Being a solopreneur has its advantages, right?
Location freedom, the ability to make important decisions on your own, the power to run your business from your laptop, the lack of a boss.
All great things.
But, there are tough parts also. One of the tougher ones to deal with is that you just don’t have a ton of resources at your disposal. If you are just starting out you are bootstrapping- doing lots of things yourself that bigger businesses have dedicated individuals, or even full departments to handle.
Once you start getting some momentum behind you, you try to outsource some of your tasks. Get rid of those tasks that you can’t stand. Those are typically the first to go.
One of those is likely your accounting. I get it. You can’t stand it.
However, most solopreneurs make a big mistake when they outsource their accounting. They look for a bookkeeper. They simply want someone to handle paying the bills, balancing the books and keeping things in line until tax-time comes around.
Like I said, resources are tight and every dollar counts when you are building your business.
Yet, don’t make the mistake that the accounting for your business is a non-value added task that you can auction off to the lowest bidder.
The accounting information for your business is a treasure trove of information. It holds clues and key information about the future and path of your business.
If you want the future growth of your business to get started on the right path from the very beginning there are some key concepts to keep in mind.
What you need is someone who can not only keep you organized, but show you how you can use your accounting to see where your business is flourishing or struggling.
You are only one person, so how can that information tell you where to focus?
This is why you need a controller. Not a bookkeeper. Controllers act like a detective with the clues and indicators that your businesses numbers give you.
Just some of the things a controller can do that take you beyond mere bookkeeping:
- Act as a translator: Getting a stack of financial statements out of your software when the bookkeeper is done is all well and good. But, what does it mean? A controller can help you bridge the gap from a confusing set of numbers to something that has meaning. Someone to bounce questions off of.
- Understand your costs: Understanding sales is easy. All entrepreneurs are born to sell. But, what does it cost you to make what you sell? It can be even more confusing when you sell several different things. A good controller can help you pick apart the messy pile of expenses and figure out how much that sale really cost and whether that drives your business forward.
- Measuring the Right Things: Metrics are great. They help you put a complex measurement into a simple number or set of numbers. Unfortunately , the financial landscape is littered with useful metrics. Most of it doesn’t matter to you. What a controller can do is listen to you and understand your business. They can then put together measurements that you can really manage. What you measure improves. Just be sure you are measuring the right things.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what a controller can do for your business. As I like to say, accounting is so much more than taxes and record keeping. It’s intelligence about your business. Intelligence that the right person can mold into actions that you can take to grow your business faster than you ever hoped.