Without competent administrative control over your business, the very foundation of your business’ operations can be sent into disarray. If you do not keep up-to-date with the business’ cash flow, record keeping and administration, you could be leaving your business in a financially vulnerable position.
You must find a balance between keeping on top of your administrative duties while managing the daily demands of your business’ operation. A good starting point will be your accountant.
Finding a good accountant
Good financial management is the key to keeping your business afloat and on an even keel. An accountant will be able to give you important advice and pinpoint any particular business problems.
In the start-up phase, you should have an accountant counsel you and once your business is operating, your accountant will also be able to guide you and iron out any creases when it comes to your day-to-day business operations.
Accountants, while costing you money, may actually save you money in the long run. When looking to hire an accountant ask yourself the following:
Is the accountant easily accessible? Will I be able to get a quick answer to a simple question by phone or e-mail?
Does the accountant offer other services such as preparing business plans?
Does the accountant offer to provide long-term strategic advice?
You should choose an accountant who is a member of either the Society of Certified Practicing Accountants or the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. Members of either body must abide by strict ethical codes and maintain a program of ongoing professional development to keep abreast of changing accounting and taxation laws.
When looking for an accountant you should ask for referrals from associates where possible. Accountant’s fees, like those of lawyers, doctors and other professionals vary widely. A small-town accountant may charge around $90 an hour, while some of the large, national firms charge $100 to $250 an hour or more for the services of their personnel, depending on their experience and position.
Delegating administrative functions
While engaging the services of an accountant is a must, they will not be present every day to offer you advice or help you develop your administrative process. As a result, you will need to decide what system you will put in place to make sure you keep your records up-to-date and your bookkeeping duties are completed.
You will want to set aside time to carry out this side of your business requirements. However, you may find it difficult to balance the day-to-day business operations as well as keeping on top of administrative tasks.
Keeping your books up-to-date is important. The state of your financial records will play a part in how well the business operates and is now part of Australia’s GST system. If you plan to run your business as the sole-operator, you may find it difficult to allocate the time necessary to keep your business books in order.
You may also find that you lack the expertise or confidence to undertake the administrative bookkeeping tasks in a competent fashion. This is where you need to delegate certain duties and this decision may call for the services of an experienced bookkeeper.
A bookkeeper will be able to complete those tasks many small business owners may not be able to find time to do. Many small businesses use bookkeepers to help alleviate the burden of keeping up-to-date with financial records and administrative duties.
It may be as simple as having the bookkeeper come in one a week or once a month. This will depend on your individual needs. When locating a bookkeeper a good starting point would be to ask for referrals from your accountant. You could also look in the Yellow Pages, in your local newspaper or advertise for one. Make sure the person has the necessary experience and qualifications and that the price is suitable.