Run Your Business Better: 5 Bookkeeping Tips for Work at Home Moms
If you wear the proverbial hats of mom and business owner, you’re already familiar with being pulled in numerous directions. And, if your business happens to be run out of your home, your situation can be even more complicated. Important papers can get lost (courtesy of the two-year-old with the big blue eyes), nerves can be worn thin and lines can become blurred between personal and business. In order to keep your business humming along and a decent-sized shred of your sanity, it’s imperative your financials are in order. Here are a few bookkeeping tips to making your home-based business thrive, so more time can be freed up to be spent as mom.
Track Your Accounting
First things first. If you’re not staying on top of your accounting, what are you waiting for? It takes some time to sit down and make entries, draw up invoices and set up a software system, but if not now, when? Disordered and mismanaged finances spell disaster for your business, so if you can spring for it, give QuickBooks for small business a try. If that expense isn’t in your budget, try a free system like GnuCash. Your first order of business is to get the system up and running so you can easily handle basic functions like entering debits and credits and creating invoices.
Invoice on Schedule
In your busy role as entrepreneur by day and 24/7 mom, it’s understandable that some tasks on your to-do list slide every now and again. Your five-year-old’s flu took precedence over everything, and your client’s major year-end project took priority after that. Life happens. But, whenever you’re able to, invoice right on schedule. A big mistake many female business owners make is letting this task take a backseat to other things. But, you won’t get paid if you don’t invoice, so this needs to be considered an ongoing, urgent action item.
Start preparing your invoice days (or even a week) before you plan to send them. Get them to your customers via mail and email if possible so you can ensure their receipt. If you’re not comfortable invoicing through your accounting software, there are multiple invoicing apps worth looking into (some of which are even free). Whichever way you go, do yourself a favor and bump this up on your list of to-dos.
Capitalize on the Cloud
In addition to enabling your accounting software to be accessible from anywhere, the cloud is your friend. One financial tip that can serve you well is to store a backup of all your company’s receipts and important documents in the cloud. This way you can access your data anywhere, even from your phone. Having physical backups, as well as Web-based backups, is one of the best ways to stay organized and be sure your valuable documents never get misplaced.
Pay and Be Paid
Since cash flow is important, you want to give customers every reason to pay you quickly. If you find yourself running into late payments from the same customers repeatedly, come up with an action plan for nixing this behavior in the future. Furthermore, make sure your invoices clearly offer simple ways to pay, like through PayPal or an app like Venmo. These also are easy and fast ways for you to pay your contractors, who will appreciate not having to wait for a paper check in the mail.
Get Cozy with a CPA
Last, but certainly not least, think of your taxes well in advance of tax season. Since you likely don’t have an accountant managing your bookkeeping, you might also think you can wing it with your taxes. But as the old adage goes, “don’t mess with the IRS.” Many CPAs will meet with you for free and offer advice about preparing for tax time, with the hope that you’ll use their services later. Once you find a CPA, you will be certain that you’re saving all necessary documents needed for tax time.
As a mom and business owner, you’re no stranger to hard work and sacrifice. Give yourself the ability to see the fruits of your labor by properly managing your bookkeeping from the get-go. By using these bookkeeping tips — tracking your accounting, invoicing on schedule, relying upon the cloud, making payments easy and meeting with a CPA — you’ll be well on your way to easy, breezy finances—and maybe even a little peace of mind too.