Entrepreneurs and small business owners are good at wearing multiple hats. They’re the marketing department, the production assistant, the CEO, the customer service rep, and much more. If you’ve been in business long, odds are you’ve learned quite a bit about finances (or you want to) and you might have even gotten pretty savvy at handling your books. However, doing it all starts to wear on you eventually, and it can even impact the growth and success of your business. Many entrepreneurs ask themselves the simple question, “How do I know when to hire a professional bookkeeper?”
Here are a few tips on how to know when to stop doing it yourself and start giving it to a professional bookkeeper. If you find yourself nodding your head in agreement with what you read below, let’s talk. We’d love to learn about your business and see if our services would be a good match.
It might be time to hire a professional bookkeeper if . . .
1. Your books are never up to date
We get that it’s hard to sit down and wade through the paperwork that makes up your company’s finances. But if your books aren’t up to date, you can’t be financially aware of where your business stands. That means you’re operating more on risk than you have to. Knowledge is power. Having your books up to date means you have the information you need to gauge the current health of your business and make smart, data-informed decisions.
2. Bookkeeping and finances take up too much of your time
Running your business means you’ve got to keep tabs on a lot of different moving parts. We’re always impressed with the entrepreneurs and small business owners we work with; they can manage a lot. But it’s not worth running yourself into the ground and losing your passion for your business. According to a report by Sage, small businesses spend an average of 120 working days per year on administrative tasks. Another study found that a majority of entrepreneurs say the administrative burden of managing federal taxes is worse than actually paying taxes.
If you’re finding that you’re spending more time in areas that you don’t love (say the bookkeeping and invoices) and less time doing what got you started in the first place (customer service or creating your products), then it might be time to hand it over to a professional.
Look online to see what options are available. Be sure to take into consideration pricing and fees. There are many affordable solutions that can help you handle your bookkeeping and taxes for a flat monthly fee. You’ll have a better handle on what it might cost to hand your bookkeeping over to someone else and you’ll also know what you’ll be able to gain from using their services as well. That’s a win!
3. You don’t know what your cash flow is
Cash flow is how much money you have moving in and out of your business at any given time. Knowing that number means you’ve got a good handle on the success and potential of your business. You’re aware of how much you’re spending and earning, and you’re keeping tabs on bills you need to pay as well as invoices you’ve sent out that need payment.
With a professional bookkeeper keeping track of your finances, you should have access to your cash flow number at any time. That might not be the case if you’re doing your books yourself or if they’re not currently up to date. Not knowing where you stand financially might not be hurting you, but it’s not helping you grow your business. A professional bookkeeper will provide you with financial reports and data that are essential to strategically expanding your business.
4. You handle your books at the same time you handle your taxes
Here are a few reasons you should consider doing your bookkeeping throughout the year, instead of during tax season:
- Accountants or CPAs usually charge more per hour than a bookkeeper does. That means you’re paying more for them to do a task that could cost you more than half that much.
- Books that aren’t up to date aren’t helping you make good business decisions and that means you’re taking more risks in your business. Having quarterly or monthly financial statements at your disposal means you can quickly track how your business decisions impact your bottom line.
- Accountants who do retroactive bookkeeping don’t always provide you with month-to-month records. These detailed records are often necessary to secure loans, or attract investors, not to mention help showcase the value of your business if you’re looking to sell.
5. Your sales have increased, you’re busier than ever, but you aren’t making more money
It happens more than you might think. Your business is growing, you’re busier than ever, but your net income is not growing or it’s tied up so you can’t invest it back into your business or pay it out to yourself or your employees. If your revenue is increasing but your bottom line doesn’t seem to budge that means you need to increase your profit margins.
The documents and reports that you’d receive from a bookkeeper will help show you where to cut costs so you can make your business more profitable.
For more details about profit margins and other numbers you should track as a business owner, watch this helpful video:
If you have questions or are looking for bookkeeping solutions, we’d love to chat about your business. We’re here to help!
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.