Business Finances: Tips for Success




Whether you are a brand-new business owner or you’ve been in business for a while, getting a firm handle on your business finances is the key to successfully building wealth through your establishment.

As business owners, it’s easy to get busy and caught up in the day-to-day running of your empire. But don’t let your finances fall to the side. Below are 9 tips you can leverage to help you track and manage your money better as a small business owner. Then, we’ll cover some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid.



Tips to Manage Business Finances

1. Open a business bank account

To accurately track your business finances and avoid any issues ( e.g. IRS issues, financial tracking, and forecasting inaccuracies) you need to completely separate your personal finances from your business finances ASAP. If you need to take out funds from your business for personal use, plan to pay yourself a salary (e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) so the withdrawals can be tracked properly.



2. Review your business structure

Most business owners start out as sole proprietors. But as your business grows and becomes profitable, you should consider transitioning your business formation into an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) or corporation. This allows for full separation between your business finances and personal assets in the event of a liability issue (a customer sues you, etc.). These types of business structures can provide you with a certain level of protection for your personal assets. They can also have certain tax advantages.

3. Get organized

If you want to build wealth with your business, you need to be organized. This means creating systems to track your business finances. Specifically, you should track transactions, financial documents, accounts and more. There are several business finance apps (waveapps.com, quickbooks.com) that you can leverage to start getting your finances organized. Being (and staying!) organized will save you a ton of time.

4. Get an accountant

An accountant can provide you with certain insights when it comes to your business finances. He or she can also help with your business tax filings, which can be a complex undertaking. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that if you decide to hire an accountant, you still need to be involved in what’s going on with your business finances. So plan to schedule frequent meetings to discuss the state of things in your business with them.

5. Create a business emergency account

A business emergency account is to your business what your personal emergency account is to your personal life. It can help provide you with a backup or buffer in the event of unplanned business circumstances. For instance, covering payroll during a slow season, replacing a damaged sales order, or making unplanned but required purchases.

6. Create an account to save for taxes

If you are making money in your business, then you will most likely have taxes to pay. Instead of letting your tax bill surprise you at the end of the year, start planning ahead. Create a savings account specifically for your tax savings where you put away a certain amount (~30%) toward your end-of-year tax bill. Or, you can pay your taxes quarterly.

7. Create a business budget

Your business budget allows you to manage your business finances properly and stay on top of your expenses. It’s essential for making financial forecasts for your business and becoming profitable. A budget helps you lay out your income and expenses (budgeted and actuals) and helps you get a clear picture of how your business is doing financially.

8. Pay yourself a salary from your business the right way

Before you pay yourself a salary, make sure your business will remain afloat. This means making sure that your operating expenses are paid first (including your tax estimates).

You should be tracking your monthly business operating expenses in your business budget. For the most part, a lot of your operating expenses, like rent, website hosting, and salaries, will be fixed each month. But when it comes to your variable expenses, you’ll have to make estimates based on what you know is coming up.

After you have paid your operating expenses, you can take what you have left over from your business earnings in that given month and break things out into percentages. Consider the following:

Emergency fund: 10%. Ideally, you want to have at least 6 months of business expenses available in this account to help weather a business decline

  • Profits: 10%. You should have plans to make distributions to yourself (and employees) as a bonus every year.
  • Estimated taxes: 20%. This way you are not overwhelmed with figuring out how to come up with funds to pay a large tax bill.
  • Reinvestment: 30%. Put this amount back into your business to put toward operating expenses, new projects, marketing, branding, and other business needs to keep your business growing.
  • Your salary: 30%. This percentage is just a guideline. Be sure to take into consideration how well your business is doing to determine when and how much to take as a salary.

9. Get insurance

Having business insurance is critical. From error and omissions insurance to property insurance, it is really important to protect yourself from the cost of client suits or property loss or damage. It’s a good idea to sit with an insurance broker to discuss your business type and get recommendations on the best type of insurance you should have. No one wants to have a circumstance occur that will require insurance, but things happen and it’s better to be protected than sorry.

10. Avoid credit card debt

Just because you can qualify for a business credit card doesn’t mean you should get your business into debt. Use your budget to plan out your business finances and if you do use a credit card for your business activities, plan to pay off your balance in full each month.

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