First of all, let me tell you that it is much easier for me to write this article telling you what you should be doing then for me to do it. The subject is Ugly, Gruesome, Hideous & Repugnant! As our Managing Member, I hate this side of our firm. If you are like 99.99% of entrepreneurs, you will/do as well. This subject that I speak of with such unpleasantries is the ADMINiSTRATIVE side of a small business.
Entrepreneurs don’t start a business so that they can push paperwork. One thing, however, is guaranteed – left undone, your business will fail. Why? Picture the administrative part of your business as two rabbits. What do rabbits do? They grow and multiply!!! This is what you can expect if you ignore the administrative side of your “dream”.
So, what do you do? How do you tackle this beast? Over the years, we have seen multiple approaches – some work, some don’t. Until you try, you will never know what works best for you and your company. That being said, the following are a few categories that we feel very definite about.
Small Business Accounting Software
Five years ago, there was only one real player in this arena – Intuit’s QuickBooks (QBs). The biggest problem most had with QuickBooks was that it required an accounting background to fully understand it. Since then, competition has come into the marketplace that is geared toward the entrepreneur who doesn’t have to understand accounting to keep the company’s books. Those introduced in the past few years are FreshBooks, Xero, Sage and Zoho. Most all are cloud-based and economically priced. A word of caution – cheapest is not always best. We highly recommend you test two or three to determine what works best for you.
If you get only one thing out of this article, let it be this – DO NOT TAKE PAYROLL ON ALL BY YOURSELF (Notice I didn’t say to hand this off to someone else and not worry about it). Payroll is not that difficult but the various laws and filing requirements can be. Get educated on the various filing requirements and understand the different governmental agencies involved. Have someone teach you how to do it. If you don’t, you will not understand and could easily lose your business if you fail to pay the necessary taxes. Only after you have realized what is required and the process involved is it then ok to have someone do it for you.
The Love and Hate of Self Employment
To summarize the love-hate relationship we all have with the administrative side of our business, I’m going to defer to one of my favorite characters, Chance the Gardner, played by Peter Sellers in the 1979 movie Being There. Chance was a simple-minded, uneducated gardener who became the unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and insider in Washington. He was asked if he thought the slowing economy, downtrend of the stock market, and increase in unemployment was a phase or would it continue for a long period of time. Chance the Gardner replied, “In a garden, things grow…but first, they must wither; trees have to lose their leaves in order to put forth new leaves and to grow thicker and stronger and taller.” How does this apply to your business? Administratively, things will initially be pushed to the side and not done. For your business to thrive, this task must not be forgotten.
At Lesemann CPAs , this is something we do for many of our clients. Schedule an appointment with us and let us show how we can help you “grow your garden”!
Our series, Starting Your Own Business – the “American Dream”, Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3, will conclude with our next newsletter. We have received some recommendations for our next subject to tackle but have not finalized yet. Please send us any topics that you would like to see addressed by using our Contact page and completing the form.