My finances are in a terrible mess. Can you help?

Dear Aunty B,

I am self-employed, we are already two months into the financial year and already I am way behind in billing and my accounts. I am just so bad with finances. Help.

Sarah W,




Dear Sarah,


If I hear one more grown woman moan about accounts like some damsel in distress I am going to get seriously annoyed. What is it with women? Why won’t they spend the money to get a bookkeeper who will do in half an hour what you do in day?


Yes, I am being sexist but in my experience women can be really stingy when they are running their own businesses (well, yes… they are also unlikely to go broke, but stay on the subject, Sarah).


If you won’t take responsibility for your finances don’t wait for Prince Charming (specialties include hot lovemaking and BAS statements) to come along. Get your act together or find a bookkeeper.


If you don’t get your finances in order you will find yourself spending entire weekends catching up on BAS statements, rifling through receipts in shoeboxes (or garbage bags as my buddy does) and sending out late invoices. This is not a good look.


Here are a couple of basics.

  • Keep track of all your business expenditure on one company credit card (fees are tax deductible), that way when you need to go through expenses, they are on one statement instead of in a shoebox. This makes it easy with BAS statements.
  • Get to know the tax office’s website – it has stacks of support and information on what you need to keep your finances in order.
  • Print out SmartCompany’s 2007-08 new financial year guide for SMEs.
  • Invest in some software such as MYOB, Quicken or Quickbooks (you can download free trials). Setting up your system may take a few hours but these programs will revolutionise your business.
  • Get strict about billing clients promptly. I just received a bill from a newsagent from 2005 (100% true) – not a good look. And follow up on overdue invoices or your cashflow will be cactus.


Sarah, this should be a start to help you transition to the real world. And actually, I was wrong telling you there is no tax Prince Charming, there is. His name is Terry Hayes, from Thomson Legal & Regulatory. He writes for every Thursday and by gosh he’s good at GST.


What are you waiting for? Email your questions, problems and issues to [email protected] right now!



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