Nine Ways to Make Managing Business Finances Easier

The tax-filing deadline is upon us. If you’ve recently had some uncomfortable conversations with your accountant, you may be wondering how to make the process go more smoothly in the future. You could start by using the following financial management tools and practices:
  1. Accounting Software – You’ve probably heard of QuickBooks, but there are other excellent alternatives on the market as well. The important thing is that you aren’t trying to keep and maintain your financial records with spreadsheets and a calculator. (Shudder!)
  2. Budgeting – Budgeting functionality may be part of your accounting software package, or you may need a separate tool, but be sure to have a spending plan in place and a way to document it before you start your financial year.
  3. Payroll Management – There are a lot of things to worry about when it comes to payroll besides simply getting your employees compensated correctly. There are federal, state and local taxes, insurance, holidays … vacation time. An automated payroll management system can help you streamline the process and operate much more efficiently.
  4. Billing Solutions – The more quickly and accurately you get your billing out to your customers, the better your cash flow will be. Consider software solutions (resident or in the Cloud) to help you improve customer service while shortening the billing process.
  5. Financial Dashboard – Fingertip access to view your company’s financial situation via a computer interface always comes in handy for helping you track where you are versus where you need to be.
  6. Cash Flow Analysis – How much money do you have coming in, when should it arrive, and where is it going? If you don’t have a handle on these questions, you’ll suffer many sleepless nights. Cash flow analysis allows you to forecast potential financial trouble spots by looking at past patterns, thereby giving you an opportunity to prepare for lean stretches.
  7. Inventory Management – You can’t sell it if you don’t have it, and if you have too much of it, you don’t need more. Those are some pretty basic concepts for inventory management, but keeping track of the details is a lot more complicated. Why not automate inventory management with software solutions for such functions as sales reports, low inventory alerts, shipping and order tracking, as well as meeting customer demand?
  8. Tracking Expenses – Big-ticket budget items are relatively easy to track, but small businesses can be ‘nickel-and-dimed’ to death with everyday expenses such as office supplies, travel, subscriptions … etc. Fortunately, there are tools on the market to help you and your employees keep track of where the petty cash is going.
  9. Business Credit Card – If you want to ensure that your tax accountant has a stroke, just keep using your personal credit card for business purposes. Save everyone a lot of trouble, and use a dedicated business credit card for business expenses only. At the same time, you’ll be building a credit history for your company that will come in handy as it grows.