In order to craft your financial story, it is necessary to have accurate and relevant content. Necessary steps to create and validate this content are:
Building the foundation: Steps to start the creation of your business foundation include
- Registering your business
- Getting a business bank account
- Selecting a system of record to account for your business transactions.
A separate business bank account and a system of record, such as Quickbooks Online, will keep your business out of your personal life allowing you to easily track dollars in and out, as well as alleviate some headaches at tax time.
Create a budget/forecast: Hopefully you have done your business plan already, which means that you should have created a financial forecast for the first three years of your business. Outlining your expected revenue and expenses for the month. If you haven’t yet, this is an important step in creating your financial story content and should be done.
Reconciling your cash: No matter where you are in your business life-cycle, accounting for your cash is important. Utilizing the accounting system that you have selected should allow this to be a painless process. Comparing your bank account to what you have recorded in your accounting system will not only allow you cash flow visibility, it will ensure that your books are accurate. Any missing cheques, erroneous withdrawals or insufficient customer payments will be quickly identified and can be dealt with in a timely manner making sure no dollar is lost.
Close your books monthly: At the end of every month your books should be closed, and financial statements (income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement) should be created and read. These statements should be reviewed in detail, understanding each line item and what that means for your business. Each month is like another chapter written in your story, and like a story, each chapter is important and none should be skipped without the risk of not fully understanding the story.
Review your actuals against your budget/forecast: With your budget/forecast already created, and your month end financial statements prepared, the next exercise is to compare the two and note any differences, and then to understand why. This is calculating your variances and creating commentary. You need to be aware of where your company has been to make sure that you keep on track to where you intend to go. If there are any significant changes to your business roadmap a new budget/forecast should be created.
Following these steps will ensure that you have accurate content to craft and understand your financial story. If you need help with any or all of the steps, we would be happy to help!