If you’re a business owner, you know that being your own boss can be one of the most freeing positions, but also one of the loneliest. Unlike other jobs, there is no guidance or support to be found from a management team above you, or peers around you. I’ve found this myself in multiple situations where I didn’t know how to accomplish a task related to marketing, sales, or website design, all areas where I have a very small amount of know-how.
Luckily for you (and me), you’re not on your own when you assemble your own team. Just as you are an expert in your industry, experts exist in all the industries that you know little about. I’ve assembled a sample “Financial A-Team” for you to utilize in your own business. This team will handle all aspects of your business’s (and your personal) finances, giving you extra time each month to work on what you’re passionate about. Keep reading to learn about each member of this time & stress saving “A-Team”.
Accountant – An accountant, also called a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), is the one of the two “big picture” individuals on your team. An accountant is in charge of the tax preparation and payments for your business. If you have questions about how to structure your business to receive the most tax savings, which purchases you’ll be able to write off of your taxes and any other questions relating to what you’ll need to pay to the state and the federal government, these are questions for your CPA. CPAs are also the professionals who will prepare and file your taxes each year. CPAs are certified professionals through the state they work in and are very knowledgeable about tax law and business structures. CPAs work closely with bookkeepers in keeping track of your business’s finances each month and quarter.
Financial Adviser – Financial advisers are professionals who also look at the “big picture” of your financial situation. Financial advisers will look at your personal financial situation and determine how your business fits into this. They are the experts when determining how you can best save for retirement, protect your assets with insurance products, and ensure you are saving and spending in manageable and effective ways. Many financial advisers work with a parent company such as Edward Jones or Northwestern Mutual. But you will also find independent advisers. Advisers help you to plan for the “long game”. They will help you answer questions such as: “How much do I need to save for retirement? (and through what method)”, “What type of life and disability insurance do I need?” and “What should my investment portfolio look like?”.
Payroll/HR Services – Payroll and HR services are roles that you as the business owner can take on. The question is, do you want to? Each of these roles can become major time drains in your schedule depending on the size of your business. Payroll is relatively easy to automate through many online services, but HR services usually need a more personal touch. Many payroll providers can provide payroll as well as HR services such as handbook creation, hiring/termination support, providing benefits, and training staff. Outsourcing these tasks can make your life easier and allow you time to continue working on growing and improving your business.
Bookkeeper – In the way that CPAs and Financial Advisers look at the “long term” of your business, bookkeepers work more with the day-to-day processes of the business. A bookkeeper is the professional who helps you stay updated and knowledgeable about the daily/weekly/monthly state of your business’s finances. They keep your bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks, updated and can take many bookkeeping tasks out of your hands so you have more time to do what you love. These tasks can include bank reconciliation, invoicing, bill pay, budgeting, preparing financial statements and more. These tasks on average take business owners 10-20 hours a month. Hiring a bookkeeper gives these hours back to the business owner to use as they wish. Bookkeepers work closely with CPAs to make sure the business is running optimally and is meeting all tax requirements. Bookkeepers also take on a adviser role, advising on the growth of the business based off of the data found in the financial statements of the business.
As a bookkeeper, I’ve found that many business owners use only one or two of these roles in the day-to-day operations of their business. It’s important to understand the differences in roles between each of these professionals and begin integrating them into the working of your business. If you utilize your own A-Team, as shown in this article, you’ll have both a complete financial picture and plan for your business, while also having much more time to use as you wish during each month. Now go out and find them!
Finally — If you don’t know where to begin looking for your own A-Team, I would love to connect you to any one of multiple quality professionals who can fill these roles in your business.