Let’s start by stating the obvious. The business of business is to make money, but for small businesses, that first flush of financial success is all too often the beginning of the end. The need for growth leads to rapid expansion, expenditure outstrips income and it’s downhill from that point. Fortunately, there’s now a wide range of affordable fintech available to help small businesses find a path through the financial jungle.
SEPARATE PERSONAL AND BUSINESS FINANCES
An absolute basic requirement. You may feel so passionately about your business that you are prepared to dip into your personal finances to support it but as many have found out, this is a recipe for disaster. Mixing personal and business finances creates an accounting nightmare.
TRACK EMPLOYEE SPENDING
Traditionally, a conventional credit card has been passed around the office so that employees can use it to make purchases or claim expenses. This is a practice fraught with risk. The card is easily lost, stolen or mislaid, in which case the company account is compromised. Employees are inclined to see such a card as a golden ticket and the lack of accountability encourages overspending. Issuing each member of staff with a prepaid credit card enables the employer to set individual budgets for each member of staff. Staff can then operate autonomously, photographing bills and receipts and uploading them via a mobile app. The cards are not linked to a bank account and therefore cannot be hacked, and they can be frozen individually, without the need to freeze an entire account. For the employer, the big advantage of these cards is that they allow you to track individual expenditure in real time, so that you know exactly who has spent what.
USE ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE
There are a range of accounting software packages on the market which bring with them all kinds of benefits. Accounting software will save your business considerable time, reduce the number of mistakes, make life for your employees easier, provide greater security and make it easier to predict your cashflow needs. A system such as Xero will deal with online invoices, payroll, expenses and the mobile app will give you a real time overview of cashflow.
HIRE AN ACCOUNTS MANAGER
A good accounts manager can make a major contribution to the success of a business. A company’s relationship with its clients is crucial and an accounts manager works directly with clients to build long term relationships. The role may also include areas such as the acquisition of new business, project management, strategic planning, sales support, product design, logistics and marketing.
SET UP AN APPROPRIATE PAYMENT GATEWAY
There are several successful payment gateways in operation, but you need to ensure that the gateway you choose is appropriate to your business. Amazon, for example, is famously easy for customers to use, but it has high charges for low sales volumes and therefore it may not be the best choice for a small business.