3 Must-Do Financial Tasks
If you’ve spent endless hours setting up your business and working super hard to make sales, when it comes to getting your financials sorted, you hope hiring a bookkeeper and doing your tax is enough.
I’m here to let you know, this is only 1 of 3 important tasks you need to do.
(Don’t stress, tax and bookkeeping is a great start. But now it’s time to expand your financial horizon.)
1. THE MUST-DO TASKS
The necessary tasks that are generally required by law or the tax office.
So, what does ‘necessary’ look like? Preparation for Business Activity Statements (BAS) or income tax. These must be completed by law.
Questions to ask yourself if you wish to make these tasks feel lighter:
- Does your business have enough transactions to require a sales tracking system or bookkeeping system?
- Do you leave everything until the end of the financial year or have systems to complete this throughout the year?
- Do you have systems to automatically complete these tasks, such as electronic invoices?
- Can you outsource any of these tasks to save you time?
- Can your tax accountant recommend any systems or software to save you time?
2. THE REFLECTIVE TASKS
These types of tasks could all be captured in a Monthly Financial Review which you can add to your business’s financial rhythm. They are all centered around pulling together how the business went the month before. You could consider asking yourself:
- how much money was made compared to the same month last year?
- comparing sales from last month to two months ago
- did it cost you the same as the month prior to make as much or more money?
- did expenses increase, and if so, why?
- are there months of the year that are busier than others?
- do the seasons or weather affect how much you sell or how many appointments you receive?
- what did you do differently from one month to the next to cause a change in sales revenue?
These questions will make a lot more sense if you start writing down or tracking how much you sell and spend month by month. You can use this template.
Fill this in for a few months and see if you can see any patterns.
This simple reflective exercise for income can become invaluable as your business grows.
It can also be replicated for your expenses.
What have you noticed? Did anything stand out to you?
Have a look at the way you keep and store your business receipts and how you track how much money you make. Keep it at hand, in your office or on your phone to make this task quick and easy at the end of each month, and it will start to transform how you view your business.
3. TASKS TO HELP YOU PLAN
Planning tasks are next level! This is when you know you are no longer just keeping the ball rolling, but you’ve taken the time to stop and think about ‘how can I financially set this business up to achieve what I dream it can?’ Yet, this task is usually the one most business owners never quite find the time to do!
All your proactive. future-focused financial tasks like forecasts/budgets and goal-setting fall in this category.
You might recognise these are the ones where you say, “I want this result, so now I’m going to do these things.”
These tasks may only need to occur quarterly to be highly effective.
How do you do this?
Set aside a few hours to pull together your financial information as mentioned in task 2. This is the breakdown of money coming in and money going out, by category and month.
Then you start asking yourself some questions:
- Do I think that the next 6-12 months are going to look the same as the last 6 months?
- Do I need to account for anything different?
- Am I adding any new services or products?
- Do I need to allow for any extra expenses or wages?
- Are there any annual bills coming up?
- How much would I like to make in the next 6-12 months?
- How much would that be per month?
- How much do I need to sell to pay myself the wage I’d like to receive?
Putting PLANNING it into practice
Use a month by month tracker.
List what you think will happen or what you would like to happen in the next 6-12 months. Estimates are totally ok!
Use your REFLECTIVE exercise above to show the patterns between months and timing of when expenses come in.
These will help with your estimates. Do you order enough product for 3 months and then not have to purchase again till next quarter?
- Have a look at all the information you hand over to your tax accountant or bookkeeper. Is there anything there that you need to add in?
- When do you make large purchases or make annual payments on insurance or software? Try to include everything that may happen throughout the year.
Once this is filled in, sit back and have a look at this. Are you happy with what you see? Is there anything you would like to change? Do you think you need to make more sales, increase your prices, introduce another income stream or product to earn what you would like to earn? Or are there any expenses you could reduce?
This is your chance to see the big financial picture!
- Just doing your tax is not going to cut it!
- Start by reflecting on the financial position of the business retrospectively.
- Look back and compare this month to last month and how you have gone for the year so far.
- Create a Monthly Financial Review in your business routine or rhythm.
- What parts of the business are working or making good money and what parts are feeling expensive or not of good use?
- Start writing your own story – piece together how the next year ahead may be. Use the projected income and expenses to make decisions about the direction of the business. This planning exercise is essentially a simple business budget.
Ultimately, there are no hard and fast rules on how and when you complete these tasks. If you can introduce some accountability partners or other business friends to join you, then it’s much easier to stick to doing these important financial tasks.
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