When you run any sort of business as a start up you have a lot of things to do. If you are providing a service or selling products made by other people, the most important thing – indeed the only important thing – is to get customers. Without customers you have no income: you don’t need to be a genius to see that. If you are manufacturing products yourself, you also have to do that before you can sell those products.
Certainly, you may have saved sufficient money to keep yourself in groceries for a few weeks or even months, but until you have customers, and more importantly until those customers pay you, you haven’t got a business at all. So, as a start up, all of your time has to be dedicated to making sales. Sure, you may have gone into partnership with one or two other people, but even so everything has to be dedicated to gaining customers.
If you are selling products, then obtaining an order and shipping the product is the end of the process, unless your business is about selling more products to that new customer. If you are providing a service, you not only have to make the sale in order to gain that customer, but you also have to provide the service, because only when you have done that can you invoice that customer and start to get paid for the work you have done. So, for example, if you are a web designer, you have to first gain a client, and then you have to create that client’s website, undertake SEO, and whatever else it is that you do, before you can actually send an invoice and have the client pay you for the service you have provided.
So, in nearly all new businesses there can be a long old gap between the day you open for business and the day that the first payment arrives.
But here’s the issue. When you started out, it probably never crossed your mind about one of the technicalities involved in running a business, even though – after gaining customers or clients it is the next most important part – and that is the accounting side of your new business.
Accounts? That’s maths isn’t it? I’m not an accountant, I’m a web designer for heaven’s sake!
True. You are. But you also have to operate your accounts correctly or otherwise you won’t get paid. Certainly, to begin with you may only have a few customers and only need to send a few invoices, and you can probably type them up on your laptop, and even send them digitally.
But then there is another problem. You need those customers to pay you at the end of the month. What happens if they don’t? You need to send a statement. What happens if they still don’t pay? Now you are in the realms of something else again, and that is credit control. Sure, it is all about accounts, but as you grow you need systems to deal with all of this “stuff”. If you don’t have proper systems in place, it can get very much out of control.
This is why so many people invest in Sage accounting software because it makes handling your accounts so simple and straightforward. Having an effective accounting system is critical for any business. Just ask any former business owner who, despite having gained customers, provided products or services, and expanded the business dramatically to a great turnover, finally went out of business because his customers didn’t pay him.
But as with any software, you have to learn how Sage accounts works, and that involve a bit more than reading the instructions. This is why so many business-people attend the Sage course in Leeds that we provide at Total Training Solutions, beginning with our Sage 50cloud Accounts Stage 1 eLearning. This is the first in a series of Sage 50 accounts courses that we run and will make you familiar with all the basic principles of Sage accounting. Once you have learned and understood all this, you can move on to the next course, and very soon you will be able to handle all the accounting that your business needs, so that you can spend your time doing what you need to do, which is getting new clients and expanding your business, confident in the knowledge that the software can handle all that accounts “stuff” for you.