Organization is Key – Saving time and money in business

bookkeepingOrganization is key – key to what?

As entrepreneurs we are always looking for ways to make money. Isn’t that one of the reasons we became entrepreneurs?

There is no greater way of losing opportunities to make money than being disorganized. Wasting time searching for documents we have misplaced, digging through piles of papers looking for customer orders, flipping through receipts trying to find that one for the item we need to return and worst of all, searching our emails looking for that one email that has the attachment we so desperately need!

Wasting time is the number one reason why we lose opportunities for making money!

Yes, I get it! It takes TIME to get ORGANIZED. But when you think of the investment in time to get organized, you will save so much more time later. Automating our systems is the next time saver that will allow us to make more money! But that’s another topic we can discuss later.

Back to getting organized. So can bet you are wondering “where do I start?” Am I right? Simple. Think about how you work and what are the steps you take from beginning to end when you work with your clients. Think about how you group your customers, services, products, supplies, etc. Create a list with the groupings for each of these categories. These are the “folders” you are going to create and start “filing” the documents, emails and digital documents. Yes, they are going to look the same! Why? Because when you think of where you are going to look for something — you will know EXACTLY where to look regardless of the type of item it is. And guess what? These categories are going to be cross-referenced in your bookkeeping! Easy, peasy!

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Backup Your Bookkeeping

You’ve completed your bookkeeping, put your paperwork away and shut off your computer. Without a second thought you walk out of your office and end bookkeepingyour day.

You have set up a backup system to your computer and trust that it works to keep you protected from losing any of your bookkeeping data.  Doesn’t it feel great to have that in place?

So what about the other backup?

When I talk to clients about backing up their data this is where their mind goes right away. I’m very pleased when they tell me that their computer backups are in place (when they are). But the backup I find myself talking about these days is “proof in numbers”.

Entrepreneurs worry about filing their personal, corporate and sales taxes on time so C.R.A. (Canada Revenue Agency) won’t come knocking on their door. Filing on time will certainly help reduce the chance of that wolf coming to your door (the C.R.A. Auditor), but it’s not necessarily what will let you sleep well at night.

What will keep you awake at night, or at least it should, is the lack of documentation and proof behind the numbers.

I’m talking about receipts for purchases, invoices for sales and documents for deposits that don’t relate to your sales. Working from bank statements and credit card statements are NOT your proof in the pudding. Sure it shows you purchased items and deposited money. But the lack of details is the problem. According to C.R.A you are responsible for accounting and financial documents include the documents to support these transactions.

Notice it states “documents to support these transactions”. This means receipts, invoices, etc. documentation that shows the details of the transactions etc.

I have been through a few audits with a couple clients and we always sailed through them easily, because I ALWAYS backup the transactions with receipts or documentation that provides details for the transactions.

Backup, backup, backup.  This is more than just a digital backup of your accounting data.

bookkeeping

How do you protect yourself?

  1. Ensure you have receipts with details – where details are lacking, make notes on the back of the receipt.
  2. Ask restaurants for the receipts that show the taxes (quite often you only get the POS receipts).
  3. Create a simple filing system to store your receipts until you have recorded them in your bookkeeping program. (Sign up for my Let’s Get Organized Together workshop)
  4. Have steps in place that ensure documents are acquired for each transaction – make sure your employees know what is necessary.
  5. Scan a copy of the receipts (with the details) and attach it to the transactions in Quickbooks Online.

Stay up to date with Canada Revenue Agency guidelines by joining my Facebook Bookkeeping Accountability Group

Release

6 Steps to Release Overwhelm

Today I’d like to share 5 steps for releasing overwhelm when it comes to your bookkeeping. Yep, there, I said it! That dirty word…. bookkeeping. Are you cringing yet? Does that word or the thought of doing your own bookkeeping make you want to tuck tail and run the other way? It’s doesn’t have to  and I guarantee I can help you feel much better about your bookkeeping.

This beautiful picture hangs in my office, right by my desk. The title is “Release”, it’s part of a series called The Yellow Dress Project. It was painted by a beautiful soul by the name of Torre Marie.

So you are probably wondering why I added this picture in my blog. The moment I saw this picture, it spoke to me in so many ways.  It is a daily reminder for me to “Release” all that does not serve me.  That includes overwhelm and stress!

Starting a business is exciting. You had an idea that lit your fire, a product that you absolutely knew others would love. Or a service you could provide because you are just so damn good at it. I know exactly how you feel, because I absolutely LOVE to work with entrepreneurs like you, teaching you about money processes, what they are, what to pay attention to, how to read financial reports and how to find a great resources that will work with you to grow up your baby with you – almost like co-parenting, but it’s YOUR baby, YOUR business.

Bookkeeping was one of those things you probably didn’t think twice about. But now it’s constantly in your face with the invoicing of clients, the purchasing of products and services and not to mention keeping track of those bank accounts (which includes PayPal, Stripe, Square, yada yada).

Do you have a drawer (or box) full of receipts that you’ve jammed in there thinking “I’ll deal with that later”. Is your In Box full of emails with digital receipts and payments from customers (you gotta love etransfers, but what do you do with those confirmations?).

Okay, let’s stop right there!

I’d like to tell you about a simple solution which will save you time and money. These are the two quantifiable elements in business that I like to save for YOU. When setting up a K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple) System, you will no longer waste time searching for receipts and documents which will leave you with more time to make MONEY and make it easier to do your bookkeeping! I know how we all love to do that, besides isn’t that one of the reasons we got into business? Let me share these First K.I.S.S. steps with you.

  1. Schedule a trip to Staples or Walmart to purchase your supplies, be sure to include time to create your K.I.S.S. system. If it’s not in your agenda, it probably will never happen!
  2. Create a list of supplies;
    1. Desktop Hanging Folder Holder
    2. Additional Hanging Folders
    3. File Folders
    4. Labels
  3. Grab your copy of “Organization is Key”  and review the sample Chart of Accounts and choose the expenses you need to track the most for your business. A bright Yellow Highlighter is great for this step. Take note of how many files you need to create – add that note to your list of supplies in Step 2
  4. Get in your car and make that joyful trip to the store to purchase your supplies.
  5. Once you are home, create your filing system!
  6. Pull out that drawer/box and get sorting (if you have WAY too much to do and find yourself reaching your limit, schedule blocks of time to get it finished).

Once you have completed sorting those receipts/documents that have been tucked away for so long, find a convenient place for your new K.I.S.S. system. You know, that place you go when you walk in the door and unload. Some examples could be the kitchen counter or a shelf near your desk in your office.

In my next post I will share the Second K.I.S.S. step in my simple Keep It Simple Systems which will remove more overwhelm in stress.

Want help creating your First K.I.S.S.? Join me and a few other entrepreneurs for an in-person FiRST K.I.S.S. workshop where we build our desktop systems together (the supplies are included in the workshop) and learn about the Top 5 Things to Track in your business. 

 

Bookkeeping is like learning to drive

Learning to do bookkeeping is like learning to drive.

It was August 1979, when at the age of 19 I decided it was time to learn how to drive. Bumming rides and hopping the bus was getting old and mom refused to share her car!

After a bit of prodding and teasing I took my brother up on a quick driving lesson at the local high school. This “lesson” assured me that what I really needed was to invest in professional driving lessons!

You see, he decided that after a period of driving up and down the parking lot navigating the aisles (staying away from the parking spaces), it would be wise for him to teach me how to drive in circles and stop fast!! That turned out to be a bad idea.  As I picked up speed I panicked and ended up side swiping the yellow cement base of a light post.

OMG! My heart was beating out of my chest and my sweaty hands were gripping the steering wheel so tightly I swear I was leaving marks in the steering wheel.v. As soon as the car stopped moving, my thoughts when straight to how much trouble I was going to be in when we got home. I could just picture the look on mom’s face when she starts screaming her head off because I damaged her car. Even though we only lived across the street, the short drive seemed verrryyy long. What was I going to say?

As soon as we got home my brother jumped out of the card and placed himself strategically against the side of the car, hiding the dent i had made. Mom came out of the house, took one look at my brother, started grinning and asked him what happened. At that moment he slid himself away from the car wish his boyish grin when  mom laughed and said “at least I wasn’t the one who put the first dent in it.”.  That was NOT the reaction I was expecting, at all! (My brother had to fix it so the last laugh was on him, lol)

Bookkeeping Instructor

Right after that lesson I did a little research to compare cost and features of the driving schools in the area.  I decided on Young Drivers of Canada because they offered additional defensive driving in the cost of their program. Their tagline is “defensive driving becomes second nature.” I like that.

The cheapest was not an option. I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for. I wanted

I was relieved to find out that our first 2 classes were actually in the drive center. Not only did the review the rules of the road, they taught steps we needed to take to see others drivers, potential hazards and important points about cars.  Once we received these instructions, it was time to take us out on the road.

But not just yet! The instructor actually shared some very valuable information about the rear and side mirrors, what we could and could not see as we sat in the driver’s seat and how far we could see in front and behind us. He helped us to understand this last point by walking in front of the car and instructed us to tell him when we could see his feet. This was his example of how far we should be from the car in front of us.  We got out of the car and walked towards him so we could actually see the distance.

Each of these steps was important for us to know before we turned the key and began to drive. Then, of course, there were many lessons we received on the road.

As a “driving instructor” for entrepreneurs, the lessons I share are those important “must knows” so you, as entrepreneurs, can navigate your financial systems confidently and efficiently. My driving school begins with the “in class” teachings in the Bookkeeping Accountability Group found on Facebook.

Checking your rear view mirror lets you understand where you have been and what you need to take note of.

Adjusting your side mirrors is important to watch those blind spots as you are navigating the roads you are currently driving.

And of course, making sure your windshield is clean and your wipers are working properly so you can see ahead and navigate where you would like to go. Occasionally there is a little fog, but that always clears at some point.

Like driving a car, there are other important features you need to understand to ensure your journey isn’t too bumpy.  As I help you learn how to adjust your seat and mirrors, I have awesome colleagues to introduce you to  who will help you check under the hood (ensuring your business mindset works with you as you grow your business) and a GPS to help you navigate your journey to Succcessville.

Ready for some driving lessons and getting Focused? Invest in yourself and your business to get some intensive education, support and accountability.

I invite you to check out my new programs today!

 

A Fraud No More

In March 2009 I walked in a meeting room at the Travelodge in Ottawa, recognizing a few members of an organization called the GradUit Network, the others were strangers.  The GradUit was the first Mastermind group I had ever participated in. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but knew that I would be learning new tools that  would change the way I lived my life.

What I wasn’t aware of at that moment was how I would feel like such a fraud, and actually admit it.

You see, up until that day I lived my life with my “cards held very close to my chest”, never allowing anyone to see what my life was really like. I was embarrassed how I had 2 failed relationships – the first a mentally & emotionally abusive relationship – the other a controlling relationship. I was ashamed to admit that I had filed bankruptcy, not once, but twice – because I always said yes to trying to keep my mates happy regardless of the cost. Yes, I chose to become self-employed to try to get some sense of control over my life financially – something I chose for me and my children. Yet I was afraid to admit that I wasn’t really that successful – when compared to others’ standards of success.

Sure I was working hard, working around my kids’ schedules. I was finding new clients by telling everyone I met that I offered bookkeeping services. But what I wasn’t sharing with anyone, was that I was living in subsidized housing, driving a car that was barely getting me where I needed to be and all of that other stuff I mentioned above.

I’m not sure what gave me the courage to admit that I felt like a fraud that day. But I can tell you it was the beginning of accepting myself as a human who made choices based on what I believed, at that time. That day I realized I could change what I believed, and with that I could change how I would choose to live my life. The first step was becoming conscious of what I was thinking. The second step was reframing those thoughts with a positive twist.  It’s been alot of work, and something I continue to do today.

Entrepreneurship was a decision I made on purpose. A decision I made because someone told me I couldn’t get paid anymore money because I wasn’t working on a designation. An employer who had limited believes about  me. The moment he spoke those words, I knew I had to leave. I knew I could be more, do more and have more. No one was going to keep me down!

I’ve always loved to learn and I still do.  I’m like a sponge.  When my children were babies, I’d take evening college courses.  When I was an employee, I’d work closely with the computer techies and learn everything I could about maintaining computers and networks. And when I became an entrepreneur, I learned everything I possibly could. First out of necessity, second out of curiosity and third because I am a “need to know” kind of gal.  That desire to learn continues to serve me well.

Being a member of the GradUit allowed me to learn skills and strategies for changing my beliefs. I learned that I have gifts to share. What is really cool is that as an entrepreneur, not only do I work with entrepreneurs and share my accounting knowledge, I also share the skills and strategies I learned through GradUit.

When I first heard the phrase “Fake it until you make it”, it really didn’t sit well with me. It made me feel like a fraud – and I didn’t want to feel that way.  anymore. What I did realize is that I had alot to offer.  I realized that my definition of success is not the same as others’, and it doesn’t have to be. But the most important  ah ha that I realized is that I matter, even when I felt I had alot of flaws. Understanding that I matter was huge!

Be you and don’t hide, be proud.  Show the world who you really are, even with all your querks (if you have any), I do. You have gifts to share it, so share them. And most of all, have fun.

Find yourself a tribe that embraces you and supports you.

What have you learned about yourself as an entrepreneur?

Gaining confidence with Accountability

There is nothing worse than telling people about a goal you set or an idea you had and bombing, big time! Am I right?

For years I could talk myself out of things so easily and have some full blown, ass kicking conversations with myself. For fear of others judging me, I spent years digging around in the dirt, setting goals and trying to figure out how to achieve them on my own.  I found myself frustrated and spinning my wheels more times than I would like to admit. But at least no one knew! And more importantly, I didn’t have to be accountable to anyone if I decided to quit!

It wasn’t until that one day I got angry with myself and realized I can’t do everything myself.  I made a conscious choice to take a leap of faith and joined a group of entrepreneurs who worked together to help each other grow personally and professionally. I was nervous as old heck but I knew if I didn’t commit to something, nothing would ever change.

That was the day I was introduced to accountability. Sweaty palms and my heart racing I made my first commitment of taking steps to do something different. To my pleasant surprise, I found people who didn’t judge me, but who totally supported me and help me change my perspective. We each shared skills and strategies that helped each of us achieve our goals. Baby steps that could be taken. The coolest thing I found was that having accountability partners gave me more motivation to work on my goals.  Learning how to chunk them down into smaller, achievable tasks, and having others help me navigate the sticky parts, made all the difference!

Accountability came in various ways.  For a period of 30 days, I had an accountability partner that we would check in with once a week which consisted of a short phone call with 5 simple questions. One of those questions made us think about what we achieved in the week. This was a huge change from focusing on what failed. (If you are curious about the other 4 questions, send me an email, I’d be happy to share them with you). Another way we were accountable was coming to our group meeting with a small presentation. There were so many ways we made it fun and exciting to work together.

Accountability became my way to step out of my world of solitude and into communities where I could share my talents and expertise and build great relationships. This thing called accountability showed me how to become confident and share without the worry of being judged.  Finding my tribe of like-minded, supportive entrepreneurs, has helped me move my business in a new direction.

If you have ever hesitated to join an accountability group for any of the reasons I have shared, I encourage you to be courageous and find your tribe. I know there is one out there for you. I invite you to join my Bookkeeping Accountability Group. This is a safe place, my promise of support, education and an awesome place to build great relationships.

I continue to have accountability partners in different areas of my life and business.  I hope you will consider them too.

Accountability makes a difference

accountability

Accountability… what are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • you mutually agree to check up on each other
  • it can help you keep you on track with your goals
  • it can help accelerate your achievements
  • it helps you measure your progress
  • it keeps you responsible for “doing the work”
  • helps you make sound decisions and receive constructive advice

Cons

  • are there really any cons?? Well only one if you are being lead by someone who is on a power kick.

Ever work on goals alone and realize those conversations you are having are all in you head? You know the ones, the ones where you are talking yourself right out of that goal you set a few months ago.  I know, right eh?

Are you ready to do the work? NO excuses! Congratulations! That’s your first step.

Now, is it a good thing? a bad thing? helpful? Accountability can be all three depending on where you are at in your journey. 

If you aren’t quite ready to have an accountability partner checking up on you regularly, and decide to get one anyway, it can feel like a very negative experience .  You may not realize it until you start dodging their phone calls when you start feeling anxious because you didn’t do what you were suppose to do.

accountability

Choosing the right partner or group is the next step.  This is very important if you want measurable results. Being like-minded, results driven and respectful of each other, ensures great support and goal achievement. What it’s not, is beating each up over not achieving a task.  What it is, is understanding that life does happen, that sometimes we have to choose something else first (without it just being an excuse). And of course, it’s helping each other work through roadblocks or thought processes. It’s offering resources and sharing skills and perspectives that help us achieve our goals.

The first accountability group I read about was also considered a mastermind. Napolean Hill wrote about it in his book “Think and Grow Rich”. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you do.

We can create accountability in all areas of life and business.  Choosing to join an accountability group that helps you gain knowledge, receive and offer ongoing support and create goals to achieve success in your business can only be a positive difference.

If you are ready to get accountability with the money part of your business, I invite you to join B.A.G., my Bookkeeping Accountability Group on Facebook

Tax Sprint

BookkeepingI’ve never been very athletic and have always been in awe of people who could run long distances and who were great at track and field. Watching them sprint long distances, faster than most of us kids. I remember being in the school yard and shrinking into the background so I wouldn’t  be called by the gym teacher to take my place at the starting line.

The anxiety and stress I could feel building up in my chest was horrendous.  At least it felt that way to me.  So quite often I would go as far back from everyone as I could. I couldn’t shrink small enough, or hide far enough so I’d be forgotten.  You know how little kids cover there eyes and figure if they can’t see you then you can’t see them??  I was hoping I could be that invisible. But of course I couldn’t be invisible no matter how much I wished I could.  So I’d feel my heart pounding, my palms sweating and try to block out all of the eyes that were on me and just go.

When clients share with me how anxious and stressed they feel when they begin to think about bookkeeping and all the paperwork that is involved for taxes, I get it.

It’s getting to that time of year when I’m starting to hear people complain that they haven’t had time to do their own books or they just hate bookkeeping so they have been totally avoiding it. The Tax Sprint is on!

The good thing is the Tax Sprint is not as physically exhausting as an actual sprint. And even better yet, you have me in your corner as your “trainer”. To make the training easy I have created a simple system that can reduce or remove your stress because it makes it easy to get your numbers together.  It’s called the Financial Fitness Workbook.  Click HERE to learn more about the FFW. My clients love it!

Take advantage of the Black Friday special – 50% off the Financial Fitness Workbook – good until November 27, 2017

Feel the Fear

The days leading up to March 24, 2017 have been great learning opportunities. I’m not just talking about the first 55 years of my life with all of the growing pains, life lessons and career opportunities.

For many years I thought the things that rated high on the importance scale were raising my kids the best I could (check), work hard and make a name for myself (check) and of course, keeping customers happy by providing high quality work so they will keep returning and refer you to others (check, check).

For the most part, my mom and I had a very good relationship, a closeness that was pretty steady throughout my life.  Sure there were moments where I was a little less than thoughtful and considerate, you know those self-aborbed teenage years and early twenties. Mom would get ticked off at me now and then, but we always came back to that common ground.  We knew we loved each other, no matter what we faced.

November 19th, 2016 was the day I began a new journey.  The real beginning of knowing my mom wasn’t so tough, that she wasn’t that “Energizer Bunny” we so lovingly called her.  Mom’s health was failing and for the next four months she would ride the roller coaster of her life.  This was a time when I  chose to back away from my passion of helping single moms and my business,  I got to take care of mom and be there like she’d always been there for me. Although we had had many conversations, we also had time to explore her photo albums with my granddaughter on our Friday visits.  Questioning who was in those albums, what her life was like before I was born and even some of those adventures I didn’t know about while we were kids.

I learned that my mom, a strong independent woman who became a single mom when I was 12, had more to her than I ever realized.  She often said she didn’t like change, but you’d never have know that.  For she met life’s challenges and opportunities with courage.  When she was frightened about the unknown, she plowed through and made the best choices she could–for her and quite often for us children.  There is just too much to share, that would make this post even longer that it has become.  But let me share this with you.  My mom lived her life like the book… “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”.  I gave her a copy of this book when she requested it for a friend of hers.  During one of our memorable chats, I told her that as much as she keeps saying she hates change, she did exactly this.  She would FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY. She laughed at me, but I believe she knew that I was right.

So the next time you start getting heart palpitations, sweaty palms or that voice in your head telling you that there is no way in h*ll you can do it (and I’m talking about your business too), remember my mom and Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, 

Please share your fearless story, I’d love to read it.

Knowledge is Power

Liz M RaymondKnowledge is power… or so we are  often told.  “Go to school and get a good education, you’ll need it if you want to succeed in life”.  How many of us have heard that growing up???

But the truth is that it is only half of the equation.  You see knowledge is not power, unless we do something with it. You can get all the schooling, do all the reading and attend all the workshops you want to, but if you keep all that great knowledge in your head, the only thing you’ll be is smart. Now, do something with all that knowledge and hallelujah, the possibilities are endless!

I can remember my mom telling us kids to go to school and at least get a high school diploma! (She’s pretty happy we all graduated.) And then there are those that believe if you don’t have a degree you will never make much money  so they spend half of their life in school. And then there are those poor souls just can’t make up their mind what they want to do.

knowledge

Formal education does have it’s place.  But most give little thought to self-education.  There is SO much we can learn. There is a book I like to re-read called “Three Feet From Gold”.  It has this great quote in it from a fellow by the name of Charlie “Tremendous” Jones…

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

And of course, there is something to be said about the lessons that life brings.  Sometimes those lessons bring the greatest knowledge of all.

What are you doing to move yourself forward?