For April’s Financial Literacy Month, we reached out to accountants and bookkeepers and asked them to share the best financial advice they had. We asked them to base their tips on their knowledge and experience, with the aim of raising financial literacy among small business owners. We received many great responses and picked ten that were insightful, helpful, and actionable.
Here they are:
1. Veronica Wasek, accountant, from VM Wasek:
“Spend 5 minutes daily working on your business finances. Whether it's adding transactions or reviewing key reports. You'll feel empowered and in control of your financials.”
2. Maritza Jeri, accountant, from MJO Bookkeeping Services:
“Know your numbers! It is crucial that you keep track of your income and expenses. This is important for making financial projections and making well-informed financial business decisions.”
3. Stéphanie McGuirt, bookkeeper, from Pinnacle Flow Bookkeeping:
"Review your financial reports and ask questions. So many times we see business owners confused by their own data, and that shouldn't be the case. Your bookkeeper should be keeping you up to date on your numbers and making sure you have a clear understanding. And you should feel comfortable enough with them to ask any and all questions. That's where everything begins.”
4. Audra Wilson-Russel, CPA, from WATS CPA:
“Implement technology in your small business. Investing in technology will allow you to automate many functions and in turn create efficiencies. Be it accounting, bill pay, social media marketing, it can be automated. Invest a little money to save a lot of time.”
5. Peter P. Cullen, accountant, from Core Performance Consulting:
“Before selecting an accountant to work with, find out if they are prepared to serve your business’s needs and ask yourself how much intrinsic value they add to your business. Not only in handling financial statements and tax returns but also in helping as a business partner develop and flesh out the business strategy from a financial and operational perspective. If they cannot offer value in those areas, then keep searching.”
6. Joann Avina, financial controller, from Zeni:
“Document all your business expenses. Each transaction should include vendor name, date, amount, and a brief description of goods/services purchased. For employee expense reports, include the client name, name of attendees, and purpose of the meeting expense.”
7. Wayne Higdon, bookkeeper, from 25th Hour Accounting Solutions:
“Your profit and loss statement (P&L) is critical, but it’s only one part of your story. The Balance Sheet reveals if you can pay your bills, what cash you need to pay off your debts, and if your P&L is accurate. If you’re seeing crazy numbers on the balance sheet, you can be sure that the story your P&L is telling you is wrong. If your reports don’t look accurate, talk to an accounting consultant.”
8. Connie Mitchell, accountant, from Mitchell Business Services:
“Implement workflows that process financial transactions with accuracy and accountability.”
9. Jessica Fox, bookkeeper, from Florida Virtual Bookkeeper:
“Sales tax collected is not income. Set it aside to avoid spending it accidentally so you can remit it on time and avoid penalties.”
10. Tiffany Palombi, bookkeeper, from TNT Bookkeeping:
“By reconciling your business bank account, you compare your internal financial records against the monthly bank statements provided to you by your bank. A monthly reconciliation helps you identify any unusual transactions that might be caused by fraud or any accounting errors in the books.”
While the tips we received were diverse, there are some commonalities we can point to: find an accounting professional you can trust, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and dive into the numbers yourself (and if you need help, make sure you get it), and make technology your friend.
*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.