Making a New Year’s resolution is a positive way to make changes in your life, whether it is going to the gym, losing 10 pounds, or finally writing your novel. However, it is rare for the average individual to keep his/her New Year’s resolution. In fact, 80% of resolutions are dissolved by February. Is this a result of unrealistic expectations (for me, going to the gym is out in left field) or adopting the wrong kind of resolutions? Whether they are personal or professional, maybe we should change our mindset and cut ourselves some slack and think of resolutions as best practices. If you’re anything like me, the minute you fail, the resolution is abandoned and all hope is lost. If I stumble on a best practice, I don’t feel so bad and I know to strive for better next time. That simple change can be the difference in having failure or success.
While I cannot help you with losing 10 pounds, I can help with setting simple professional best practices for 2018.
Have a willingness to invest in your business.
We’ve turned the calendar on a new year so it’s time to do the same for your business plans. Have the creative and optimistic insight to invest in the right systems. Take a little advice from Leap the Pond’s Co-Founder and President, David Furth, and “be incredibly focused, have a plan in place and a willingness to invest.” A willingness to invest in your business, particularly the infrastructure is needed. You can’t build a building without a solid foundation, the same is true for your business. This can relate to adopting a new customer relationship management system or perhaps it’s implementing a more robust accounting software solution. If it is the latter, click here to download our eBook on how to start your search for a new accounting solution.
If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, David gave a podcast to The Entrepreneur Way in July, you can listen to it here.
Focus on your financial reporting and create (or improve) your dashboards.
It’s your year finally to focus on your financial reporting. Financial reporting is essential in communicating the successes and challenges of your business. Not having a clear or up-to-date picture of your financial status can lead to missed growth opportunities, poor management decisions, irritated investors and board of directors, and so much more. The consequences can be long-lasting and perhaps irreconcilable. Don’t become a frontpage horror story, take control and find a system that allows you to pull up-to-date financial records and create dashboards your board of directors will love. According to Forbes, “business owners often have the ability to collect a lot more cash each year, but many don’t realize it because they don’t look at their financial statements. If they did, they might see several weeks’ worth of sales sitting on the balance sheet in accounts receivable – the unintended result, perhaps, of a shift in the company’s credit policies over time or a recent slowdown in collectability.” Having a better handle on your financial reporting can lead to overall performance and possible revenue improvement.
Implement more efficient processes.
Change is hard, and most people don’t want to learn a new process even if it would benefit them in the long-run. Just because you’ve always done things a certain way and it “seems” to work okay, doesn’t mean that it should always be done that way. Take a good hard look at your processes through the year, if you see any of these red flags then maybe it’s time to adopt a new method:
- Employees get frustrated easily
- Duplicated work happens often
- Resources are being wasted
- Bottlenecks are causing delays
There’s a great article from Workato that directly ties into this thought – it talks about automating as many accounting processes as you can to increase productivity across your accounting department. “There is no doubt that accounting requires ingenuity and smart decisions. But it is equally true that some processes can be successfully performed by computers. If you are using an accounting software solution, try and push it to make it work for you as much as possible. Mundane but complex tasks such as routing or decision-based form control are now perfectly executed by the best software.” Excel and manual processes can lead to wasted resources and open the door to more errors, the human kind. It happens to everyone and the more you can automate the more you can reduce your risk.
Implementing a new process might be a simple solution, or perhaps it involves additional resources. Take solace in knowing at the end of the year you’ll have the right processes and systems in place to have your organization run smoothly.
Following best practices can dramatically improve your business. Remember, these are not resolutions and change doesn’t happen overnight. Have patience and know that there will be a few stumbles along the way. Happy 2018!
Watch our quick video on this topic
If you would like to learn more about how to select the right middle-market accounting solution, click here >