A guest blog from Hannah Ackford the Managing Director of new digital agency “Consume Digital”
After taking the leap and starting my company “Consume Digital” in January 2016, I can now take the time to look back over the year and reflect. The journey of building a start-up has been a rollercoaster, with lessons learnt, mistakes made and above all some very exciting successes.
So knowing what I know now, what would I recommend to someone making the same journey as I made in 2016 in 2017?
Process is everything
The first year of business has got to be one of the hardest, with so many unknowns, different responsibilities, relationships to build and above all that the need to build a business that can survive in a fast changing environment. It’s easy in the early days to get carried away with the obvious, the need to sell, the need to promote and the need to make money, but interestingly one of my biggest recommendations to someone in the same shoes, would to be dedicate time to process and structure. Make sure your business is geared for growth, you never know how quickly things are going to take off, prepare now and be ready when you need to be.
The place for spreadsheets
The finances of a start-up and maintaining the most up to date information relating to turnover, budgets, profits, etc really is essential. Like many businesses, in the early days I was looking to keep my costs to a minimum and opted for a spreadsheet to maintain all of my financial information. Spreadsheets are great and can do just about everything you would need, but when there are more sophisticated systems on the market, is this a good use of your time and does it provide you with the visibility you need in real time?
The consumer world has really embraced technology and the vast array of automated systems on offer to us has grown rapidly. The business world has been somewhat lagging in terms of adaption, often due to perceived risks or reluctance to change. In May of this year, I finally decided to make the move from my trusty spreadsheets to a Cloud Accounting platform Quickbooks. The truth is I had used similar Cloud Accounting packages before and really regretted not doing this sooner, because it meant much more work in the long-run.
Improving efficiency and saving time
Investing in an online accounting package was most definitely one of the best decisions I made, it suddenly removed my need to make manually generated invoices, allowed me to set up recurring billing, gave me quick and clear access to my finances and outstanding invoices. What I found was that the time and efficiency gained much outweighed the small monthly cost.
More than just an accountant
In your first year, your accountant really is a fundamental member of your team. They will advise and help you in making important business decisions, with a knowledge in what structures and processes are best to adopt. Choosing the right accountant is important and making sure they have as much exposure to your financial information will only help you to get ahead in the earliest days of your business. One of the greatest things about setting up your online accounting system in the early days of your business journey, is that this will allow you to link up direct with your accountant. This means your accountant has good exposure to your financial information and the ability to make recommendations at every stage.
Although it may seem like a lesser priority in the early days for a start-up, having these processes and systems in place from day one will not only make your life easier, but will also save you time and money. Stage one should be about finding the right accountant, as these systems do not carry the same knowledge and insight, from here your accountant should be able to help you find the right solution for you when it comes to online accounting.
For further help in starting Cloud Accounting get in touch with Albert Goodman Connex Today.