When starting a business from scratch there are many things that need to be done. Often when working within a very limited budget, most of the day-to-day running of the new company will fall to one person, the owner. These tasks include marketing, implementation, sales, idea development, and, of course, the dreaded accounting. As the business begins to take shape and money starts to (hopefully!) roll in, then is the time to start hiring people to take on certain roles within the company that match their strengths. Until that point, delegation just means outsourcing or taking the work on as an individual.
When it comes to finances and matters of profit, tax and taking payment; businesses from the very small to the very large must take great care. The smallest mistake with accounts can cause huge problems. For this area of business then, start-up owners must make the right choices to get it right.
Hire a Professional
For some business owners, skimping on accountancy simply is not an option, especially those involved in financial services, and regardless of the cost they will hire a professional accountant from the off. This offers huge peace of mind, as start-up owners can go about the business of running their company, knowing that all financial matters are in hand, and that any issues will be flagged to them as soon as they occur. Accountants can provide anything from a once a year tax check, to a full comprehensive service, so making sure to choose the right level of help is important.
There are many companies who provide accountancy software and apps to businesses. Most of these are paid services, but there are a few basic packages available that are free, or at most have a modest subscription cost. Reading online reviews of some of the cheap basic tools available is a great idea, as they are likely to have enough depth to support a business in its first few years at least.
Do it Yourself
The third and cheapest option is simply for small business owners to deal with all the financial aspects of the business themselves. By using information from HMRC online, start-up owners with relatively small turnovers can manage their own financial affairs. Using excel, HMRCs online service and online banking it is possible to do everything from the comfort of a laptop. It is important to keep a business bank account separate to a personal one, and to ensure there is adequate Internet security in place to prevent financial information being stolen. In a recent report by Which, Santander were found to have the weakest online security of all the UK high street banks, and RBS and Natwest the strongest. Last year there was a 42% increase in cyber attacks, and such an attack could cripple a start-up before it’s even got going. More information on online security issues can be found on Symantec’s infographic parts one and two.
Business is about profit, and making a mistake with figures is something all business owners try to avoid. Starting off on the right foot means following the protocol and keeping accurate accounts, including ensuring that information is safe from cyber criminals.