Invoices don’t get sent on time. Past due balances are ignored. Taxes aren’t done. And maybe worst of all, you have dozens of recurring payments that go out automatically each month, yet you have no idea what they are or if you are using the programs you pay for.
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, for a lot of “successful” businesses this is reality. When you work at home, and you’re accountable to only yourself, it’s easy to let these little things slide until, like an avalanche, they have a devastating effect on your business.
The good news is, cleaning it up is easy, when you take the time to put some trusted systems in place.
Start with your billing. Sign up for (and use) a system such as FreshBooks or Harvest, which will automate your timekeeping and produce an invoice with a single click of a button. Then put your billing day on your calendar as an unbreakable appointment.
Log into your timekeeping app, generate your invoices, and click send. You’ll be done in a jiffy. Not only that, but most billing systems automatically send follow-up messages for unpaid invoices, so you don’t have to worry about tracking down those slow pays.
For your expenses, use a single system. That might be PayPal or a dedicated credit card or even your business checking account. Whatever it is, be sure it has a reporting feature that will allow you to send monthly statements to your accountant. At the end of every month, bundle that up with your sales report and your receipts, and send it off. When tax time rolls around, you’ll be sitting back with your feet up while everyone else scrambles to find documents and update their accounting system.
If you do your own taxes (kudos to you!) then look for tools that will integrate easily. For example, you can download a QuickBooks file right from PayPal for super-fast reconciliation at the end of every month. That alone will save you hours of “doing the books.”
Just putting these two simple systems in place can easily save you 10+ hours per month, but the even larger benefit is that the money work will get done. And what that will do for your cash flow is priceless.