Julie owns a successful jewelry boutique and has been in business for 3 years. When she started the business, there was such excitement. She was engaged with all the customers and they all loved her. She created quite an online following where she became the face of the business and showed off new merchandise. Julie loved running her own business and seeing her dream blossom. Her first-year sales were wonderful!
Three years later, she finds herself frustrated and overwhelmed with the mountain of paperwork and amount of activity she has to do. It’s Monday morning and her first task is to try to sort through invoices, balance the checking account and handle the overdue sales tax. Julie’s next job after she finishes her office work is to start the months-late process of repricing items. While doing that, she has Mandy, a first-year college student, working as a salesclerk and assisting with customers. Mandy is quite pleasant, but by no means shares Julie’s passion for her business.
Thankfully, on Tuesdays she has her retired uncle coming in to help her with her bookkeeping. Uncle Charles was once a manager at a retail drug store and dabbled in the accounting. Of course, he did everything by hand because that’s how he learned to do it. Although he was a little slow and could only help for a few hours, he managed to eventually “close” out the books. However, when she supplied her financials to the bank, something always seemed off.
Julie has been wanting to become more active in posting about her latest products on Instagram, but there never seems to be enough time in the day. Lately, sales have dropped and she almost hates her “job” and cannot wait to get home and relax.
Looks like Julie fell into the weeds of her business and could not get out…
Are YOU working in the weeds?
It’s time to get yourself out and focus on the things that create success for your business.
One of the first steps is not just getting help, but get the right help. Your day-to-day accounting is one of those functions that not only should be delegated, but delegated to the right person. Unless you are running a business large enough to employ an accounting department, you will most likely not need a full-time person managing your books. The right person is someone that has experience in all facets of business accounting that may include inventory issues, sales posting, proper reconciliations, and certain compliance obligations such as sales tax and property tax.
For most small businesses, their accounting work should not be more than 10 hours a week (some exceptions apply). The issue is finding that qualified person willing to only work 10 hours a week and be available as you need them. One solution that many small businesses have pursued is outsourced accounting. With the right outsourced accounting firm, you should be able to count on accurate and timely financial data to take you out of the weeds and focus on your company’s growth.
Some small businesses have taken the next step up and taken on outsourced CFO services or outsourced controllership services. When combined with the back-office accounting, the business owner not only can get timely and accurate financial data, but also have an experienced professional to help interpret what the numbers represent and assist in developing a sound financial plan for the future.
Of course, the accounting is not the only area to consider when getting you out of the weeds…
What tasks are you doing that the right staff could be trained and easily perform?
- Allocate some time and document all the tasks that you do every day for a week.
- Consider all the tasks where your involvement means greater business success and then the tasks that are just time consumers. Figure out what can be delegated.
- Be sure the help you seek is qualified to do the work. While it might cost more than what Uncle Charles charges, in the long run your business will reap greater rewards.