Keep one New Year’s resolution for 2013: Get a financial routine

by Jake Martin, Title Text

4 min read

I bet that at least 80% of readers will have a New Year’s fitness resolution, perhaps aligned to a challenge or goal such as losing weight or completing a Couch to 5K plan.  But what about financial fitness resolutions for your business?  What’s going to be different and better in 2013?

My really BIG IDEA for you in 2013 is – focus more on ROUTINES!

Nobody loves doing admin, nobody loves reviewing suppliers, and nobody loves looking at tax but then nobody loves brushing their teeth either, and most of us do this every morning and evening because it becomes part of our routine (and obviously is essential for our health!). Use the power of the routine to keep your business healthy – schedule in regular time to tackle those important but easy-to-put-off financial tasks.

Here are some ideas for resolutions with routine – to get the important stuff done in 2013!

(You can also get some ideas on managing your money better in 2013 in my free webinar on 16 January – Start the Year With Organised Finances.)

  • Commit to really understanding all the financial numbers in your business and every piece of jargon used by your accountant – start by writing a list of all the jargon and numbers you aren’t clear about.  You can then send this to your accountant and fix up a regular phone call or meeting to clear up anything you don’t understand. Alternatively, send your queries to me and I will cover them in my next Intuit Financial Fitness webinar or on the blog!
  • As well as understanding the terminology, you also need to have access to the right information to manage your business.  If you don’t currently use accounting software, see how it can save you time by taking up a free trial. If you already have an accounting package, are you producing regular monthly management accounts that you understand?  Set aside some time to really get to know your accounts package to get the best out of it.
  • If you have been to my financial fitness workshops, you’ll know that I talk about putting your Factory Manager hat on every Friday and using that time to analyse your business. Set up a regular “management” meeting, even if you work alone.  Here are some suggestions for an agenda:

Regular weekly items

  • Review the aged receivables report of customers that owe the business money – see who needs chasing and any issues that need escalating.
  • Invoicing – has everything been invoiced?
  • Check the bank balance and review and update the cashflow forecast.
  • Review aged payables to see who needs to be paid and when.

Regular monthly items

  • Analyse your management accounts – review sales by customer and by product. How are your margins versus what you expected? Are the costs in line with expectations?
  • Review your sales and marketing objectives – are your response rates in line with what you expected? Set new business targets for next month.
  • Review your business model and look for ways to enhance the customer offer – what can you add in that doesn’t cost much? What can you take out of your product/service that isn’t appreciated? Do make time to keep improving your product or service to keep ahead of the competition.

Quarterly items

Now set aside a day a quarter for some of the following types of tasks:

  • Understand how tax and VAT will affect your business and its cashflow.  Take some time to read newsletters, articles and updates, and ask your accountant what’s new and what it means for your business – there are a number of interesting developments coming up for 2013, like Patent Box, for example.
  • Review your legal trading structure – could you incorporate if you are a sole trader, set up a separate company to own your Intellectual Property or run a social enterprise alongside your for-profit business?
  • Evaluate your finance team – are you happy with the service from your accountant? If you are not sure, maybe at least talk to some new ones to see if yours is doing what they should be!
  • Outsource more – do you spend time on tasks you could outsource?  Look at how you spend your time and think about contacting a book-keeper or virtual assistant to see what they could do for you.
  • Review your banking relationship – send your bank an update on how things are going (you could send a product sample, press release or trading update, for example) and shop around to see what other banks could offer you.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open for new funding opportunities, such as crowdfunding, for example – even if you don’t need funding now, it pays to keep an ear to the ground and keep communication lines open.
  • Go through your costs and get tenders/quotes from new suppliers to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Scheduling these things in and making them part of your regular routine will make it a lot easier to keep on top of your business and make it work better for you. Make 2013 a “routine”year!

To end on a positive note, we aren’t out of the woods yet economically but I met a building site supervisor over the holidays – they told me they are increasing their number of sites from 6 to 18 in the next 12 months.  That’s got to be encouraging – especially if you make shovels! Here’s to a successful 2013.

To get more ideas on managing your money better in 2013, sign up to my free webinar on 16 January – Start the Year With Organised Finances.

What are your business resolutions for 2013?

[Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net]
Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

Help Your Business Thrive

Get our Newsletter

Related Articles

Accounting services for SMEs – how do you decide what your business needs?

Which accounting services does your SME need?  When you first start your…

Read more

Bookkeeper or accountant? How to decide which one you need

So you’ve entered the world of running your own business and need…

Read more

Increase financial expertise in your small business

Unless you’re an accountant it’s probably fair to say that the financial…

Read more