accounts6th April and a new financial year – time to make some new year’s resolutions for your business?

If you run your business alone or part-time (alongside umpteen other responsibilities!) it’s horribly easy to lose track of your finances. Believe me – I’ve had my share of year end panic: turning out drawers to find lost receipts, racking my brains over mysterious entries on statements and unreadable cheque stubs!

So here are 5 financial resolutions I wish I’d kept better…

1. I will keep and organise ALL my receipts

Minimum solution: find a biscuit tin, label it 13-14 and throw them in there- at least they’ll all be in one place! If you aspire to a slightly more professional approach, log them at least once a month (see 4!), tick with a highlighter to remind you they’re logged, clip them in order and file.

2. I will log ALL my mileage

At 45p a car mile (or 20p if like Phil you cycle everywhere!) you’ll be amazed how it adds up! These days you can even get a mileage app to make your life easier.

3. I will send out my invoices promptly

It sounds ridiculous but starting out you can get so busy thinking about the next job (and maybe so excited about actually having customers at all!) that you don’t get around to sending your invoice for the last one. Make sure your invoice includes payment dates and methods – bank transfer if possible- and keep track of outstanding payments.

4. I will do my books at least once a month

Get an accounts package, download a free app, set up a simple spreadsheet – or do it the old fashioned way in a book, but set a time and do it.

5 I will schedule reminders for essential payment dates NOW

Companies House, HMRC, credit cards, banks: late payment = automatic fine, costly AND annoying! You’ve worked hard for your profit, don’t give it away through plain forgetfulness!

Are you running a small business? With the 2013-14 Tax Year starting this week, what new year resolutions would YOU add?