October is always an expensive month for me. It feels like ALL the bills come at once – life and business. Fortunately, over the years of running my business, I’ve accumulated some essential financial tasks from my accountant and other business advisors, which I try to do every October to make sure I’m as profitable and well off as possible for the coming year.
If you’d like more money (who wouldn’t?) I challenge you to take the 30-day financial check up below. Just complete one task every other day for a month and see how much better off you are by the end of it.
Work out how much revenue you made from each of your services or products in the past year. I like to review my effort too, so I can find the most profitable offerings with the least effort in order to prioritise my business towards growth.
Check your last three months of bank statements and review all expenditure. I like to categorise expenses and see which areas I’m spending most or could reduce.
My online accounting software does this for me but getting used to using a profit and loss sheet in your business is a must for staying on track and not losing sight of where you’re at.
"No matter how well your business is doing, knowing your income and expenditure and whether you’re in the black or red each month allows you to make the best decisions moving forward."
Emma Smith, Accountant
Make sure you’re not still paying for redundant services or subscriptions by checking your DD and SO through online banking. Cancel any that are no longer valid.
Talking of subscriptions, are there any you can cancel that you no longer use or could live without? If you can’t cancel immediately, put a note in the diary of when you can cancel (making sure you include any cancellation period).
"One of the best things you can do is set up regular transfers to put money aside each month for your tax, NI and any other contributions. 33% of your income is a good benchmark, but always review with your accountant so you don’t fall short."
Emma Smith, Accountant
After my friend tipped me off about getting cashback online through sites like TopCashBack and Quidco, I’ve made an extra £200 this year from everyday purchases. It takes minimal effort and it’s money for nothing. Go set up an account today!
Is your business bank account working hard enough for you? Use a comparison tool online to check. If not, either call up and haggle for a better deal or switch.
My accountant encouraged me to download 1Tap so I could scan receipts on the go and file them in my Dropbox account ready for when she did my tax return. Now I can stop worrying about the receipts floating at the bottom of my handbag never to be properly filed…
Talking of receipts, lots of business owners receive digital receipts via email only. Spend an hour setting up "rules" in your email provider (here’s how to do it on Gmail) to file them automatically into monthly folders and avoid them getting lost in your inbox.
When was the last time you checked your credit file? You can now do it for free with various services like Noddle or ClearScore, to make sure you’ve no unexpected errors. If you have, you can usually get them removed which will help when applying for any loans or credit cards.
Another great tip from my accountant was to make use of the late-payment reminder email service within my online accounting software. If an invoice goes overdue, a friendly email (which I wrote in my own style) gets sent. This helps you get paid much quicker!
Do you budget for your business expenditure (and your personal?). Now you’ve reviewed all your income and outgoings, you should be able to set a clear budget for each month to keep your finances on track and avoid unnecessary spending.
The last tip is a reward for getting through the financial checkup. It’s time to set yourself some financial goals for the coming year.
Have you a specific goal in mind? Writing them down helps you commit and take action towards them. My accountant suggests putting them somewhere you can see them everyday…
"It’s amazing how much clarity it brings being reminded of where you want to be in a year’s time financially."
Emma Smith, Accountant
I really hope you embrace the challenge this month because I know you’ll be heading towards the end of the year in a stronger financial position than you are currently. And, it feels SO good being fully in control.
If you are struggling with your finances or debt and need support, there are some great services out there that can really help:
Please note, the information given herein is based on my own personal experience and does not constitute any form of professional financial advice. Always seek the advice of a registered financial professional.
Jen Smith is our resident email blogger. For professional financial advice, search for an AAT licensed accountant or accountant near you.
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