Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why Small Business Owners Hate the Numbers (Warning: Soapbox Post)

You may be wondering why I am qualified to write and speak about finances and the dreaded "numbers game" of running a business. I'll tell ya...

When I was a senior in high school, I decided to take a few business courses to breakup the monotony of all the chemistry, math and history classes I had to take in order to get into college. I took 6th period Accounting (lunch period) because I was more than likely going to ditch the class to hang out in the lunch room. Yes...I "planned" when I was going to ditch. I certainly wasn't going to use that time for a "serious" class! (See? I was a "planner" even back then!)

Anyway, long story short I LOVED the class. So much so that I did the homework way in advance of when it was due. The curriculum? Starting and maintaining the books for a fictitious company during a three month period. It was like a game to me. I think I had the entire first month's worth of transactions interpreted, recorded and books balanced by the first or second week.

Got an A+ in the class...off to UConn I went...majored in, you guessed it...accounting...and spent the next 25 years working my way up from bookkeeper to Director of Finance of a company here in Phoenix. I earned great money, enjoyed a great lifestyle and it exposed me to the in's and outs of running a business profitably.

That's why I love the numbers.

So here's a rerun of a post I did a few days ago...a reminder of why you hate the numbers:

1. You are not good at it. You haven't been trained to do it.

2. You don't have time to do it. You're busy running your business and your life. You'd rather spend time on the creative aspects of running your business.

3. You can't keep track of all your receipts or all of the ways you spend your money. Money goes flying in and out the door in different ways at different times. 

4. You don't know what receipt you should save and what you shouldn't save. You end up saving every little receipt for every little expense (annoying) and you're not sure if you should spend the time to file that receipt in a neat little place or because you don't know if that expense is really important.

5. You don't know how to record or categorize all the different ways you spend money. Again, this goes back to all of the different ways you spend money, whether it's cash, check, credit card. It's very confusing when you use all these ways of spending money, and what to do with each type of tender.

6. It's not glamorous. Flowers, linens, fancy cakes and taking pictures of insanely gorgeous couples is glamorous...crunching numbers is not.

Bookkeeping is not something that people enjoy doing, and it never will be, but there are ways to make it more simple.  Really, I promise.  Tomorrow I'll share more on why it's important and some simple steps to make it easy for you.

Until next time...

Aspire to Plan!


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