As a self-employed worker, you’ll always have a staggering amount of items on your to-do list, but probably will never feel like you have enough time to get everything (or even a fraction of your jobs) done each week.
While it may be tempting to spend your hours on those things which help you drive sales, or the areas which you enjoy working on the most, it’s imperative that you don’t ignore the finances of your venture month after month.
Consider these facts: statistics show that a whopping 90 percent of startups fail; while 96 percent of businesses fail within ten years, primarily because they can’t pay their bills. As well, a CBS study of more than 150 failed startups discovered that one of the most common problems across the board was that entrepreneurs didn’t actually know how they were going to make money in the first place.
As you can see, financial management should be something you always concern yourself with, no matter what industry you work in. When you’re self-employed, you don’t have a corporation behind you to worry about cashflow, so you really need to be proactive and find ways to get a handle on it yourself.
To help make life easier though, you can take advantage of some of the great apps on the market which have been created for business people. Many apps not only help to keep ventures on the right financial path, but can also be seen as increasing productivity for entrepreneurs at the same time. Read on for some top tech aids you should consider downloading today.
Many self-employed people work as contractors or in other roles that require them to keep track of the amount of minutes or hours they spend on each project or for each of their clients every day. If you operate in this way, then it’s vital that you never miss charging for any of the time you spend working, as this can have a big impact on your business finances.
A great app that will not only help you to ensure all billable hours are covered, but that will also help make the process quicker and easier, is Toggl. This time-tracking program will help you maximize your revenue as it tracks your work hours, whether you’re conducting business in the office, at home, or any other spot.
With a simple click of a button the software will record when your tasks or meetings begin and then end. A really handy part of the app is that is doesn’t need to access the internet in order to work, which is perfect if you like to get things done in areas (such as client homes, parks, coffee shops etc.) where Wi-Fi isn’t available. The software simply tracks the time you spend on your work while offline, and then syncs the new data once you’re connected to the internet again.
A task that many self-employed people find rather tedious is putting together their expense claims each month, quarter or year. If you tend to miss out on claiming all the expenses you can because you lose track of receipts or forget what certain charges were for, it’s time to download Expensify.
This app will not only help you to keep track of, record, and upload expenses, but will also make it easier to see where your venture’s budget is at each day. For starters, you should link up your credit and debit cards to the app. Then, when you’re away from the office and pay for something on card (such as a business lunch with clients or new stationery for the office), the system will automatically upload the information to an expense report for you.
If you pay with cash, your paper receipts can also be painlessly taken care of. Simply take a photo of your receipt with the camera on your cell phone, and then sync this with the app. The tech will then automatically extract the relevant data from the image, and upload the information to your report.
The best way to manage your company finances is to regularly take a look at how things are tracking. An award-winning app that makes this quick and easy to do is Mint. Created by Intuit, the makers of the Quicken program that many entrepreneurs use, Mint collates financial business data into a comprehensive analysis that can be seen at a glance via charts and graphs.
The program uses sources such as bank loans, credit and debit accounts, bank accounts and car loans to source the pertinent details, plus users can also enter cash transactions manually to keep the program updated.
Use Mint to set and adhere to a budget; manage cashflow; see where money is being spent; generate reminders for invoices; categorize expenses; and set savings goals. In addition, the app can also be set up to send you regular savings and cost-cutting tips, such as credit cards with lower fees than you’re currently paying, or savings accounts which pay better rates of interest.
Theresa Todman, Managing Partner/CEO of B&M Financial Management Services, LLC . Theresa specializes in bookkeeping, accounting, QuickBooks solutions, small business tax issues and consulting.