3 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Take Back Control of Your Business Finances in 2024

Finally - a New Year’s resolution you can actually do!

After working with tonnes of business owners - and being one myself - I know that the thing top of mind for all of us really boils down to the same thing:

This year I have GOT to get my sh*t sorted.

(“Sh*t” referring loosely to all the things that still managed to spin out of control by the end of last year). 

Whether it’s staff, stock, sales, a Xero clean out or all of the above, getting whatever it is sorted once and for all is where you find yourself each and every January. 

But then the daily grind takes over: 

😟 The space required to contemplate and organise vanishes. 

😧 The time to step back, restructure and reset evaporates. 

😩 The doing never gets done. 

BUT what if there was a way to change the course of these events? 

What if a small tweak now could nudge your trajectory ever so slightly, pointing you towards a year that could look radically different?

I have 3 subtle tweaks that will allow you to mess with the space-time continuum in your business - for the better. 

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#1. Stop mixing business with pleasure. 

Let’s start with the simplest of simple tweaks - you have GOT to stop putting personal expenses on your work card.

Now before you slump your shoulders, give me a good old fashioned eye-roll and a ‘yes, I know, I know…’ let’s unpack how much of a problem this really is: 

There’s the obvious issue of messy financial data. Much like letting the weeds grow unchecked in your garden, it’s so unnecessarily hard to get the lay of the land inside your business when there is ‘clutter’. You want your software to show you your state of affairs at a quick glance (not a long, blank stare).

But there’s another layer to this that makes this bad habit even more important to kick. 

By muddying the water between business expenses and personal, you’re only creating more instances for your bookkeeper to make the call as to what-goes-where. 

And that means more opportunity for human error and backtracking later.

Think about it: it’s highly unlikely your bookkeeper knows the details of the big picture game plan for your business. They may not know all the subtle nuances as to what can be a deduction in your specific business. They probably weren’t there for your latest chat with your accountant where you developed a smart tax minimisation strategy (more on this one later). 

The best bookkeepers are the ones that can work largely unsupervised whilst still being able to categorise your financial data in a way that serves your interests. BUT if you leave them hanging with transactions that live in that murky grey area, their motivations switch gears from confident categorisation into ‘where’s the safest place to allocate this?’

And that ‘safe’ place is usually in the personal, non-deductible laundry pile in the corner.

Side note to this one: by not having at least two distinct cards for business vs. personal, you could also be missing out on the benefits that can apply to each. Bonus points, frequent flyer miles, offsets and more - making sure expenses are stacked in the correct piles can open up even greater opportunities to cash in. 

Put simply: be sure the next transaction you make (and every payment thereafter) is on the the most appropriate account so it can be easily allocated to the most beneficial spot. 

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#2. Lifetime tax planning.

You spend far too many years of your business life thinking about tax in 12 month cycles, made up of 3 month sprints. 

Mistakenly, your sole focus is to pay as little tax as possible this financial year. The problem is, when your focus is this narrow you easily miss the opportunity to pay as little tax as possible this decade, if not this lifetime.

By taking a longer view of your income and expenses (beyond the next June 30 milestone) you can kick liabilities and deductible expenses further down the road in a much more strategic way. 

Not only that, when you have a multi-year, long term tax minimisation strategy in place, you are far less likely to fall victim to EOFY marketing.

Any business that offers tax deductible goods and services - cars, software, hardware, office supplies - will prey ferociously on your misplaced anxiety around the end of the financial year. They deliberately trigger your need to ‘panic spend’ your way out of a tax bill, without first stopping to consider if the purchase aligns with a broader tax minimisation plan. Flipside, you might just bag a bargain later in the year as dealerships and other businesses look to move old stock. 

Again, the action item here is ludicrously easy: consider what the long term plan looks like, and talk to your accountant about a tax strategy that aligns with it. It can evolve and adapt as needed; the key here is that this way of thinking pulls you out of knee-jerk decisions and keeps the 1000 ft view firmly in mind. 

Image courtesy of Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/person-holding-pen-with-coffee-on-table-5HqtJT2l9Gw

#3. Dedicated contemplation time.

Ever feel like you don’t have time to finish a thought? That could be having an impact that reaches further than just a busy, stressful day. 

Over the recent years we have come to idolise ‘busy-ness’ in business. We don’t allow ourselves the grace to stop and ruminate, conflating it too much with idleness and lack of productivity. 

Maybe it’s the leftover stain of the hustle and grind culture; we’ve realised too late that all we did was burn out, assigning too much status to simply not being able to stop. 

(Not preaching from the hilltops here either - raging over achiever right here!)

Well, I’m here to officially give your permission to ponder. 

This time and space is so important in envisioning the future of your business. If we don’t make time to zoom out from the daily ‘doing’ and consider what’s possible, we’ll lose our spark and fall into the habit of just getting to the finish line.  

Cast your mind back to the days just before you started your business. Perhaps you were a corporate escapee, maybe you were a stay-at-home parent with ambitions after the baby years, or perhaps you stepped into the family business. Somewhere along the way, you would have found yourself daydreaming about what might be. 

It’s those moments of fantasy where one day, your imagination settles on something that might just be possible. It’s just out of reach, just on the other side of our current reality that you start reaching out towards it. And with that, you launch yourself into entrepreneurship. 

Those dreams were critical in bringing you to this moment. For without the dream, you would never have started moving in this direction. You must allow yourself to contemplate what is now and what could possibly be. Wrestle with problems, search for solutions, reconnect back to your big, hairy goals often. 

Because the harsh reality is: if not now, when?

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I put the account in accountability.

If you’re looking for an accountability buddy to help you actually stick to these 3 easy steps, you’re in the right place. As an accountant-turned-financial-mentor, I’m in the sweet spot of facts, figures and warm fuzzies that most business owners need when getting their sh*t sorted. 

Because often, getting out of your own way isn’t about what software to use, what strategy to take, or what system to implement. It really begins on the deepest level of mindset first, before those atomic habits can be stacked productively on top. 

Your accountant will never address your fears with you. They’ll never explore your self-limiting beliefs, the mental roadblocks standing between you and taking this action (Let’s be real: there’s only so much ground you can cover in 6 minute increments). 

That’s where I come in. 

If you’re ready to take the simplest, most easiest of actions and change the trajectory of your future, it starts with a free chat with me, which you can book right here: https://lizjarvis.youcanbook.me/ 

Disclaimer: These are yuck and boring but unfortunately a legal requirement for professionals in my industry. So just a reminder, the information contained here is general in nature and you should seek financial and business advice tailored to your own personal circumstances. Which, by no small coincidence, I can help you out with. Head over to my website and book a free 15 minute chat with me: https://betterbusinessdecisions.com.au/

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