Sometimes running your own business takes up so much of your time that things slip through the cracks. Use the onset of Spring as an opportunity to take some time to perform some simple tasks that can help make running your business smoother in the long run. *Windex not required*
1 - Reconcile accounts
Sit down and ensure that your bank and credit card statements match your accounting records.
We're big advocates of monthly bookkeeping practices since regular transaction tracking helps catch errors or discrepancies early on. But if you struggle with finding the time to post transactions on a regular basis, working on the books at least a few times a year is better than nothing!
Be sure to verify that all transactions are recorded accurately and that no personal transactions have snuck in by accident.
2 - Clean your desk, vehicle or anywhere else that business-related clutter may compile.
A little spring cleaning goes a long way when your desk or vehicle tends to become a repository for random things.
Take the time to go through and organize the places that get cluttered and be amazed at what you find. Bet that at least half of those receipts you couldn't find when reconciling your statements are hiding in that chaos.
A clean and organized workspace can help improve productivity, on average people can spend an average of 4 hours a week looking for misplaced items. Once you've cleaned your workspace, find a system that can help it stay organized, such as folders or binders to store receipts and other important documents. That way, you'll know where they are when you need them.
3- Review your account receivables and payables
Again, this is another thing that really should be done more regularly, but if it's something that you struggle to find time for, then a little 'spring cleaning' can go a long way.
Follow up with customers that have an outstanding balance. Generally, a quick reminder about an unpaid bill is usually followed up with an "I can't believe I forgot about that!" and prompt payment. There may even be amounts owing that you yourself have forgotten about.
You may find that you have more clients with outstanding debt than you realized. This may be an indication that it's time to look into an automatic payment solution. If you have substantial amounts owing, consider reaching out to offer a payment plan, and any long-term debts owing could be written off as bad debt. Reaching out to clients in debt to you on a regular basis can help improve your cash flow and reduce the risk of bad debt. Of course, you should also check and make sure that there are no outstanding bills that you need to pay as well. Looking through your accounts payable may remind you about that invoice you meant to pay three weeks ago. Catching up on overdue payments is a great way to improve relationships with your suppliers.
4 - Inventory time!
If you carry inventory, now is a great time to do a physical count and compare numbers with what your records or inventory software show. This can help identify discrepancies and help make better ordering decisions in the future.
Proper inventory counts can reduce the risk of running out of something unexpectedly or ordering more when you don't need to. You can also use the opportunity to remove anything you find that is outdated or damaged.
5 - Review your expenses
Go through your credit card statements and check out all the monthly payments that automatically occur. You might be surprised at how many subscription-based services you are paying for that you don't use anymore. Cancelling or downgrading these plans can sometimes result in significant savings.
By analyzing your expenses you can find areas where you can cut costs or even negotiate better rates. Look at your phone and internet plans, are you paying for more data than you ever use? Or are you constantly going over and not noticing that the extra is costing you more than if you just bumped up to the next tier plan?
Another good expense to look at is banking. Many entrepreneurs set up a bank account when they start their business and forget to re-evaluate the banking plan as their business grows and evolves. There may be services you pay extra for that could be rolled into a different plan.
Taking the time to perform even just a few of these simple "Spring cleaning" tasks can go a long way in helping your business run smoother and more efficiently. You will have a better understanding of your financial situation, reduce the risk of losing important documents by introducing organization and empower yourself to make more informed decisions moving forward. So why not get into the spirit of Spring and set yourself up for success?