Keeping on top of small business cash flow

Keeping on top of small business cash flow  

Money in, money out. Cash flow is one of the most important measures of your business’s health, but how do you monitor it? It sounds simple to track sales on the one hand and expenses on the other – then compare the two.

But a massive 65% of failed businesses say they closed down because of financial mismanagement, including issues such as lack of cash flow visibility. In other words, they didn’t know if they were making more than they were spending.

Why are people losing sight of cash flow?

Everyone knows a business needs to stay in the black. It is not a new idea. So it can be hard to imagine why a business would lose sight of cash flow. Until you are in business yourself and you realise tracking small business cash flow is not as easy as it seems.

For small businesses, this can involve:

  • Keeping track of all your expense receipts – which gets really tricky if there are multiple people making purchases
  • Recording all your sales revenue – making sure to account for discounts you might have given
  • Entering everything into your cash flow Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet- including double and triple checks to make sure everything is entered correctly.

You may have to rely on employees or business partners to supply a lot of this information. Their paperwork will sometimes have scribbled notes in the margins, requiring a follow-up phone call. It takes a lot of time, patience and energy before you are even ready to punch the numbers into a spreadsheet.

But even if you are vigilant, there is a lag between when a sale or expenditure happens and when it’s entered into your spreadsheet. You are taking a series of snapshots of your cash flow, and there can be big blind spots in between.

As business picks up, with more sales and more expenditure happening all the time, those blind spots become more significant. More things happen in between each cash flow snapshot. And cash flow snapshots get further apart because you’re too busy to update spreadsheets.

Consider using cloud accounting software

Because money in and money out is the ultimate measure of business health and sustainability, you know you must watch it carefully. Cloud accounting software can automate the process for you. In fact, 98% of users of accounting software recommend it to others.

Here’s how it works:

Cloud accounting software is generally sold on a flat monthly subscription. You do not need to download anything and you can run it easily off your existing laptop, desktop or smartphone.

It can link to your business bank account (and point-of-sale system) to track sales and expenses as they happen, with no data entry from you. Because the data comes straight from the bank, it’s clean and accurate. Smart accounting software will also send out your invoices, so it shows what you’re owed. Next, the system pools all the data to create a dashboard of your financial situation, which is automatically updated every day.

Accounting software probably only needs to save you one or two hours a month to pay for itself. In reality, because it will save you time that you can spend on other areas of your business, it will do that many times over.

Talk to us about accounting software for the health of your business.

Getting more meaningful data for your business

Getting more meaningful data for your business

Data is only powerful with context, it needs to be accurate and organised and you need to be clear on the necessities vs the niceties.

Three steps to ensuring data is meaningful for your business

Raw data describes the facts and figures that a business processes every day. Over time, every business hoards a certain amount of data and it only becomes meaningful to a business after it has been processed to add context, relevance and purpose.

For example, in a restaurant, every order will be recorded. However, a restaurant won’t learn much by looking at each one in isolation. Analysis of the orders will reveal trends and patterns, such as peak dining days or biggest-selling menu or bar items. Knowledge of the business comes from the relationship between the singular pieces of information. That restaurant owner may know to do their biggest stock order on a Wednesday by analysing their covers and establishing that sales increase by 38% on Thursdays.

The pace of business in today’s technological times requires businesses to be able to react quickly to changing demands from customers and environmental conditions. The ability to be able to compile, analyse and act on data is increasingly important. In some instances, a high volume of data may need to be accumulated and analysed before trends and patterns emerge, like a particular season’s most popular dish.

When you aren’t compiling accurate business data, you can only rely on gut feel and assumptions about past performance to inform your future business decisions.

If your business is already using cloud software for accountancy, project management system or CRM, it’s likely that you’re sitting on a goldmine of data. If properly utilised, this data can greatly aid running a successful business. You’ll have valuable insight into your sales, expenses, profit and staff efficiencies that can help you answer critical questions and drive smart business decisions.

Every business is unique, but here are three quick tips to help you drive data in your business.

1. Data is only powerful if there is context – can you stop to answer these questions?

  • What is your primary objective (business or personal)?
  • What is happening in the business?
  • What isn’t happening?
  • How can you influence what happens?

Figure out what you’re currently trying to achieve before anything else. It’s important to periodically go back and ask yourself these questions and what goals develop from the answers, as answers evolve over time. You may have started out with your primary objective as running the best restaurant in your area. However as time has passed, your primary objective might now be to take time away from the business to spend more time with your children.

2. The only way your data can help you drive your business is if it’s accurate and organised appropriately – ask yourself:

  • Are your financials up-to-date?
  • Do you have any unreconciled transactions?
  • Are you tax compliant?
  • Are your staff trained on what systems and processes to use for different parts of your business?
  • Are your cloud systems being correctly utilised?

The worst thing you can do is to attempt to analyse incorrect data and attempt to make decisions for the business based on it! Tools like Spotlight Reporting can help you with the reports you need for business decisions.

3. Understand what the data necessities are and what the niceties are.

  • What would you most like to understand about your business?
  • What figures pinpoint success for you?
  • What are your objectives over the next six to twelve months, and two to five years?

Remember, to focus on what truly matters and build from there. If you want help with the process, we can accumulate, analyse, report and advise on your data; or show you the tools to use.

What does an Accountant really do?

What does an Accountant really do?  

Not sure what an Accountant can do for your business? Well, the right accountant will do a lot more than just help with your tax returns! Your Accountant should be a trusted business advisor, helping you lead with more confidence.

The best Accountants can do much more than just tax and compliance work for your business. They are troubleshooters and strategic advisors for small business. Basically, having an Accountant means that you can operate your business with more clarity and confidence.

Whether you are working to get a startup off the ground, or taking the reins of an established business, you will see value from making an accountant part of your team. When you have the right Accountant and a good relationship, you will see their influence impacting all the moving parts that make up your business.

Accountants can support you from startup to business exit. Read more on what accountants do to support your business and help you achieve your goals.

Teaching your kids about money

Teaching your kids about money 

Teaching kids about money is all about finding the right moments to have a conversation. Each time this happens, you will be helping to strengthen their financial literacy and build their ability to make good decisions with money.

The money we spend each day tends to be invisible. When was the last time you withdrew your cash for the week and used it to make purchases? Rather than dealing in notes and coins, we tend to reach for our cards or shop seamlessly online. It’s entirely possible to spend money without even reaching for your wallet.

This can give kids some confusing messages about how money is spent. The danger here is that they won’t develop financial literacy and will struggle to manage their own money later on. One way to help them to build their financial management skills is to choose moments to talk to them about money and why you’re making certain decisions.

These moments could include:

Shopping at the supermarket – If you’re taking your kids on the weekly shop, get them involved in the process. Involve them in drawing up your shopping list and talk through your budget. Have them help you to find items, and weigh up differently-priced options. As a bonus, helping them to understand how a food budget works might just cut down on all those requests for treats!

Withdrawing money from the ATM – Getting out money does seem a little magical. So it’s important that kids can make the connection between the money you go to work for, and what they see coming out of the wall. Talk to them about where the money you’re withdrawing will go and help to understand the importance of knowing what’s in your bank account.

Letting them make choices – When it comes to pocket money or money from a birthday or Christmas, it can be helpful to let your children experience the consequences of their financial decisions. It’s tempting to tell them what to do with their money, but once they discover that they can only spend their precious cash once, take the time to talk with them about what they are feeling and how they might use their money differently in the future.

Choosing activities – When you choose what to do as a family, don’t forget to talk through the costs of different options. Kids will appreciate balancing an expensive trip to the movies with a free picnic in the park or will be amazed when they compare the cost of an icecream at a parlor versus a whole tub at the supermarket. Encourage them to brainstorm and research low-cost ideas and get creative!

Is my Accountant a cost or investment?

Reducing your overheads will help #GrowYourBusiness. So, are accounting fees a cost that should be cut or a sound business investment?

Accountants tell their clients to reduce their overhead costs as one of the seven ways to grow your business. One of your overhead costs is your accounting fees. So, is what you spend with your Accountant an expense, or is it an investment?

An expense is a necessary evil. It can’t be avoided and is a grudge purchase with very little value add.

An investment is about the return on your spend – what you get back as the benefits of the service; more cash, more discretionary time, or simply peace of mind that everything is done as it should be.

The true purpose of an Accountant is to provide enduring value to you and your business. It’s no longer just about annual accounts and tax. Accountants who live into their true purpose provide services such as:

  • Tax planning and minimisation
  • Wealth creation
  • Helping you create a plan to realise your goals – including profit and cashflow improvement strategies
  • Working alongside you to realise the plan – by combining our expertise with yours
  • Ensuring your compliance and tax obligations are met in the most cost-effective way

If you consider what you spend with your Accountant to be a cost, then cut that cost; if you consider it an investment, you need to invest now more than ever.

“The biggest expense is an opportunity cost.” – Anon

Make your business more profitable

Make your business more profitable  

Making a profit isn’t something that happens overnight – to create a good return from your business you need a clear focus and a well thought-out strategy for increasing profitability.

This means reviewing your business model and looking at every area of the business, to see where you can cut costs, increase margins and maximise revenue.

Focus on your key drivers

Having surplus cash at the end of the year allows you to invest back into the business, fund your growth plans and increase the size of your own dividends and drawings as the owner.

To achieve these profits, it is important to focus on the key financial drivers in your business.

To drive profits:

  • Boost sales – the more sales you make, the bigger your net revenue, so investing in marketing, sales activity and business development will be key to a better bottom line.
  • Increase prices – by setting a higher price point, and keeping your ‘cost of goods sold’ number low, you create a larger profit margin on each sale – upping your profitability.
  • Cut costs – operational costs and overheads eat into your potential profits. So spend management and cost reduction are vital to creating a more profitable model.
  • Reduce taxes – tax liabilities will be one of your biggest costs, so sensible tax planning and use of tax reliefs will help to reduce your taxes and ramp up your end profit.

Talk to us about boosting your profits

If your business goal is to increase profitability, we will help you review your business model, identify your key financial drivers and proactively drive your profit performance.

Get in touch and let’s start boosting your profits.

 

The value of real-time management reporting

The value of real-time management reporting

Improving your financial efficiency requires a clear overview of your key numbers, so you can track your performance and drive improvements.

This is where detailed, up-to-date management reporting makes a real difference. Management information helps you measure your key performance indicators (KPIs), track progress against your core goals and provide some real impetus behind your progress.

Getting proactive with financial management

By setting up management accounts and KPI reporting in the cloud, you get a real-time overview of your business health, helping to guide decision-making and financial performance.

By drilling down into this management information, you can:

  • Get prior warning of any finance issues – so you’re aware of any cashflow holes, late payments from customers or unplanned drops in company revenue.
  • Plan ahead to avoid future problems – by running forecasts, monitoring your cashflow position and aligning your strategic budgets with your business-wide KPIs
  • Take action and gain control – using the financial insights from your dashboard to flex your operational tactics, rein in spending or make the right strategic decisions.

Talk to us about setting up management reporting

If you are looking to get in real control of your financial destiny, we’ll work with you to set up a management pack and KPI dashboard that puts you firmly in the driving seat.

Get in touch to set up your management pack.

Did you know GoFi8ure are a Receipt Bank Certified Partner?

Did you know GoFi8ure are a Receipt Bank Certified Partner?

At GoFi8ure we pride ourselves on always looking for the most efficient and effective solutions for SME businesses. One of the software tools that we are in love with is Receipt Bank.

If you or your team are spending hours entering receipts and invoices into Xero then you need Receipt Bank! Talk to the team at GoFi8ure about how Receipt Bank can change your life.

What are some of the benefits to using Receipt Bank?

Save Time – Easy automation for collecting, processing and publishing receipts and invoices.

Secure Cloud Storage – All your important receipts and invoices are kept safely in the cloud and within your accounting software.

Instant Receipt Capture – Your staff and suppliers can send you paperwork in a way that suits them, via app, email or scanning.

Accurate Data Extraction – Receipt Bank puts key details from documentation into your accounting software.

Improve Quality and Consistency of Information – The ability to automate coding and accounting settings ensures peace of mind that clients’ items will be handled in a consistent manner – no matter who is working on them.

There are so many benefits to getting Receipt Bank for your business – send us a message to find out more. 

There Has Never Been a Better Time to Get onto Xero

There Has Never Been a Better Time to Get onto Xero

GoFi8ure, a company that provides premium accountancy solutions, urges customers and businesses to look into Xero training. Xero is an online accounting software designed to aid small businesses and their advisors to adopt more efficient processes.

GoFi8ure has developed a tailor-made training programme that makes use of your unique data for ease of learning. It utilises a 12-step ‘best practice’ checklist to ensure ease of learning.

The team at Xero explains, “With Xero’s online ‘in the cloud’ accounting software, your accounts are transparent, giving you a real-time view of your business at a glance with a snapshot of all of your transactions on the dashboard and so much more.”

GoFi8ure also provides custom-fit Xero training designed to tackle specific needs. Xero Training is available in four options:

– Xero Fresh is a refresher course designed to test the checklist in-action in your business, and covers output requirements, management reports, GST reconciliation and end of year preparation for chartered accountants.

– Xero Mate is an entry-level course where you learn steps 1 to 6 of the checklist and cover basic Xero concepts, such as the Xero dashboard, accounts basics, bank accounts, contacts, finding help within Xero, and general Xero queries.

– Xero Hero is a comprehensive course where you learn steps 1 to 12, and cover reports, price lists, charts of accounts, organisation, tracking, fixed assets, foreign currency, and more!
Last but not the least, Xero2Max is a course for business owners who have completed the Xero Hero course, and are now able to harness the data in Xero in order to measure their performance, and reconcile their financial position monthly.

Contact us to discuss your Xero training requirements further. 

Set your business up for success with the right structure

Set your business up for success with the right structure

 

The structure of your new business has repercussions in terms of tax, costs and the protection of your assets. When you decide on what structure you’ll use, keep in mind your future plans, because this may impact your decision.

There are three main structures you could consider.

Sole trader:

If you’re operating on your own, this may seem an obvious choice. It’s a quick one to set up and incurs minimal costs. Bear in mind that a sole trading business can be trickier to sell, and you are taking on greater personal risk in establishing the business. It may be worth looking into how you can protect your personal assets, should anything go wrong.

Partnership:

If you’re working with a partner, you could consider this option. It lets you share the load, along with the costs of getting a business established. You’re also sharing the risk and potential liabilities.

Company:

Setting up a company means more admin and higher costs to get going. You’ll become a ‘director’ as the person who runs the company, and a ‘shareholder’ as a part-owner. Companies have additional reporting duties, but you assume less personal risk. Also, the clear structure and reporting involved, may set you up for an easier sale when the time comes.

You could also consider setting up a trust, but as this is a relatively expensive and complex undertaking, it’s less likely you’ll go this way initially. You can change the structure as your business develops, but it’s important to consult with your accountant, lawyer or advisor as you go.

Before deciding, think ahead to the future you want for your business.

Ask yourself:

How am I hoping to grow the business? If you plan to bring on additional people to run the business alongside you, a company or partnership arrangement may suit.

When do I want to sell the business? Again, while selling any kind of business is possible, the clarity provided by a company may be an advantage and make your business more attractive to a buyer.

How sure am I that this business will succeed? It may be that you are setting out to prove a concept or explore a business idea. If this is the case, you may not look to incur too many costs up-front, and a sole-trader or partnership model may appeal.

Whatever you decide, make sure you understand the tax implications. Talk to us before setting out on your new venture.