Separating Personal from Business Finance

  As a small business owner it can be easy to intertwine business and personal finances, but keeping the two apart is vital. To build long-term financial growth and keep track of ongoing expenses and taxes, making sure your business and personal capital are separate is essential. While as a growing small business it is tempting to save on as many costs as possible by claiming tax deductions, failing to see the difference between personal and business expenses could see you facing an audit or other legal consequences. Here’s how to keep your personal cash away from your business finances. Use Separate Accounts It seems like a no-brainer, but having two different accounts for your personal and business finances is fundamental. Even for those in the early stages of their business who see it as a one-man-shop, it’s all the more important to track business and personal incomings and outgoings separately, or risk facing a headache at tax time. Also, if you use accounting software , make sure you also have two separate systems for your personal and business financial activity. Keeping clear records all year long will provide you with proof of your business expenses in case the Australian Tax Office (ATO) queries any claims or you are audited. Have a Business Credit Card When it comes to buying stationery for the office or paying for transport to meetings, having a work credit card at the ready will help you separate your business financial activity from your personal purchases. No matter how big or small the expense, it’s important to keep your business finances on the company card...
5 lessons my dad taught me from running a small business

5 lessons my dad taught me from running a small business

I am the product of a small business family.  My dad started his first business the year I was born and by the time I left high school, he was running his third business.  Right now, he’s on his fourth. Being part of a small business family wasn’t always easy.  There were good times, but there were also tough times.  The hours were long and everyone had to contribute.  Growing up, I started to notice the difference between our family and my friends’ families, where their parents had a regular, corporate job. Today, I am nothing but grateful for what my dad has given me. In fact, I feel very lucky and privileged because I got to witness my dad doing what he loved.  Like so many small business owners, he wouldn’t have been happy doing anything else. I don’t think he ever specifically told me he loved his work, and I don’t remember ever discussing the trade-offs of starting a business.  But what I did learn from him is that we should all do something that makes us happy.  This is an incredible gift which has shaped key decisions in my life. I also learned some great business fundamentals – lessons which I reflect on and share with others whenever I get the chance. 1. Dream big  Someone has to have a vision for your business and it should be you. Share your vision with your team, suppliers, customers … anyone who will listen.  We all love a story and love to be a part of something bigger than the here and now – your vision adds to the intangible...

Top 10 Bookkeeping Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

From one-person entities to major corporations, bookkeeping is a significant part of any business endeavor. While it is typically not one of the more glamorous jobs, bookkeeping is at the heart of a company’s success, and errors can cost the company significantly. Below are 10 of the most common errors that you want to avoid. Not saving receipts of less than $75. While such receipts may not be required by the IRS, they provide backup documentation for the many deductions you may claim. It is very simple to have a folder for such receipts, which can prove valuable at tax time. Doing it yourself. No matter how much they hate it, many small business owners insist upon handling the books themselves. Having a competent bookkeeper coming in to handle the books can be extremely beneficial in that they have the skills to do the job quickly and efficiently and will provide a second pair of eyes to find errors and make suggestions. Forgetting to track reimbursable expenses. Small business owners often pay for expenses out of pocket or with their own personal credit card then make the mistakes of failing to track these expenses. They then fail to submit the expenses to the company for reimbursement. Not properly classifying employees. The proliferation of independent contractors, consultants, and freelancers has made it difficult to determine who is on staff and who is not. This results in misfiling when it comes to filing taxes since there are different rules and regulations for employees and non-employees. Lack of communication. Having someone handling bookkeeping is only effective if they are filled in and...

The Seven Pitfalls of Business Failure and How to Avoid Them

When you’re starting a new business, the last thing you want to focus on is failure. But if you address the common reasons for failure up front, you’ll be much less likely to fall victim to them yourself. Here are the top 7 reasons why businesses fail and tips for avoiding them. According to statistics published by the Small Business Administration (SBA), about half of all employer establishments survive at least five years and a third survive ten years or more. This is a far cry from the previous long-held belief that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent fail within five years. Better success rates notwithstanding, a significant percentage of new businesses do fail. Expert opinions abound about what a business owner should and shouldn’t do to keep a new business afloat in the perilous waters of the entrepreneurial sea. There are, however, key factors that — if not avoided — will be certain to weigh down a business and possibly sink it forevermore. You start your business for the wrong reasons. Would the sole reason you would be starting your own business be that you would want to make a lot of money? Do you think that if you had your own business that you’d have more time with your family? Or maybe that you wouldn’t have to answer to anyone else? If so, you’d better think again. On the other hand, if you start your business for these reasons, you’ll have a better chance at entrepreneurial success: You have a passion and love for what you’ll be doing, and strongly believe — based on educated...

How to manage your cash flow

Your cash flow is the driving force behind your business. Every business has peak times and quiet periods, so understanding your cash flow means you can plan to cover your costs, make money and support the growth of your business. Here are some tips to help you manage your cash flow and keep your business healthy.   Forecast how much cash your business needs day to day factor in seasonal impacts, so you can operate and pay your bills during less busy times know how much cash you have at all times. Study your cash flow forecast to find where the weaknesses and opportunities are in your incomings and outgoings to help bolster your cash flow. pay your invoices on time and make sure your loans suit your needs. If you’re having trouble making payments, get help straight away. Make the most of your cash build up enough funds to have an emergency fund. You might need to cover price increases from your suppliers, payment delays or other unexpected costs. make use of interest free days on your business credit cards or take out a  Business Overdraft if your business has enough cash to spare, consider opening a high interest savings account if you need equipment, find out if it’s more cost-effective to purchase using a loan. You can spread the business loan repayment costs out over the life span of the equipment and keep your cash for the day-to-day expenses.   Keep your cash coming in   make it easy for customers to pay you quickly – invoice them straight away, give them your account details or help...