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Finances in focus: Your essential roadmap for assessing and enhancing your business's fiscal health in the new year

I’m Bilal Rehman, CEO and principal designer of Bilal Rehman Studio and Bilal Rehman Gallery. You may recognize me from my wild videos telling you exactly how to push the boundaries of interior design in your space, but today I've partnered with QuickBooks in their Ask The Expert series to help you reassess your business's finances for the new year. 

As a business owner, facing the beginning of the new year is equal parts wonderful and nerve-racking. It’s the perfect time to welcome new opportunities, clients, and income and expand your business to new levels, but it's also an important time to deep-dive into your finances and business model and consider what might need to shift. Today we are going to discuss a few key staples in reassessing your business's finances for the new year.

A person holding a blue frisbee under his right leg.

First things first: You can't start a new year without taking account of the last one. As you step into 2024, taking a close look at last year’s financial statements—income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements in particular—will be crucial. Use these as guideposts as you work to identify strengths and weaknesses within your business from the past year and begin to plan for a more successful future. If 2023 was your first year in business or this is your first time doing this, it may seem a little intimidating. You may also find that some numbers have not landed where you expected them to. While this is of course disappointing, don't be too hard on yourself about it. Instead, look at this as an opportunity to explore new marketing, branding, or even current product/service improvement! No one loves fresh beginnings like the new year. 

After you’ve taken a long, hard look at your last year of business, it’s time for you to start asking yourself some constructive questions like:

  • What do I want to achieve this year? 
  • What are the short-term wins or long-term milestones I’d like to achieve? 
  • What measurable and achievable goals can I set to steer my business toward success? 
  • How have I been marketing myself and my business?
  • What’s the most profitable investment I’ve made for my business in the last year? 

Whether you’re most interested in boosting revenue, optimizing expenses, or expanding your business, setting clear financial goals is key to staying on track and ensuring your business reaches its fullest potential.

A person is standing by a couch in a room.

Setting financial goals for the new year through budgeting, cash flow, and taxes

Whether you are a business owner or not, budgeting is the backbone of financial stability. And particularly in the world of business, I consider budgeting to be a secret superpower. 

First, you need to assess what your quarterly expenses will be (if you're a new business and are still battling start-up costs, keep in mind that this might look a little different for you than it will for a more established business). Next, I would recommend developing a strong, realistic, and flexible budget that covers all quarterly expenses. Leave some room for strategic investments (possibly a business facelift by your favorite interior designer—surprise, it’s me!) and any other unexpected expenses that may pop up. An ideal financial blueprint will not only implement effective money management but also provide enough wiggle room so you can adapt to any changes within your dynamic business landscape as the year unfolds. It’s always better to be safe than sorry; as we all know, if there's one thing in this world that’s unpredictable, it's owning a business! 

Businesses in the digital age + financial tools

Let's take a second to discuss the digital world of your business. In this digital era, accessibility is no longer a luxury but rather a standard for businesses. The ability to monitor, run, and promote your business from anywhere in the world has never been more attainable—so if your business isn't digital yet, consider making this a short-term goal for the new year. This could entail creating a website or online social media accounts to promote your business’s services, or creating email campaigns and newsletters for your clients to keep up to date with your business by receiving exclusive promotions, sneak peeks at new changes or releases, and anything else that will make them feel like they’re being kept in the loop. Stay ahead of the curve and consider using a user-friendly program like QuickBooks to keep your financial house in order. It’s super easy to set up and maintain, and can make all the difference for your business—and your peace of mind! Say goodbye to the days of filing cabinets filled with every conceivable document, receipt, or transaction, and embrace a world in which all your business’s information and operations are just a click away! 

I hope today's post has inspired you to transform your business’s finances into their best possible version for the new year. A little preparation can go a long way.

Wishing you and your business nothing but the best in 2024!

Your favorite interior designer,

Bilal Rehman

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