Managing Your Money | Insights for Business Owners

Self-employment brings numerous benefits, including the freedom to control your schedule and pursue fulfilling work. However, it also demands responsibility, as the ultimate accountability lies with you.

Alex Luck, Director and Financial Adviser at Everest Private Wealth, generously shares his expert tips for effectively managing your finances in the self-employed domain. Discover valuable advice on effectively managing your finances as a self-employed individual, covering crucial areas such as optimising your business structure and ensuring a healthy cash flow.

Establish the Appropriate Business Structure

When people start working for themselves, they often focus more on growing their business than on its structure. They may think that they can deal with the details later on. However, it's crucial to set up the right structure from the beginning or as soon as possible if you're already self-employed.

Some individuals may begin as sole traders or in partnerships but later realise that operating as a company would be more suitable. Changing the business structure can be expensive, so it's wise to consult with an accountant or financial adviser early on.

The appropriate structure for a self-employed person depends on their specific circumstances. For instance, a lawn mowing business might work well as a sole trader, but a technology start-up with plans for significant growth and employment will require a more complex structure.

Understand Your Tax Obligations

One common mistake in self-employment is spending all the money you earn without considering taxes. Besides income tax, there are other taxes like GST and company tax that may need to be paid.

To avoid this problem, you can hire a bookkeeper or use software like Xero to keep track of your tax obligations regularly. Additionally, it's important to take advantage of any government support available to you.

Cash Flow Management

It's important to have money available in case of emergencies or unexpected opportunities. "Don't let your business run out of funds," advises Luck.

Having a healthy cash flow is crucial. If you keep taking money out of your business without reinvesting in it, and something unexpected happens, you could find yourself in a tough situation. You might have to sell something important that you need.

As a general guideline, it's a good idea to save enough money to cover at least six months of expenses for yourself and your business, just to be prepared.

Be Mindful of Your Expenses

When it comes to investing in facilities and equipment for your business, it's wise to begin with modest choices.

Instead of splurging on expensive state-of-the-art desktop computers, consider if a $1,000 laptop can fulfil your requirements just as effectively. Similarly, questioning the necessity of a lavish office space when working from home could suffice.

Rather than getting caught up in grand visions of a booming global enterprise, prioritise spending only on what you currently need to carry out your work. Additionally, it's crucial to maintain accurate and detailed records of your expenses.

Invest in Insurance

As a self-employed person, it's important to have different types of insurance like public liability and public indemnity. These insurances can provide you with protection in case of legal issues that may arise.

Additionally, it's crucial to consider how you would manage financially if you couldn't work for several months or longer due to unexpected situations like illness or accidents.

Having income protection insurance can help you cover your business and personal expenses during the period when you are unable to work. It gives you the necessary time to recover and get back on track.

It's essential to think about the impact on your business if you are not able to be present. In many cases, both your business and your income could suffer quickly if you are not prepared for such situations.

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