It is 2 AM, and you are awake.
It is not the Summer heat that is keeping you awake; it is your business, and in particular, your business finances.
Business is going well, you have achieved some great results, landed some impressive clients and have worked super hard.
But suddenly it dawns upon you; you have not been keeping your eyes on your accounts.
Receipts and invoices are in a mess, piled in a desk drawer, in your car and if you are lucky in your wallet.
It starts as a consideration at first, something that you should be doing and will ‘get around to’ at some point.
But then the weeks pass, and you start to worry about your accounts, the ‘legal’ stuff that you know you must do (but aren’t sure how), the filing of your year-end accounts, paying your corporation tax and so on.
You tried to keep tabs with one of those ‘online accounting platforms’, but it was a struggle.
And so here we are, 2 AM, you are awake and thinking ‘where do I start’.
Well fear not, our super practical survival guide for the small business owner will put you back on track.
Step 1: Don’t Panic
I know it sounds easy, but nothing good will come from panicking.
The first place most people turn for advice is the internet, and this is the last place you should go to because accounting is a complicated business, and there is a great deal of opinion and misinformation out there.
Some of the things that you read you might think apply to your business when in truth they do not.
From our experience this will only cause more panic, so rather than do this, read this article and take the action we outline.
Get all the paperwork you can regarding your business. You will need to have dates such as when the business first started trading, the registered company number etc. Take all relevant legal paperwork together and put it into a file.
Next head over to your bank account and start to download your accounts in spreadsheet format.
Store them online for easy access and if you want, print them off and place them into a file. You will need all of this for our next step.
Step Two: Seek Out A Qualified Accountant
Bookkeeper vs accountant.
It will never be the title of a blockbuster movie.
A bookkeepers role is in the name, ‘they keep books’.
Bookkeeping is something that is essential for a business to do (or outsource) and many people offer their services as full-time bookkeepers. Maintenance of the accounting records will also enable and compliment the production of the year end statutory accounts.
If you are waking up at night or stressed about your business finances then you need a full accounting ‘M-O-T’, to provide context to the numbers that your book keeper is producing.
For this, we recommend that you seek out a fully qualified accountant that is not to say a book keeper won’t be able to do this, a good book keeper will be worth their weight in gold.
A fully qualified accountant is a person who has trained and been qualified in the specific role of accountancy and must have completed at least three years of training to earn the qualification.
A qualified accountant will be able to look at your business and its financial history and tell you EXACTLY what you need to do and what they can do for you.
They will ensure you are legally compliant and help you to avoid fines or financial mishaps that could affect your business.
And after helping you to get your accounts in order, they offer a range of other services to help make sure you never find yourself stressed by your accounts again.
You will be able to find an accountant with a quick Google search (or call us), and you will be guided through the next steps.
Step 3: Moving Forward
Now that you are less stressed and have stopped waking up at 2 am you have a range of options.
You can go back to trying to manage your monthly accounts yourself. This is one option, but while we commend anyone who tries this, we would urge people who have previously struggled to manage their business finances to hire a professional.
One option is to hire a bookkeeper to ensure your books are in order, and most accountants will offer this service.
However, as stated there is a range of other services that we can offer.
Here are just a few ways we can help you:
Monthly management accounts.
Statutory accounts compliance (the legal stuff).
Year-end audit support.
Worrying about your business finances is not good for either your own health or the health of the business.
And this does not have to happen.
By hiring a good accountant, you can keep track of the financial health of the business and ensure you are legally compliant.
And while it seems like a good idea to try and take on the role of the accountant for your business, it rarely works out that way.
Either simply by creating increased stress for yourself or by taking up your time that would be best applied elsewhere, either at home or your business.
So if your accounts are giving you nightmares get in touch.
Help is a phone call away.
MI Accountancy Solutions are accountants based in Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire