

Ensure staff complete purchase orders for all expenses prior to ordering. Invoices will not be paid unless they are accompanied by an authorised purchase order. This allows the business owner to feel confident having someone else process the accounts without unnecessary or unauthorised purchased being made.

 

Drag & Drop PDF invoices

Some accounting programs allow you to drag and expense invoices received in a PDF format received via email. This is not only an environmentally friendly option but saves time too . Your software will process the purchase to the correct account based on pre-written rules you have created. This feature works particularly well for suppliers you commonly use.

 

Attach Invoices to transactions

This is such a simple way to check invoices against transactions. Whether it is the business owner or your accountant reviewing the accounts the documentation is easily accessible. You can either scan the invoice or take a photo on your phone to upload the document.

 

Authorise Invoices & Payment

This feature allows others to process sales invoice and prepare payments but still requires authorisation by the business owner before completion. This enables you to review transactions and documentation where necessary prior to completing the transactions or sending an invoice to customers.

 

Upload electronic files for payment

Once payments have been authorised in your accounting file they can be uploaded to your banking website for payment. While there may be a charge involve for bank staff to process the payments on your behalf the benefits may be worthwhile, particularly with payroll which may be time consuming.

 

Review your reports

Be familiar with your accounts and reports and review regularly  for any discrepancies. Breaking reports down to show monthly or quarterly amounts to make it easier to review rather than large year to date figures. Have a budget and compare actual results and thoroughly review any anomalies that arise.

 

Online programs & Apps

Online programs and Apps are making it easier to review your accounts on the fly. You may be sitting in an airport waiting for your flight reconciling your bank accounts or reviewing your financial reports.

Bank feeds

Most accounting software now has live bank feeds which download your bank statement transactions daily and matches the data based on pre-set ‘rules’. While I review these transactions daily I only reconcile my bank account now on a monthly basis as I can feel confident at any time that the data is complete when reviewing reports

Now that you have made your accounting easy you will have more time to work ON your business whether it is attracting new customers, growing sales or releasing a new product line!

Top 5 ways to get more $$$$$ in your Business

Cashflow is the number one problem for small business. While short term issues can be resolved the longer term may not be sustainable for your business. Don’t let your business become a statistic!

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  1. Invoice

Invoice immediately – If you are invoicing weekly or even monthly (gasp!) you are giving your customers extended credit terms which will greatly affect your business cashflow. With easy invoicing through many mobile devices there should be no more excuses! You can invoice, email and accept payment before you have even left the premises

Email your invoices directly to the person responsible for making payments. Many accounting software systems allow you to review whether an email has been opened by the customer, if you don’t have this feature ensure you ask for a ‘delivery or read’ receipt through your email program

Discounts for early payments can be a great incentive for your customers but could hurt your bottom line if not factored into your overall pricing. You may want to charge an administration  fee for late payment to account for additional work chasing payments

With the introduction of live bank feeds and dashboard summaries in many accounting packages there are no longer any excuses for your accounting data not to be up to date. You can clearly see at a glance invoices currently outstanding  on the dashboard summary with further detailed reports available

 

  1. Trading Terms

Are your customers required to apply for a trade account? There are many free template application forms available on the web which would need very little modification. The application as well as contracts or engagement letters depending on your industry enables you to clearly state your trading terms as well as any additional fees charged for late payment. Credit checks and following up business/trade references is essential to reduce risk of non-payment

As well as your trading terms, include the actual due date of payment on all invoices to avoid any confusion and unnecessary payment delays.  Limits may be setup in your accounting software to warn of current outstanding invoices for a specific customer when processing a new sale so staff don’t accidently extend further credit to slow or non-payers.

Again your accounting software should make it easy to review overall average number of accounts receivable collection days through dashboard summaries or reports. Some softwares will also show average number of collections days for a specific customer allowing you to decide on an individual basis who you wish to continue trading with. Reducing collection days by even a minimum amount can greatly enhance the cashflow of the business.

 

  1. Prepayments

Depending on your industry you may be in a position to request a deposit upon commencement of work or an order. Instalment or work in progress payments may also be required at specific points prior to completion. Any deposits or progress payments amounts should be clearly stated in your initial contract together with expected payment dates or progress made.

Up front pricing works particularly well in the accounting industry resulting in better planning and cashflow advantages for clients. On ascertaining a clients annual requirements I am able to ‘bundle’ there services including telephone calls and email to encourage frequent communication. Regular monthly payments reduce the annual fees to assist cashflow.

I recently heard of a coffee shop which sold a prepaid card which could be easily swiped therefore reducing the wait time in the mornings for customers. This implementation meant that for each customer with a card the shop was receiving the next ten days worth of coffee payments upfront which greatly enhanced their cashflow. This is what I call a win/win for both the customers who want to be on their way and the coffee shop.

 

  1. Outsource Debtors

Outsourcing your debtors enables you to get paid straight away on your invoices greatly enhancing business cashflow. There are several outsourcing options available including the following

Factoring                                                             Discounting

Selling Debtors/Specific Invoices               Borrowing/Credit – Receivables Balance

Ownership Transferred                                 Sales Ledger collateral for borrowing

Disclosure                                                          Confidential

Collection by third party                                 Credit control remains with Business owner

With/Without recourse

 

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  1. Debt Collection

Not many business owners like debt collection and may be concerned customers will get ‘angry’ or take their business elsewhere. Ensure you have a procedure or systems in place to handle slow payers including

–        Send Statements

–        Document all correspondence and phone calls

–        Have an employee follow up debts so you can maintain the relationship

–        Consider accepting payment plans

–        Outsource to a collection agency

 

  1. Bonus Tip – Payment Options

Make it easy for customers to pay you! What are acceptable payment options in your business, do you accept cheques (yep, some people still have them), credit cards, paypal or a direct transfer into your business bank account. With merchant fees sometimes being hefty some of these choices are more expensive than others.

If you have a shopping cart website have you tried the process yourself to ensure it is simple and easy to use with no bugs

Some accounting software programs now give you the option of having a pay now link on your invoice so customers can pay on the go. If they can simply click a button, select their preferred payment option and complete the payment without having to log onto a banking website then you may get paid sooner.

Make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay you so they will have no excuses

 

Even if you only improve some of these areas in your business you will should ensure a more consistent, steady income stream in your business to enable you to succeed. Good luck!

The Bootcamp Journey Begins!

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When initially applying for the business grant, one of the reasons I approached Command Coaching, besides already knowing Sam and Adam, was they were not only willing but had the skills and capability to create a program specifically for me and what I wanted to achieve. No other company I spoke to could do that for me which could be an issue if you have to supply two quotes when applying for a grant.

I was so excited at our first meeting as it was all actually happening. Sam and Adam outlined the plan for the next twelve weeks to again ensure it fitted with what I wanted to achieve in terms of outcomes and expectations. What I also liked was their flexibility as I was due to start an 8 week contract with a new firm, but as Sam will often tell you in #RealLifeBiz sometimes shit happens and you have to work around it!

While some of the above items were quite obvious and were terms I was familiar with, what the hell are tripwires and onboarding??? Anyway I knew by the end I'd be a pro as one of the grant conditions was they teach me the skills rather than just implement the program for me which is great because I also want to perform a lot of these changes in my second business Sassy Biz when I have time!

Well a couple of weeks into the program I had issues with my website and had to restore the previous days backup which meant I had to recreate all the work we had achieved myself, so you can't say I didn't learn anything! Sam and Adam have also been great support who I can contact when unsure of any processes. I was used to playing around with my website and willing to have a go but would by no means consider myself technical, trust me there has been a lot of googling going on.

Work so far, I have been creating heaps of new pages on my existing My Business Partner website to accommodate the Biz Bootcamp programs including membership pages, information about the Bootcamps and including content for downloads. I have also been creating a lot of new content often asking those in Facebook business groups what they would like access also keeping in mind my target market. I am trying to be more structured and active on FB particularly with my closed group 'Kicking Business Butt!'

We are several weeks in now and it's still exciting as ever as I see my dreams of providing skills, resources and tools to business owners on a larger scale come to fruition.

Continue to follow my journey and updates!

The Bootcamp Journey!

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Some of you may be aware I recently successfully applied for a Business Grant to enable me to create both online and face to face workshops and bootcamps for business owners to provide them with the skills to successfully run their businesses. Over the next few weeks/months I intend taking you on this exciting journey with me

It all began ………..

Over the Christmas/New Year break when after a few days of holidays I started getting a little bored and thinking about the analogies of fitness training and business owners and how;

– Having natural flair or skills does not make you a professional athlete the same way you can be a fantastic hairdresser but it doesn’t mean you know how to run a business
– All the best sports people have coaches and trainers, they can’t do it alone
– Training with others in a group pushes you further and provides great support

As a CPA accountant with over 15 years experience I have always wanted to share my  knowledge and skills in a more effective way rather than one on one and decided Bootcamp is the way to do it!

I was so excited and full of ideas of where I wanted to go with this but wasn’t really sure where to start. At a business planning workshop in January someone mentioned a business grant currently offered where the government would pay 75% of all costs for innovative projects. This was how I was going to get my Bootcamps up and running!

I reviewed the business grant criteria and believed I fulfilled the requirements which included that the funds were to provide me with the skills and training to successfully create and run the workshops and bootcamps myself not simply hire a consulting company to do it for me. This proved quite difficult as there were several areas I wished to address including;

  1. Provide the training to enable me to present workshops and courses
  2. Provide the training and tools to enable me to create workshops and courses including

          – Workbooks

          – Visual Tools/Aid

          – Further Resources and Tools

          – Evaluation and Assessment Techniques

3. Provide the training to implement the workshops and courses including website development as required

          – Create new Biz Bootcamp page on existing website

          – Additional plug-ins required for members only log-in

          – Enable on-line shopping and payment

4.Provide guidance based on prior industry experience and knowledge to price the workshops and courses       accordingly
5. Provide the training to successfully market the workshops and courses including creating course outcomes and benefits, social media event pages and links for member sign-ups

As you can see my criteria was quite varied and it was going to be quite difficult to find two providers who could fulfil these requirements to submit quotes with the grant. My first stop was to talk with Sam and Adam from Command Coaching and Training, they were already friends and I felt there combined skills would enable me accomplish what I needed without engaging several organisations which I didn’t think would work as well. As well as having structured courses such as the Cert IV Training and Assessment Command Coaching and Training were able to tailor a course to suit my needs, personal skillset and desired outcomes. Luckily my business grant was approved on submission of a single quote based on the above difficulties in finding other companies who could replicate the training offered.

Next week we get planning and start on The Bootcamp Journey, I can’t wait. Join me as we progress through the process and watch my dreams come to fruition!