In each newsletter we will spotlight a small business/entrepreneur where we get to learn about their business and about their experiences handling the financial aspects of their small business – from bookkeeping to taxes – and what works or doesn’t work for them as they continue to grow their business.
Our featured business for this newsletter issue is Shelagh Cummins, speaker, trainer, and consultant of www.shelaghcummins.com. I have personally had the opportunity to work with Shelagh, as one of her clients, and as I can’t say enough good things about the experience it just made sense that she was our inaugural business spotlight.
Shelagh, for those who don’t know you, please tell us about your business:
I am a speaker, trainer and consultant for entrepreneurial women who are ready to own their time, double their income and accelerate the growth of their business. Grow Your Business is my signature program for entrepreneurs that are ready and committed to do what it takes to build their business. This highly effective curriculum is specifically tailored to meet your needs and will immediately change the way you work, sell, and multiply your results.
As a consultant and trainer, how do you handle your financial paperwork and bookkeeping?
I first have to admit openly and clearly that accounting and bookkeeping are not my strength. I find it overwhelming and it causes my blood pressure to rise just thinking about it. I have spent (wasted) more hours trying to figure out accounting software than I care to admit. When I think of all those hours I could have been creating great content for my community, or developing and offering new courses – I wasted not just time… but lost money too. I have learned it’s important to Shake Your Moneymaker™, and outsource the work which is painful and a time suck. For me, that goes for accounting.
What has been, or continues to be, your biggest challenge with your business bookkeeping?
Consistency. Creating a receipt tracking system and sticking with it. Creating a monthly process for bookkeeping (or getting the items to the bookkeeper) and sticking with it. Allocating income into different accounts for various needs and sticking with it. I think the biggest challenge is creating that repeatable system that is easy for someone like me to follow and stick with – consistently.
Do you have any words of wisdom with respect to business finances that you would like to share that you’ve learned through your own experiences with managing your business’ books?
1. Not all revenue is income. I believe strongly that you need to pay your business before you pay yourself. Allocating and budgeting revenue for things like HST, Savings, Debt Repayment, Outsourcing, Website Maintenance… all those expenses keep your business running and are a necessity. When you draw every penny that comes in for yourself, you aren’t feeding the financial health of your business long term. It costs money to make money.
2. Don’t do your own accounting unless you’re an accountant. They know more than you. It’s their business. It will cost you more to do your own accounting because you are not earning revenue while you are fighting with your numbers AND your accountant knows tricks and tips that you don’t. Make accounting your first repeatable monthly expense.
What would you have like to have known about managing your finances before you started your business? Do you think it would have changed how you operate now?
Start with a monthly repeatable system for tracking your income and expenses. Use whatever works for you… but just use it. Consistently. Every month. Without a healthy finances your business is not sustainable. It’s as simple as that.
Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Trainer