It’s a common joke among small business owners: I’m the CEO and the sales guy and the billing department and I make the coffee. As the founder of multiple successful software companies, including personal finance management service MoneyStream, I’ve certainly used that line more than a few times.
Of course, we don’t complain about making the coffee. Hey, someone’s got to do it. But there has to be a limit.
I’ve been fortunate to work with numerous entrepreneurs over the years. One of the pitfalls they fall into is the wasted timed on low-payoff work like running to get office supplies. Meanwhile, they short the activities that drive growth, such as negotiating a lucrative contract or persuading an existing client to grow their business.
Managing your personal and business finances is not low-payoff work. But it’s not your core competency either. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a CPA to properly manage your finances. Here are a few tips for saving time on financial management.
Centralize on a single finance platform
From mortgages to car payments and credit cards to student loans, we’re overloaded with financial obligations – and systems to manage them. And every system has its own username, its own password, and maybe even its own security question. No wonder our finances are such a mess!
Other parts of our lives are centralized. Why not finance? Every small business owner should be able to access and manage banking, bill paying, record keeping, payment scheduling and cash flow from a single online dashboard.
Let your technology micromanage your finances for you
The reward of micromanaging your finances comes when you find those little quirks that save a few dollars here or a hundred bucks there. Unforeseen expenses. Overspending on fixed costs. Recurring charges to credit cards.
The human eye – especially the overtaxed eye of the entrepreneur – simply cannot catch everything. Fortunately, it’s all in the data. Unfortunately, the data is useless if it’s not actionable. It’s up to technologists to harness that data to feed time- and money-saving information back to you.
Look to the future by projecting cash flow
A lot of finance services and apps tell you how you’ve spent your money. That’s nice, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, you’re probably not all that surprised how much of the pie is chewed up by dining out.
The real insights are gleaned from projecting your cash flow. Financial management is about how our money comes in and how our money goes out. You want a full financial picture of your cash flow – cash available, payables owed, and what bill payments are due – without a ton of legwork.
Remember, time is money – especially for entrepreneurs
We all know that time is money. In my opinion, that only applies if it’s time well spent.
By more efficiently managing day-to-day financial management tasks like bill payment, bank statement reconciliation, and cash flow projection, you’re free to invest in the more important, more lucrative stuff like growing your business and increasing profit.
And maybe making a pot of coffee or two.
Mike Bertrand is CEO of MoneyStream. MoneyStream is the first, all-in-one smart money management service that links, coordinates and consolidates all of your personal and business finances into a single online service.