10 Easy Ways To Organize Your Business Finances
Whether you are a new entrepreneur or a more experienced
business owner, taking control of your finances can feel like a
part-time job. Some simple tips can help you streamline your
time, organize your finances and reduce the stress of business
1. Keep Your Bills in One Place
When the mail comes, make sure it goes in one place. Misplaced
bills can be the cause of unwanted late fees and can damage your
credit rating. Whether it’s a drawer, a box, or a file, be
consistent. Size is also important. If you get a lot of mail,
use an area that won’t get filled up too quickly.
2. Pay Your Bills on Schedule
Bill paying can be simplified if it’s done at scheduled times
during the month. Depending on how many bills you receive, you
can establish set times each month when none of your bills will
be late. If you’re paying bills as you receive them, chances are
you’re spending too much time in front of the checkbook.
Although bills may state “Payable Upon Receipt”, there’s always
a grace period. Call the creditor to find out when they need to
receive payment before the bill is considered late.
3. Read Your Credit Card Statements
Most people take advantage of low interest credit card offers
but never read their statements when paying the bill. Credit
cards are notorious for using low interest as bait for new
customers then switching to higher rates after a few months.
Make a habit of looking at your statement carefully to see what
interest rate you are paying each month and if any transaction
fees have been applied. If the rate increases or a transaction
fee appears on your statement, a simple call to the credit card
company can oftentimes be beneficial in resolving the matter. If
not, try to switch your money to a more favorable rate.
4. Take Advantage of Automatic Payments
Most banks offer a way to automatically deduct money from your
account to pay creditors. In addition, the creditors usually
offer a lower interest rate when you sign up for this payment
option because they get their money faster and on-time. Consider
it as one fewer check to write, envelope to lick and stamp to
buy. Just make sure you record the deduction when the automatic
payment is scheduled or you run the risk of bouncing other
5. Computerize Your Checkbook
Using a software program is a handy way to organize your
finances. Whether it’s Quicken(r), Microsoft Money(r) or another
package, these easy-to-use programs make bill paying and bank
reconciliation a cinch. Computer checks can be ordered almost
anywhere and fit right into most printers. Once the checks are
printed, all of the information is automatically recorded in
your electronic checkbook. Furthermore, many banks have direct
downloads into these software packages so when money is
deposited or withdrawn, the transaction is entered immediately
onto your computer. And, when it comes time to do taxes, it
couldn’t be easier.
6. Get Overdraft Protection
Most banks have a service where, if you run the risk of bouncing
a check, the money will come from another source. For a nominal
fee, the bank will link your checking account to either a
savings, money market, or credit card so the embarrassment of
bouncing a check will be avoided. Call or visit your bank to
learn about this convenient feature.
7. Cancel Unused Accounts
Whether it’s a credit card or bank account, write a letter
requesting that the account is formally closed. Not only will
this improve your credit score, it is a useful way to avoid
money from being scattered all over the place. Don’t let
department stores and credit card companies lure you into
opening new accounts by offering favorable interest rates and
purchase discounts. It’s easy for credit to get out of hand by
taking advantage of every credit offer that comes your way.
8. Consolidate Your Accounts
If you have several credit card accounts with outstanding
balances, try to consolidate them into one. Be careful and check
the balance transfer interest rates and one-time fees. Also,
make a list of all your open Money Markets, Savings, CDs, IRAs,
Mutual Funds, and other accounts to see if any consolidation can
be done. Keeping your money in fewer places eliminates all of
the guesswork involved and reduces errors.
9. Establish Automatic Savings
Create a link from your checking account into a savings account
that will not be touched. This can usually be done through the
banks and automatic amounts will be transferred over each month.
Most people will not put money into a savings account on a
regular basis. They may wait until a large tax refund check
arrives or some other event to actually deposit money into
savings, retirement or other accounts. If you establish an
automatic savings deposit every month, your accounts will begin
accumulating money faster than you think.
10. Clean up Your Files
Make sure your paid bills are organized in a filing cabinet.
Keep individual files for paid bills. Go through your files at
the end of each year and throw out bills and receipts no longer
needed for auditing purposes. Contact your local IRS office to
see how long records need to be kept for audits. Usually federal
tax return audits can be done three years back but cancelled
checks may need to be kept for seven. Consult the Internet for
auditing and records-keeping procedures for your state or region.
(c) 2005 DebtGuru.com(r). This article may be freely distributed
as long as the signature file and active link are included.
About the author:
Michael G. Peterson is the Vice President of American Credit
Foundation, an IRS 501 (c)(3) non-profit consumer credit
counseling organization that has assisted thousands of
individuals and families with their financial situations through
seminars, education, counseling services, and, debt management
plans. For more information, and free consumer resources visit