30-Day Guide to Get Control of your Business Finances


You’ve decided you are in business. Now what? What needs to be done to put the financial side of your business in order so you can truly focus on your business? From letting the IRS know your business exists (they would find out anyway) to figuring out what to do with your Starbucks receipt from yesterday, our 30-Day Guide to Get Control of your Business Finances will help show you the way.

There are five sets of tasks that every business owner should address as soon as possible – entity selection, smart bank accounts, simple bookkeeping software, paperless filing system and government reporting. I give you step-by-step instructions and a handy checklist, to make sure you hit every point. If you power through one set of tasks each week, your business finances will be set up and running smoothly within 30 days.

The goal here is to hit ALL of these over the next 30 days. There is no higher authority requiring you to do them within 30 days. Rather, it’s a commitment you make to yourself as a very responsible (or soon to be responsible) business owner. Those who choose to tackle these nitty gritty financial tasks up front get it done, but those without a clear deadline meander along until they’ve created a financial mess of their businesses. Let’s choose not to do that, okay?

As you read through the checklist, you might identify some tasks you already know you’ll want outside help to accomplish. Go ahead and schedule the appointments (like talking with an attorney), so you don’t end up stuck waiting for a meeting. No matter what happens just don’t be overwhelmed. These items can be accomplished within 30 days. Trust me, you will be downright giddy with yourself for taking care of them from the start. Get to it!

Get your copy of the 30-Day Checklist

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Setting up an Online Business

A lot of bloggers out there will tell you that setting up an online business is a simple task. You just figure the demand for certain products or services in a given marketplace, provide a good offer on an eye-catching website, and that’s it. As you might assume, these assertions often come from people who have never tried doing business online. Although it sounds really simple in theory, starting an online business comes with many risks and challenges.

It takes a lot of research, planning, and patience (and usually failure) to succeed in the online marketplace. It’s true that it offers a chance to do business with fewer up front financial investments and costs. However, when it comes to financial issues, there are some common mistakes that can stand in your way to success.

5 things to avoid when setting up an online business

Based on experience with online businesses, here are 5 common mistakes that even the most dedicated owners make. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back for reading about them and avoiding them.

Mistake #1 – Not separating business and personal finances

I believe you’ll be tempted to start your small business using your personal credit card and bank account. Although it seems like a simple, harmless solution at first, it can lead to some serious trouble later.


One of the problems is that you will never be able to follow where some expenses end and others begin. You’ll pay for personal expenses on your business credit card or debit card, and vice-versa. If you can’t keep detailed financial records for your business, you will never know if you are truly making profit.

The lack of clear financial records will also lead to some trouble as your business starts growing. If you ever need financial support from a creditor or an investor, they will ask for detailed records to see if your business is worth the investment.

Mistake #2 – Not preparing a business plan

Okay, let’s get real. Things are not going to go according to plan. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start with a plan! A thoughtfully crafted business plan can save you from lots of headaches and unnecessary expenses later on.

If you put your efforts into planning, you’ll be able to identify the optimal amount of money you’ll need for a good start. Your business plan will also help you clearly define the smartest ways to invest your money in order to achieve success. This doesn’t mean that you need to plan ten years in advance. Try starting with a simple six or twelve-month time-frame. You just need to have an idea of where you are going, how you will get there, and when.

When you put your business plan into action, remember not to go to extremes. Don’t expect that you can forecast every single detail, be flexible and be ready to occasionally act on your gut instinct. The other extreme you need to avoid is getting carried away by a temporary situation and ignore your plan entirely.

Corollary Mistake: It’s also easy to “over-plan”. While most people do the mistake of “winging it” and going in without any planning, some do the opposite mistake. Some try to plan every little step and detail before they get started. This is just as harmful.

You want to strike a realistic balance. Leave some space for flexibility and changing plans based on real world results. You don’t want a rigid plan that predicts everything in advance. You want a general overview, with some flexibility for changing methods and strategies based on real-world feedback.

Mistake #3 – Not planning your marketing efforts

Any good business success story lies on the pillar of reaching the right audience, in the right way, at the right time. Therefore, planning  your marketing is a must if you want to leave a mark in the business world.


I strongly believe that it’s important to try various marketing tools over time. However, when it comes to online business finance, I’m not a fan of rushing into each and every new opportunity without a proper plan, as I’ve seen many businesses overpay for customer acquisition.

Marketing your business will inevitably bring a number of customers, but you have to see if a particular strategy brings life-time customer value. This means that even the smallest budget for testing the results of your efforts can help you a lot.

My advice is to divide your marketing budget to try several marketing tools. Some of them will be very effective, and others will bring less significant results. However, it’s important to find the best solutions for your business before you decide to implement a big and expensive marketing strategy.

Mistake #4 – Not keeping track of costs

Being excited about attracting new customers and making more sales, you can easily find yourself forgetting to keep track of costs. If at some point you realize that you are spending more than you actually earn (and hey, let’s be honest, THIS will happen as you start out), you’ll be forced to make some tough decisions.

Regular website-related costs, like design, hosting, domain names, and maintenance, are easy to keep an eye on. However, recurring software, apps and services can quickly eat up a lot of your monthly cash flow.$19 here and $39 there can quickly add up month after month. Make sure you are being very selective as you make purchases and that you are verifying each month that a recurring service is actually providing a benefit.

Mistake #5 – Not taking finances seriously from the start

Doing their own finances and bookkeeping is one of the most common mistakes people make when setting up an online business. Trying to cut costs, they put this commitment on their shoulders even when they have no training, nor experience in doing finances.


After a while, they find out that it can cost much more to do their own finances than it would be to get guidance from a professional. This is usually at a point where they have already done some damage that takes time to fix. Getting the right guidance upfront or outsourcing bookkeeping to an independent contractor will also give you more time and energy to focus on growing your business.

However, even if you are not good at finances and you have a professional doing them for you, it’s your responsibility to have regular oversight. You have to be able to read and understand your financial statements. It’s crucial as a business owner to know your company’s finances inside and out. After all, you own this thing!

Hiring: Employee or Contractor – Think It’s Your Decision?

Congratulations! You are ready to grow out of being a team of one. The eternally debated question: Employee or Contractor? Perhaps it’s a bit misleading to say that it’s a debate. As you’ll find out in this video, the circumstances govern the treatment of your new hire, not you!

Hiring: Employee or Contractor – Think It’s Your Decision? from John Johnstone on Vimeo.

If you’d like to go straight to horse’s mouth IRS, you can get more details.

Income Tax Preparation – DIY or Professional Help?

Tax businessSince tax season is in full swing, I’m getting quite a few questions from new business owners who are just not sure what to do about their income tax preparation. In many cases, they have used TurboTax or something similar to prepare their income tax returns in the past. The “suspicious activity” that caused TurboTax to suspend state filing recently may already have you feeling hesitate about following the same route as in prior years. Add in the start of a new business, and you might be wondering if this is the year to seek the help of a tax professional.

Door #1 – Do It Yourself
If you have a simple income tax return and only need to file a Schedule C to report your activity for your sole proprietorship, it is very possible for you to prepare your own return. You can do this with the help of available software, either off the shelf or online.

If you have more time than money, this certainly can be the right option for you.

This can also be a good option if your business was just getting started last year, and you had very little activity. Take your time in preparing your return and keep asking questions and seeking answers as well as  understanding so you know the implications of what you are reporting on your return. Most people should draw the line and seek help when a separate business tax return is required, such as an 1120S Corporate Income Tax Return or 1065 Partnership Income Tax Return. If you set up a separate entity for your business, you should have received a Form SS-4 assigning your employer identification number (EIN) as well as letting you know the income and payroll returns to be filed along with the due dates.

Door #2 – Seek Professional Tax Help
If you have a lot of questions and are less sure of what you should be doing, seeking professional help might be the best option. Heck, you might just want to spend the money and let someone else do the thinking and the work. The first year you are in business everything will be new and you are probably going to receive a lot of advice – solicited and unsolicited – regarding the best way to handle different aspects of your business. It can be exhausting to research and properly interpret the findings to your situation. A tax professional can make sure you are focusing on the right things as well as asking you the right questions to make sure an accurate income tax return is prepared.  A professional will also give valuable insight into planning for your quarterly estimates for the current year. If you can afford it, the peace of mind should be worth the money. Make sure you know the cost and what is included before moving forward with a preparer.

As a CPA in public practice, I’ll admit I have a bit of a bias towards seeking outside, professional help. I always tell folks that if I didn’t prepare returns in my practice that I would be paying someone to do mine! However, all tax preparers are not created equal.

Let me say that again, all tax preparers are not created equal.

When bringing on new clients, I’ve come across prior year tax returns from ‘”tax shops” that were downright embarrassing AND inaccurate. You don’t know what you don’t know so your preparer really needs to know their stuff. Get recommendations from your professional circle and make sure the preparer is a good fit for you before starting to work with them.

The bottom line: You have to do what is right for you and your business. And, only you can determine where the value lies for your situation – saving money and spending time or spending money and saving time. Regardless of your choice, get that return filed and keep moving forward!

Additional Resources:
IRS – Free File Links
IRS – Tips for Choosing a Preparer






I made a really stupid comment to my husband the week of Thanksgiving.

I miss the days of being an employee. I could just take the entire week off, not think about work, and still get paid.

Owning my own business I don’t have such a luxury. I’m still in the bootstrapping phase of my business. While I do have an awesome employee working for me, I can’t really take the entire week off from my business.

It took less than 24 hours for me to change my attitude. My husband and I were having lunch the following day – yes, a flexible schedule is one of the perks of having your own business. My change in attitude had this response,

If I’m not happy with anything about my business, it’s my own dang fault

This is my business. I can do anything I want. I can make it anything that I want it to be. If I don’t like working the week of Thanksgiving then I need to get after it, change it, and make it a reality.

My pity party was not truly deserved. I am hard on myself and always want to be further along than I am. It’s just a part of my nature. I would guess it’s the same for most entrepreneurs. Honestly, my business is going well. I have clients I like, work I enjoy, a flexible schedule, and the endless possibilities for growth. I’m closing in on only pursuing clients in my niche which was a main goal when I started my firm. My glass really is half full.

How about you you? What do you want your business to be? Where is it falling short? Have you been deluded into the idea that you can’t actually change it? Bull crap! Snap out of it! Figure out what you want and make it happen. Isn’t that what having a lifestyle business is all about? Isn’t that why we jumped into business ownership in the first place?

I am thankful to be living in the greatest county in the world. Most days I absolutely love owning my own business. Sure, some days it can be overwhelming having ultimate responsibility for everything. But, it’s what I signed up for – it is exactly what signed up for! I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I especially wouldn’t trade if for just a guarantee of a couple weeks of vacation around the holidays. Why? What’s a little time off when I get to live my dream every day?

Oh, and I have been busy planning out the end of December so I’m working much less between Christmas and New Year’s!

Tell me, how do you overcome negative “woe is me” thoughts when it comes to business ownership?

Sales Tax Basics for Online Owners

Midyear 2014 Sales Tax Rates - Tax Foundation

Sales tax and their related calculations are very high on my list of dislikes. Right up there with school bullies and daydreamers not paying attention when the traffic light turns green. The internet has made it possible to sell all over the United States and beyond. Instead of only being responsible for sales made in one sales tax jurisdiction, you could be subject to hundreds or even thousands of jurisdictions.

As a business owner, sales tax compliance is going to cost you a combination of time, money and effort.

Every business owner must know where they stand on sales tax. Know and understand. If you established a business entity in your state, sales tax was likely one of the issues covered in the new business packet or registration information that you may or may not have read. Perhaps you gave it a cursory glance, decided how it didn’t apply to you, and continued on your merry way. Now, months later, every time you see the phrase “sales tax” there is a tiny voice in your head causing you to wonder if you are doing the right thing.

Nexus. What is nexus? Nexus is your physical presence in a state. If you have a physical presence, the folks in charge of sales tax say you need to be collecting and remitting tax in that state.

According to the Sales Tax Institute, “Nexus is created if your company maintains a temporary or permanent presence of people (employees, service people or independent sales/service agents) or property (inventory, offices, warehouses).”

You obviously have nexus in your home state where you operate, but it is clear these other factors may give you nexus is other states, too.

Taxable sales. Those of use who have been dealing with sales tax for years remember the fond days when only physical goods were taxed. As times changed and states needed more revenues, they started pulling in various services to be taxed. If you mow lawns in Ohio, you should be charging sales tax. Texas has a three-page bulletin to spell out the rules for Photographers and Texas Sales Tax. Make sure you know and understand the taxability for your products and services in each state where you have nexus. Once you have the facts and rules straight for your products by state, make sure you check at least annually to make sure they haven’t changed

Pass through. As the business owner, it is important for you realize you are merely collecting and remitting the tax. The tax itself is not income or expense to your business. You charge it because you are required to charge it and remit it to the proper taxing agency to be in compliance. The real cost to you is what you must pay to make sure it is calculated correctly and remitted. This is where the combination of time, money and effort come into play.

Your next steps. Find out the rules for your home state by going to your state government website. Of all of the products and services you sell, are any taxable in your state? How is the sales tax rate determined? Is it at the origination or destination address? Filing deadline? Now consider the other components of your business that could cause you to have a physical presence in another state. Sales agents? Out of state employees? Warehouses? You may not own a warehouse in another state, but are you paying storage costs to hold your product there? If you are a FBA seller, you could have nexus for each state that has an Amazon warehouse facility. 

Knights in Shining Armor. In my book, anyone who can relieve the sales tax burden is a knight in shining armor. If you are doing substantial taxable sales, you should be thinking about how you can outsource your sales tax filing. Two of the players in this space are Avalara and TaxJar.

avalara logoAvalara has been around for a decade. Their tagline is “Making sales tax less taxing.” They do just that. I like them because they can do it all for you, including the filing of your returns.


taxjar logoTaxJar is newer in the space, just starting in 2013, and does not have the capability to file returns in all states…yet. However, their pricing is competitive, and they can pull sales data from across multiple platforms and give you a consolidated report.

Stay tuned to learn about sales tax’s lesser known, but equally ugly cousin: Use Tax

Self-Employment and Tax Estimates

Paying the right amount in estimated taxes when you are self-employed is almost like trying to catch snipe in junior high. You try really hard to follow the “rules” and just end up feeling exhausted and misled. Let’s change that going forward, shall we?

True Story. This spring I was doing some limited consulting with an author assisting him in converting his excel-based accounting maze to Xero accounting software. Although I do offer tax preparation services, he had prepared his own return for 2013 as well as his first quarter tax estimate for 2014. He asked me to give his estimate a quick glance to see if he was in the ballpark. He sent me the IRS 1040-ES Worksheet he had filled in with his information so I could see his calculation. I knew two things: his 2013 income and tax liability from his return and what he expected in self-employment income for 2014. He suspected something had been missed, too, though he wasn’t sure of where the error was in his calculation.

His initial quarterly tax estimate was way off.

Honesty. Here is where the honesty comes into play. It took me a little time to understand the worksheet. In all my years of practicing as a CPA, I HAD NEVER USED THAT FORM TO CALCULATE ESTIMATES. Wait, don’t start gasping is unbelief just yet! I have been calculating estimates for well over a decade. I’ve just never tried to do the calculation on that form! Since I am a CPA who prepares tax returns and tax projections for multiple small business owners, I calculate my estimates in my tax software. It is easy for me to make changes based on the prior year and to use different scenarios to project out the current year tax liability.

The Oversight. What was missed in his calculation? You are dying to know so you don’t make the same mistake, right? Page 7, line 11, Self-employment tax. He had failed to properly calculate his self-employment taxes on Page 6 and carry that amount to Page 7. His tax estimate included his income taxes only. Take a look below at Page 2 of a 2012 Form 1040 to see the highlighted income tax and self-employment tax.


While the IRS worksheet is a fillable PDF form, it is a non-calculating form. There are no warning bells or flashing lights to tell you if you missed something or didn’t complete it correctly. There are various other calculators online provided by DIY tax preparation sites. These can be helpful but you still need to know how to click the right boxes and where to put your numbers to come up with an accurate estimate. And again, they are most likely not going to tell you that you missed something. I know this is true from experience. When testing one of the sites with my personal information for 2013, I had failed to check the boxes that my kids lived with me. This resulted in a huge difference in what it said my liability would be and what it actually was. Tread carefully, friends. 

Smart Tips When it Come to Tax Estimates

The Basics. If you are going to owe $1,000 or more in taxes you need to be making estimated tax payments. To avoid penalty and interest by the IRS, you need to pay in 100% of your prior year tax liability or 90% of your current year liability. Under most circumstances, you should be paying your estimates each quarter. The quarterly deadlines for your payment to be considered timely are April 15th, June 15th, September 15th and January 15th. If you are subject to state income taxes, don’t forget they want their share, too.

How Much? If you are self-employed, you should be putting aside 30 to 35% of your net income for taxes and paying it in quarterly according to the dates above. This magical percentage (30-35%) should cover the masses but some of you will still fall above or below that amount. However, if you do this faithfully all year, chances are you will be shedding few tears, if any, on April 15th. I’ve rarely encountered someone who was disappointed that they estimated high on their taxes and were overpaid.

Comparison. Always use your prior year income and tax liability as a guide for the current year. Yes, you need to take into a account the changes between the years, but this will help you avoid glaring mistakes like forgetting a kid or not calculating self-employment taxes. Your first year of self-employment can be especially tough since the comparison to the prior year will most likely be drastically different. Check it and recheck it.

When you jump on the self-employment ship, most people assume they will have an increase in their taxes. More often than not, if they are making money in their business, they underestimate just how much the increase will be. Owing a bunch of unexpected taxes can quickly make your profitable year seem like a loss rather than a win. If the DIY options start making you crazy, get some help! An investment in a good CPA or tax preparer is money well spent for the peace of mind you will gain.

What’s working for you when it comes to your estimates?

Self-Employed Health Insurance – Can You Risk It?

I wonder how many people keep their “good” day jobs longer than they would like because they fear replacing their health insurance benefits? It’s a valid fear. Much has changed over the past year with the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Market Place finally up and running. Join me as we walk through our journey of being covered by our employer’s health insurance to self-employed health insurance for our family of four.

$875 a month. At the end of 2012, my family left Ohio to return to the great state of Oklahoma where I was born and raised. I knew I would be started my own CPA firm and assumed my husband would find a fabulous job. I had considered what we would do about health insurance but really didn’t research anything until we had turned in our resignations letters and booked a moving truck.

Foolishly I had thought I would have COBRA coverage through my employer because I remembered our firm paying insurance premiums for a former employee.

With a little research I quickly learned that if your employer has less than 20 employees,  they are most likely exempt from COBRA. Guess whose employer was exempt? Yep. We had to look for an individual policy. We filled out the online application through Einsurance and were approved and ready to pay our Blue Cross Blue Shield $500 monthly premium for a family of four. Crisis averted. Well, it was short lived because within a week we received a letter that I was denied. There are all kinds of things in this world that can make you feel inadequate. For some reason, personally being denied health insurance made me feel like a real loser. I’m not obese. I don’t do drugs or smoke. I did have some tests run and minor eye surgery earlier in the year (hopefully it’s not a HIPAA violation to talk about myself, right?). We went from paying about $300 a month for health insurance through our employers to $500 a month under our self-employed health insurance plan. And, I wasn’t even covered.

Going without. I wouldn’t advise going without health insurance. Let that sink in one more time: I wouldn’t advise going without health insurance. But, that’s exactly what I did for about five months until I had built up my business enough to afford insurance. Well, that’s not quite how it happened. I think being denied coverage on the first try made me feel like I would be denied. Well, I was basically told as much by another insurance company when I was first denied coverage. I let that keep me from even trying to get coverage. I also assumed (and feared) the policy would be out of my price range. When I did think I could afford it, I reached out to the company that partners with my state society of CPAs to provide coverage (note: check any trade associations/group organizations you belong to and see if a plan is offered). I was immediately approved and my new Aetna monthly premium was going to be less than $200 a month. Relief! It went up about almost $70 when they corrected their records so it reflected that I was actually a female rather than a male. Nice.

Bottom line: once we added dental insurance we ended up paying $875 a month for medical and dental for our family of four.

Increase from ACA. How did our premiums changed because of the Affordable Care Act going into effect? First, I was notified my specific self-employed health insurance plan was being discontinued by Aetna which meant I would have to switch to another plan. The lowest plan offered was priced around $400 a month so it was going to be a $130 increase just for my coverage. The policy for the rest of the family had a $40 monthly increase at the one year renewal in November and was set to have another $50 monthly  increase on January 1, 2014. There was no increase in our dental insurance. If we stayed on these plans, our monthly insurance cost would have increased $275, from $875 to $1,100 a month. Son of a Ouch indeed!

Back to insurance from an employer. Late last year, my husband did take a position with an employer that offered health benefits. Yes, he is certainly taking one for the family team in some respects because it is a typical 8am to5pm position. But, overall this job has been a great blessing for our family. (Yay, John!). After the required waiting period of 90 days, our cost was $700. We recently qualified for the wellness discount offered which dropped it down to $580 per month. Not as great as the $300 a month we were paying back in Ohio, but my husband had crazy, great benefits at his last employer that we probably won’t experience again. Besides, that’s not really our game plan. We think it is wiser to grow our income enough so that we can more easily cover the associated costs of being self employed.

100% tax free. I do want to point out that there are extra “savings” with our insurance being through my husband’s employer. The premiums come out before taxes under a Sec 125 plan, tax free, so that’s really another $50 savings per month. Under the self-employed health insurance plan, we could take a deduction on our tax return for the premiums (reduction in federal and state income taxes), but there was no break on FICA. Be careful if you are an employee of your S Corporation and a greater than 2% shareholder. While you can get the deduction on your tax return, you cannot run it through a Sec 125 plan and get it tax free like a regular employee of your company.


Know your options before you quit. It’s amazing how knowledge is the greatest defense of fear. You may find out your fears were unnecessary, and you can qualify for a good policy. If there is an issue, it is always best to know what you are jumping into before you quit. Squash the fear of the unknown by being informed.

Find out the rules for your state. I was personally in more of a pickle because we moved from one state to another. I wasn’t in my home state any longer so I didn’t qualify there for certain health insurance options. Oklahoma offered some great options for those at “high risk” but I needed to be a resident for twelve months to qualify.

Get major medical. I don’t personally have anything against the AFLAC duck, but supplemental coverage should not be your first concern (if ever). Make sure you have major medical. Without your self-employed health insurance plan covering major medical expenses, you could be one serious car accident away from bankruptcy.

Find a better half and get on their plan. I almost hesitated to even put that because I know for some people it is not an option. BUT, if it is, you should take full advantage of it while it’s available. Don’t forget about running as many expenses through a Section 125 plan if is offered.


Healthcare.gov – Open enrollment is closed for 2014, but small businesses may apply any time

Health Care Sharing Options – Alternative options to health insurance, Health Care Sharing and Medi-Share


The End of Tax Season


There is barely a week left before the April 15th filing deadline. I’m so glad! Not because I dislike tax season. On the contrary, I really enjoy tax work. But, it is called “busy season” for a reason. There is so much work crammed into just a couple of months that you stay completely…well, busy!

Busy can be good. If you are an employee in public accounting, staying busy and churning out tax returns is the name of the game. However, as a business owner I would prefer to be interacting with clients and prospects, creating new solutions, and developing relationships. Tax season, at least this year, seemed to keep me from doing those very important things.

But, tax season is about to end. Spring is here. I’m thrilled to focus again on growing Vivid Numbers by reaching out and helping online owners. One of the ways I’ll be doing this is by launching a niche website where I’ll be providing practical advice aimed at online owners.

This week I’ll be joining Jonathan Milligan from Blogging Your Passion on a live webinar to discuss bookkeeping for online owners. You can learn more about it here and we would love it if you would join us!


Keep Your Finances On Track with a Financial Calendar

We all desire to stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to the finances of our business, right?  I won’t keep you in suspense: you need a financial calendar. Whether  you are at the helm of an online empire or an infamous donut shack, we can all relate to the stress and overwhelm of trying having to do it all, especially in the beginning of your business. A simple financial calendar will help you make sure you are consistently taking care of your business. I’ll go through what the financial calendar is, why you need it and how to set one up. I actually LIKE accounting so if I can get behind in the numbers for my business, I know you can, too.


It is a very magical and mystical thing…like most things related to accounting. HORROR!  The financial calendar is the place where you show all the major tasks, due dates and meetings for your business. Yes, these are date driven and recurring, hence the calendar.


You may be thinking that your accounting is very simple. Heck, you may even be one of the 10% of business owners I have come across that are completely up to date on their accounting and simultaneously at peace with the universe. It is never too early or too late to develop the habit of following a financial calendar.


The first step is to create a list of all the tasks, due dates and meetings that should be on your calendar. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Bill paying
Bank, Paypal and credit card reconciliation
Affiliate income reconciliation
Update monthly business performance metrics
Month end close
Sales tax due dates
Payroll paycheck dates
Payroll processing cutoff
Personal Income tax due date
Business Income tax due date
Personal property tax due date
Review/match receipts to expenses
Monthly financial statement review
Quarterly financial meeting/Business Health Check
Budget setup

Once you have your list of items that should be on the calendar, simply drop them in a calendar. I told you this is serious brain draining work up front. Google calendars works great since you can just add a new calendar with only these tasks. It also allows you to set the items up as recurring events so you don’t have to try to remember. For example, if your state requires you to file an Annual Report each September, the month you originally set up your company, you can set this event to recur each September 1st. Below is a sample calendar:

Financial Caledar

You certainly didn’t go through the work to set up a calendar only to fail to actually monitor it. Take the time to incorporate monitoring the calendar into your other weekly routines. I personally like to review the calendar as I’m planning for the week ahead. I’ll glance at the items due for the coming week (Friday payday, processing due Wednesday). I’ll also glance at the remainder of the month to see if there is anything else I need to be thinking about and working on so that nothing is missed.

No matter how far removed from the daily and weekly tasks you may become as your business grows, a financial calendar will help you manage your business and the outcomes.