SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2021
Do you own a small business? In these difficult economic times, you may be suffering from additional cash flow pressures. Have you considered commercial credit counseling?
A lot of small business owners face similar predicaments. They are absolutely fantastic at promoting their services and are often experts in their field but very few of them know enough about finance to run a business properly. All business owners should be able to produce a profit and loss account, a cash flow statement and a balance sheet. I am not suggesting that you become an accountant or a book keeper but unless you fully understand these basic accountancy principles you run the risk of letting your business fail.
Yes you can employ people to do these tasks for you and this is a great idea as I am a firm believer in playing to your strengths. BUT you still need to understand and know how to read a set of accounts. Otherwise you could find yourself the victim of fraud. As the business owner, you are ultimately responsible for filing the correct forms and tax returns. The IRS will not accept any excuses including the fact that you let your accountant handle things. So protect yourself by educating yourself in the basics of business finance.
When you deal with a commercial credit counseling service, their staff are experts at teaching business owners how best to manage their business finances. They will advise on the best place to hold cash investments, how much to hold on instant access banking facilities and how much they could afford to tie up for a while. They will also help find the best deals on any form of credit your business may need be it a business loan, short term cash flow injection or factoring of your debtors book.
They will review your company accounts and give you advice on how you are handling your debtors and creditors. Often small business owners will extend credit for too long and this can have an adverse effect on your cash flow. Also the longer the debts are outstanding the more risk there is of them not being repaid in full. Your counselor will be able to advise you on how best to offer credit terms without risking losing your customers or your income.
Your business finances should always be kept completely separate from your personal finances even if the business itself is a sole trader as opposed to a separate legal entity. Steer clear of any commercial credit counseling service who tries to manage your personal affairs as well. You want their expertise on the business side but it would be better to have someone who is an expert on personal finance manage your own money.
Check the prices and quality of services on offer at your local firm. Ask your business contacts for recommendations i.e. who do they use for their commercial credit counseling services and why. Recommendations are often the best way of finding experts who can help you make the most of your business.