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finance Archive - TransSwipe - Merchant Services and Credit Card Processing

TransSwipe - Merchant Services and Credit Card Processing

Archive for the ‘finance’ Category

Spring Cleaning for your Small Business Finances

Spring Cleaning Finances

Break out the dusters and fling open the curtains, it’s time for some spring cleaning. Even more important than addressing your mess of a closet is cleaning up your small business finances—and getting started today will set you up for success tomorrow.

Getting started

Before you even begin working on your SMB’s financial situation, get your mind right. This type of spring cleaning is more than an investment of time and energy, it’s an investment in your future. The more proactive you are in managing your financial situation now, the easier it will be for your business to reach success down the road.

Adapt the old business plan

Now that you’re focused on the importance of a financial spring cleaning, get to work on your business plan. When a small business first opens shop, it’s hard to imagine what it could look like 4 or 5 years down the road. However, measuring growth and progress against the original plan is always relevant—don’t let it sit neglected.

Each year, break out the plan and adapt it so it meshes with the changes of your business. Has your audience developed differently than you’d expected? Did you employ a new marketing strategy? Is growth at the same pace of expectations?

Adapting your original plan to answer new questions is a good reflective practice to better understand where you’ve come and where you plan to go.

Reevaluate and set goals

Now that you’ve spent some time understanding how your business has adapted, reference those changes to establish new business goals. While you may have set out with one plan and a set of expectations for your business, rarely do things go as planned and that’s okay—as long as you remain open to learning from mistakes and adjusting your goals.

Spend some time thinking about how things have gone differently and how you hope they continue. Are your aspirations the same as they once were? And are you investing the right amount of time and money into reaching those aspirations? Setting clear goals will help you understand how to optimize your business practices.

Warm up with a smaller spring cleaning task

Security is a hot-button issue right now. Credit cards are trying to improve their systems, fraud is a problem for many, and hackers have the ability to access your information with a few strokes of the keyboard.

A critical part of improving your financial situation lies in improving the security that surrounds it. That can be done relatively easily—change your passwords. If you’re like many, your passwords are less-than-stellar and frequently repeated. This vulnerability can become a potential threat.

Take five minutes to reset and create strong passwords. Shoot for 12 characters, include capitalizations, and if you’re really struggling, use a password generator for help. It may seem minor, but the extra time you spend memorizing some new phrases well outweighs the risk of having information stolen.

Review important financial documents

It’s crucial to review your  financial statements and documents each year to ensure your business is on the right track. The items could include your profit and loss statements, a current balance sheet, cash-flow statements, and your tax returns for the past couple of years. When looking over these items, check for fluctuations in product and service costs, billing errors or duplicate charges, and opportunities to improve your bottom line.

Review these documents critically and check them against your business plan and goals.

Read more: Get your SMB Finances on Track with these 5 questions.

Review your expenses closely

How much are you paying for utilities? What’s your phone bill costing you each month?  Take the time to contact your various service providers and make sure that you’re taking advantage of the most they have to offer, for the lowest cost available.

In line with reviewing your expenses comes scheduling employee reviews. Is your team being optimized in a way that best leverages their talents? Taking the time to understand what you and your employees expect from each other can lead to a more transparent and happier work environment, eliminating unnecessary turnover and uncovering untapped potential.

Once the financial situation is looking tidy…

Clean your office, literally. Purge old notebooks, organize files, and wipe out the drawers in your desk—because, honestly, when was the last time you did that?

If you need more guidance on getting your small business’s finances on track, Dwolla can help. Check out our solutions for business or explore integrations built by the Dwolla community.

7 Smart Tools for Tracking Your Finances

found money meme

For many, budgeting is something you do when you want to know how much fun you can (or cannot) afford. Second only to “lose weight”, “stay organized” and “spend less/save more” are the most popular New Year’s resolutions for Americans (according to the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology).

Here are our favorite online tools to help you organize your finances and save more:

1. BillGuard

Have you ever been a victim of a bogus or grey charges on your credit or debit card account? BillGuard is a “set it and forget it” service that monitors your purchases (for free) and notifies you only if a charge is flagged as fraudulent or possibly erroneous. BillGuard.com currently boasts that they’ve saved over a total of $1 million in grey charges for their customers.

2. LearnVest

One of the best places to receive an overall financial education. LearnVest gives you access to a personal financial planner to better manage your assets and achieve your dreams and goals. Use their extensive Knowledge Center that caters to the beginner to intermediate planner. Sign up for their Bootcamp email programs and get ready for a heap of knowledge. Programs focus on everything from planning for a baby to saving for retirement.

3. Payoff

Enjoy games? Then you’ll love Payoff.com. These guys have turned setting financial goals (such as saving for a trip or paying off a credit card) into a game, and actually made the process of reaching them fun. Earn badges and “sur-prizes” along the way. As you start your journey toward bettering your finances, Payoff will offer handpicked tools and blog posts to help you succeed.

4. Ready for Zero

This service focuses on getting you out of debt. Enter your credit card account or loans, and learn how much time it will take to pay off and help you determine your monthly payment goals. Reduce what you owe and get advice along the way. Ready for Zero will also send you timely reminders to make payments.

5. Mint

Probably one of the best known free personal finance tracking tools, Mint allows you to track and monitor everything from bank to  credit card accounts, car to school loans. Create goals and set up budgets for every area of your spending, from paying utilities to entertainment. The Mint blog also functions as a knowledge center for those of us just getting started on tracking our finances.

6. BreadVault

BreadVault offers a savings tool for the whole family, teaching your children that there’s no such thing as a “money tree.” Learn about investing, giving to charity, tracking finances and saving as a family. Other features include shopping and bookmarking items you’d like to purchase (and seeing how they stack up against current goals), as well as a mobile app barcode scanner that saves purchase information to your BreadVault account.

7. SmartyPig

Ever wanted a digital online piggy bank? SmartyPig is an FDIC-insured savings account. In four years they’ve helped people reach over $3 billion in savings goals. SmartyPig account holders can use Twitter and Facebook to have friends and family members contribute to their goal, whether it’s a purchase or a down payment on a house.

*Bonus: I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Ramit Sethi

If you want a “no bull” approach to personal finance and entrepreneurship, then Ramit Sethi is your guy. The New York Times Bestselling author provides you with an arsenal of information, from guidance on how to negotiate your bills or salary to how to start your own business. Download the free content on his site, check out his book, or visit the I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog and receive newsletters to improve in your life and career.

Have any other personal finance sites that you’d like to share? Please tell me about them in the comments section.


©2018 TransSwipe


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