Unlocking Business Success: Essential Steps for Every Aspiring Entrepreneur

May 25, 2023 Mimi Torrington

business executives looking at options to start building a financial team

Starting a business can be an exhilarating journey, but it also comes with multiple financial responsibilities. For every aspiring business owner, there are key financial steps that lay the foundation for success, such as creating a budget and managing finances effectively, paying taxes correctly to avoid any legal repercussions, preparing for unexpected expenses or financial setbacks, and utilizing financial data to make informed decisions that can drive growth and sustainability, and perhaps most importantly, building a financial team. Today, we explore these key financial steps and provide actionable insights for beginning business owners to navigate the financial aspects of their entrepreneurial journey with Danielle Hayden.

Danielle is a reformed corporate CFO on a mission to help entrepreneurs understand their numbers to gain the confidence needed to create sustainable profits. After spending ten-plus years in the boardroom as a corporate finance officer, she is now in her sweet spot as the CEO of Kickstart Accounting, where she helps business owners with bookkeeping, financial analysis and education. Danielle is also the author of The Profit Planner book series and host of the Entrepreneur Money Stories Podcast.

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Welcome back to CFO Weekly, where we’re talking with financial leaders about how to build efficiency in their teams, create time for strategy, and ultimately get results. With your host, Megan Weis. Let’s jump right in.

Megan - 00:00:31: Today my guest is Danielle Hayden. Danielle is a reformed corporate CFO who is on a mission to help rule-breaking female entrepreneurs understand their numbers so they can gain the confidence needed to create sustainable profits. After spending ten-plus years in the boardroom as a corporate finance officer, Danielle is now in her sweet spot as the CEO of Kickstart Accounting Inc. Where she helps business owners with bookkeeping, financial analysis, and education. She is the author of the Profit Planner book series. When Danielle isn’t in her money mindset, you can find her hiking or spending time with her family. Danielle, thank you for joining me on today’s episode of CFO Weekly.

Danielle - 00:01:12: Thank you so much for having me here.

Megan - 00:01:14: Yeah. In your words, you’ve been on a mission to help entrepreneurs get accounting and bookkeeping off their to-do lists and understand their financials so that they can gain the confidence needed to create sustainable profits. I’m really looking forward to learning from you today, so let’s get started.

Danielle - 00:01:30: Awesome.

Megan - 00:01:31: First and foremost, and as always, let’s start with you and your journey to how it is you got to where you are today.

Danielle - 00:01:39: Yeah. So, like most entrepreneurs, I’ve had a nice long, windy road through working as a CFO and then ultimately landing in this space, working directly with entrepreneurs. So I started my career at ENY and then quickly moved into more of a corporate accounting role. So meaning that I worked with the board of directors, the accounting team, investors, the management team, or C suite, on helping them use the numbers to make financial decisions, raise capital, and ultimately grow the business. And so I learned so much during that time and realized that every single entrepreneur, especially women entrepreneurs, needs access to the same information regarding the numbers in their business in order to be able to make strong business decisions so that they can ultimately grow their business. Right. Same goals, raise capital, make the right business decisions, and ultimately grow. And so my mission has really been taking all that experience that I had working in ENY and then working through corporate accounting with those management teams to then take all of that information and bring it to women entrepreneurs so that they have that same access.

Megan - 00:03:00: So do you only work with women entrepreneurs?

Danielle - 00:03:03: We actually have quite a few men that we work with as well. Okay. I just find that women have a harder time asking for help than men. So a lot of times our clients that come to us, they have a lot of money-mindset blocks to work through. And so our men that come to the firm have a much easier time asking for help, embracing our help. Whereas some of the women that we’ve worked with throughout the years have a harder time saying, hey, this actually isn’t my area of expertise and I don’t think I can do it all. I have to actually take off my Superman cape here in this area.

Megan - 00:03:40: It’s hard for women to do that. So as you look back on your career, are there any stories that stand out in your mind as turning points?

Danielle - 00:03:49: Gosh, I’ve had so many of them, but I think when I think specifically about a turning point that led me to start Kickstart Accounting, Inc. I was sitting in the boardroom. It was one of our quarterly meetings that we had every single quarter, and each quarter we would meet with the management team. So that included our CEO, myself, the CFO, our head of sales, the head of client service, and our head of marketing. And we would spend hours preparing for these board meetings. And in that preparation, there was so much anxiety and collaboration. You are walking around with a pit in your stomach, kind of sweaty palms for a week or two leading up to these meetings. And it was because we were waiting to make these key business decisions until we got to the board meeting. So we would wait until we were meeting with our investors to make the business decisions that we should have been making throughout the quarter. And it was at that moment that I realized that we have the power to be able to use financial data consistently throughout the year. We don’t have to wait for an investor meeting. We don’t have to wait until the bank calls our loan. We don’t have to wait for the bank to say, I need to see your financial statements. We don’t have to wait for taxes and our CPA to ask us for our financial statements at the year right, and the year. We don’t have to wait for those moments when we have sweaty palms and pits in our stomachs and we’re anxious over these decisions. We can take back our power and say, I’m going to use this information for my benefit, to grow my business before I even get to those turning points, that I can use this information month over month and step into empowerment.

Megan - 00:05:46: That’s very insightful. Yeah, we spend a lot of time just waiting on things instead of acting on the information that we have. So Kickstart Accounting. Let’s talk about that. What services do you offer business owners?

Danielle - 00:06:01: So our goal at Kickstart Accounting, Inc. is to help business owners take the accounting function, and the bookkeeping function, off of their plate. So we provide them with accurate and on-time bookkeeping throughout the year. But more importantly, we use our strategic framework to provide our clients with their financial snapshot. And the financial snapshot is a proprietary framework that we’ve created to walk our clients through their financial statements in a way that’s proven to help them understand their numbers. It’s not like looking at a large Excel document with all these reports that don’t make sense. We really take all those reports, the information that’s important within those reports, and create the financial snapshot that’s going to leave our clients empowered. Right. The sense of confidence. I know where my business stands, I understand my business finances, and now I can go into the next business function with power and confidence. Like I know where my business stands and I can make this decision confidently.

Megan - 00:07:14: And what are the key financial steps that every beginning business owner should take when setting up their business? And why are these steps essential?

Danielle - 00:07:22: Yeah, the first step that every single business owner needs to take is to separate your identity from the business. And I mean this in two ways. Fundamentally, we have to separate our business financials from our personal financials. So no commingling funds, no using your business account for personal, no using personally for business. We have a clear separation from business to personal in our finances. And that makes it really easy. When you go to file your taxes, when you go to work with a money team like ours, when you go to do the bookkeeping or your taxes, it makes it really clear exactly what was for business and what was for personal so that you can capture every business deduction possible. We hate to see business owners leaving money on the table. It is painful to watch business owners leave money on the painful table and pay that money to the IRS. So making sure that we have that division so that we’re able to capture every business deduction. And then we also have to separate our identity from the business in its entirety. Throughout the years, we’ve worked with thousands of entrepreneurs who when their business or their market or their industry takes a turn or a curve or kind of a roller coaster ride down, our clients take that personally, they take it hard. And this can really derail progress and it can derail our mindset. When our identity is so closely wrapped up in our business, it clouds our judgment. It clouds being able to actually see that financial snapshot that we send to you because you’re thinking of it as your report card of your worth as a human, right? And it’s not. It is a snapshot of the financials of your business and how the business is doing, not how you are doing as an individual. So really making sure that your identity is separated from the business so that you can lead from a place of confidence and empowerment and really be able to use that financial information to make strong business decisions.

Megan - 00:09:39: And not all business owners have an accounting background or even a degree in business. So how can these business owners create a budget and manage their finances effectively without this knowledge and an accounting degree?

Danielle - 00:09:55: Yeah, so I think we maybe have throughout the years, five clients ever who had an accounting background. So trust me when I say you are not alone. There are so many business owners who are great at their craft, right? You went into business because you had an idea, a concept, a way to solve a problem, or a craft that you were great at, not because you were great at running a business or great at understanding business financials. We even have clients who came from the finance world who still don’t want to do their business bookkeeping. So you do not need an accounting degree in order to run your business. Right. It is so common. So when we’re looking at understanding our numbers and building a budget, the key is to have a strong money team alongside of you. When you have a strong money team, your money team will be the individuals who will help hold you accountable by making sure that you have clean and accurate bookkeeping, right? So that’s step one. Clean, accurate bookkeeping and then provide you with the financials, the financial snapshot, the reconciliations, and the accountability to review that information on an on-time regular basis, right? So we want to see that information monthly or quarterly. Once we have those two put things in place, we can start to look into the future. And there are so many different budgeting tools out there. So once we have those pieces in place, we can start to say, this is what happened in the past and we can use this information to start to predict the future and start to plan our revenue and expenses. What is our attention for the year? How do we plan on growing our business and then mapping out the expenses and the income in order to get us to the goal? We have to create the map, and the budget allows us to do that. But we cannot create a budget unless we know where we’ve been, right? So we have to look backward in order to look forward.

Megan - 00:12:01: And how important is it for business owners to track their expenses? Obviously, the answers vary, but how can they do this efficiently?

Danielle - 00:12:09: Yeah. So again, separating your business and personal expenses is going to allow you to really efficiently track your business expenses. And the most important piece is that I don’t want you to overpay in taxes, right? So you are saving money. It sounds counterintuitive, but you are actually saving money by tracking your expenses. You’re saving time by separating your business and personal. So I want you to be a more well-rounded and effective business owner. And these are two ways to be able to save time and make more money. So having that clean and separate bookkeeping is so important. And then we can’t just say, okay, I’ve separated it and now I can close my eyes and not look at it. We are going to operate in the dark. We’re going to lose our confidence, our spark, our energy, and our power by not looking at our financials. Going back to my story, at the beginning, when we would wait till the end of the quarter or the end of the year for these board meetings, we were allowing ourselves to operate from a place of scarcity. We were operating from a place of fear or complacency. And I know that if you’re listening to this podcast, right, if you tuned into this podcast, then you’re better than that. You want more than that for your business. You want more than that in your career, in your future. And by looking at this information, you are standing out against the rest of the crowd. Not everyone does this. Not everyone tunes into this podcast. Not everyone sets themselves up. They don’t take the steps to create success. And so by listening and taking action, you are creating the success to step into power, to step into your energy, to operate from a place of abundance, a place of knowledge and creativity because you know where you’re making money, where you’re spending money, how much to save in taxes. What is important for you and your business right now?

Megan - 00:14:19: And how can business owners ensure that they’re paying their taxes correctly? Today’s tax day, so this is timely. And what are some common mistakes that business owners make?

Danielle - 00:14:29: Yeah, so I cannot stress the money team enough. And so a money team, we believe there should be three people on your money team. You should have a bookkeeper. So your bookkeeper is the most important person on your money team because they are going to be the person who is inputting everything accurately so that you can make business decisions and file your taxes correctly. The second person on your money team is going to be your CPA. This is the person who files your taxes and that’s really all they do. They are not your financial advisor, they are not your bookkeeper. They are not your business coach. They literally only file your taxes and give you tax strategy. I’ve seen so many businesses throughout the year. Their first hire is their tax accountant. And so they naturally go to their tax accountant for business advice and coaching and mentorship. And you don’t do it on purpose, but you naturally end up asking this person questions and that’s not what their role is. So we have our bookkeeper, our CPA tax accountant, and then our financial advisor. And the financial advisor is the individual who actually helps you create wealth. Now, I want to go back to your question. I went off on a little bit of a tangent, but I wanted to be clear on who to have in your corner, right? Because when we think of our favorite football teams or basketball teams, they don’t just have the head coach, they have a whole team of coaches that help get them to the playoffs right into the end game. That’s our money team. And our tax advisor is going to use the information that our bookkeeper created in order to file the taxes. Make these people your friends. They want to hear from you, they want to talk to you. They want you to ask questions. And so the biggest mistake that I see entrepreneurs make is that they don’t actually connect with their money team. So our clients get financial statements and that financial snapshot every single month. Open the email, look at it, read it, understand the information, and respond back with questions. Save for your taxes. Right at the bottom of every single one of our snapshots, we give a tax reserve. So make sure that you are reading that information. You’re setting aside those funds so that you are prepared for the end of the year. The biggest mistake is waiting. Is waiting till the end of the year and acting surprised. My mama always said there are two things that you are guaranteed in life. It’s to pay taxes and die. A little morbid, but it’s ironic that I’m in this field now because it used to drive me nuts when she would say that. But we know that we’re going to pay taxes, so don’t act surprised every April. This is something that we need to be aware of throughout the year. So do not put your head in the sand.

Megan - 00:17:06: And does Kickstart Accounting, Inc., do you guys provide fractional CFO services? And how important do you think the CFO role is to a small business? Is it necessary or not necessary?

Danielle - 00:17:20: Yeah. So I think my answer is going to be, it depends on what you need in your business today and what you’re going to do with the information. So I see a lot of business owners throughout the years who felt like they needed that role officially in their business because they were going to raise capital or for a bank loan. And if you have the right money team in place, you might not need that role. So, for our clients, most of our clients do not have a CFO because we are enacting that role for them. So we provide them with a budget, a weekly cash dashboard, cash planning, and cash management. So they are able to use the tools that we’ve created from our bookkeeping. Right. So from looking backward to looking forward. So the goal of the CFO role is to start to use financial information to look forward. And if you have a strong money team in place, they will be able to help you use the tools that are currently in place to look forward and navigate your business. Now, at some point in your business, will it be necessary to hire either a part-time or full-time CFO? Absolutely. But we’re talking several million dollars in sales before it really becomes important for us to have that role in our business.

Megan - 00:18:42: And the last three years have obviously been a roller coaster. But how can business owners prepare for unexpected expenses or financial setbacks, such as drops in sales or unforeseen expenses?

Danielle - 00:18:57: Yeah. So every single one of our clients receives a number that we call your true cash balance. And the true cash balance is three numbers combined with our average operating expenses, and that will also include the average cost of goods sold. So what is over the last twelve months your average operating expenses plus your average cost of goods sold, plus your average monthly debt payments and your average monthly owner’s draws? So by adding up that number, we can now understand what the cash outflow on a monthly basis is for our business. Now, what the heck do you do with this information? We had a client recently whose business was hit really hard by the pandemic. I mean, she was completely, like so many of us, completely shut down. And she did not have anything in savings. So she was in a position where she could not keep on her team members. She had to close her doors, she couldn’t take her owner’s draw, and she had to beg and plead with the bank and her debt facilities to allow time in order to pay her debt. Our client came to us and said, I don’t ever want to be in this position again. Right. This was painful for her. She was sick to her stomach. She had so much anxiety, she stopped sleeping. It was a bad place, right? Not just for her, but for so many of us. But this client took that pain and decided to take action. And so we’ve worked with her to find what is her average net cash output in her business. And she has worked over the last six months to have three months' worth of savings set aside in a savings account. Now, some people might say to me, Danielle, that’s not the best use of cash. Want our clients to invest in the stock market or mutual fund, or... And my response back is, I don’t care. I want our clients. This client wanted for herself the feeling of security, the empowerment that goes along with knowing that she can keep her team employed for three months, she can continue to take owner’s draws and support her family for three months. She can keep her business alive and pay her operating expenses, she can continue to thrive. Now, do I think we’ll have another global pandemic? Jeez, I sure hope not. And does this client think that we’ll have another global pandemic? No, but we understand that there’s uncertainty in the market and every time we go up, we must come down. And there might be other uncertainty in her market, in her industry, and in the world. And she now sits with power and confidence that she can withstand those uncertain times.

Megan - 00:21:57: And what advice do you have for business owners who want to improve their financial literacy and take a more active role in managing their finances?

Danielle - 00:22:06: Yeah, just get started, right? It’s like asking, how do we want to go about running a marathon? So I’d like to use that analogy because I trained for a marathon last year and let me tell you, I did not go out and run 26 miles. I woke up week over week, month over month, and put in the time and the effort, the blood, the sweat, the tears, and there were a lot of them. Because it’s hard work to get to the starting line, right? Not just the finish line, just to get to the starting line. And so for anybody who hears this topic and feels frustrated or defeated, where you lack confidence, maybe as you listen to me, your palms are getting sweaty and you have a little bit of a pit in your stomach. Trust me. The first run that I did, I was sweating before I even started my jog. My knees hurt half a mile in. And so you’re going to go through those same pain points. The first time you look at your numbers, you might think about the sweat coming down your temple. You might think about the pit in your stomach or just the anxious feeling that you get even thinking about this information. And then I want you to do it anyway. Do it anyway. And it’s going to get easier over time. On my last run before my marathon, I felt so strong and so powerful. And yes, my knees still hurt a little bit. Yeah, I still had some sweat and I was anxious for my race, but I felt strong and I felt powerful, like I’ve put in the work. And so every time you look at your numbers, you’ll have a little bit less sweat, you’ll feel a little less anxious, you’ll feel a little bit more power. So just keep showing up. Look at your numbers, make sure you’re talking to your money team, schedule your monthly accountability reviews, and keep tuning into podcasts like this. We have our podcast, Entrepreneur Money Stories. Keep tuning in to shows that are going to educate you and then don’t just get educated, right? Because that’s just step one. We have to use this education and bring it back to our business. So take action.

Megan - 00:24:19: That is great advice. How can business owners use financial data to make informed decisions? Accounting has historically been so backward-looking. But how do we use the information to be forward-looking, to maybe hire new employees or expand into new markets?

Danielle - 00:24:37: Yeah, there’s a reason that bookkeeping is looking backward because we have to look backward to look forward. We can’t just look forward without ever looking to question what just happened, right? It would be, quite frankly, irresponsible of us. And so I think accounting and bookkeeping get scrutinized a little unfairly in that it’s always looking backward. The problem isn’t that we’re looking backward, it’s that we don’t know how to use it to look forward. So we work with our clients on this all the time. We had a client recently who said, I’m getting really frustrated because I’m always looking backward. And so we worked with her on formulating the questions that she needed to ask herself in order to actually use that information to look forward. So when we look backward, maybe the question is, hey, January sales were almost nonexistent. What happened? What happened in January? Why did my sales dip? You can’t just ask the question and walk away. We have to actually listen for the answers. What the heck happened? Is this seasonality, okay? Is it just this year or is it going to happen again next year? Once I can start to formulate the answers to those questions, I can prepare for the next season. So if I know that every January my business has a dip, right? I have a natural seasonality to my business, I can now tune into my true cash balance, right? The cash flow that we talked about earlier in the episode, I can go back to that cash balance and I can start to save. And now I’m working towards next January so that when I show up in January, I’m able to pay my debt payments, I’m able to keep my team in place, and I’m able to continue to thrive. Now, this client that I was just mentioning when we looked at this, she had the January problem. Every January and February in her business, she had this dip. And she was so frustrated because she ended quarter-four on such a high note and she paid out bonuses and owner’s draws and took the tax payments, right? She really had a huge cash burden in her business in December and slammed into January, which was really slow. And so this was a really big surprise for her the first few years. But through bookkeeping, she was able to recognize that. And this January, it was amazing to see. She kept her head up high. She knew how much she needed in order to pay her debt. She was able to keep all of her team members employed and at the same hours and capacity because she planned for it and she was ready. She actually took less in bonuses in quarter four because she had taken them throughout the year. She didn’t have to wait. She took a quarterly bonus every single quarter. So when she got to quarter four, she didn’t have to hurt her business. She didn’t have to hurt the cash in her business. She was able to keep that cash so that she can survive that seasonality. So it’s looking backward. Ask the questions, right? If you can’t find the answer, then you’re asking the wrong questions. So keep asking questions until you can find the answer. And then make a plan so that you can start to see the future.

Megan - 00:27:57: And I know you’ve shared one, but are there any other success stories of business owners who followed your financial advice and saw significant improvements in their business’s financial health?

Danielle - 00:28:11: Oh, I have hundreds of stories that we could touch on, and I just also want to say it’s not my advice. Right? So what we’ve created is empowerment for business owners where they actually don’t need me, they don’t need my team, they don’t need our advice, they don’t need us to tell them what to do. What we’ve created is a financial snapshot and have taught them how to actually use the snapshot. The snapshot is set up in a way that is easy for them to read and understand. And then we’ve taught them how to actually use the snapshot to pull out their own questions, to pull out their own answers, and to step into their own power. And so this was really more of a journey about your own personal transformation. We had a client last year that we worked with that she was so scared of looking at her financials, she had come to us and she had actually asked me to teach her how to run her business at a loss. And I’m like, okay, that’s an Audrey class, but I’ll take it. And we did what we call a catch-up. So we brought all of her transactions into QuickBooks. So it was about October at this point. And so we brought all those transactions in, we walked through her financials, and she was shocked because not only did she not have a loss, right, but she now needed to get ready for tax season because she actually had quite a bit of profit that she was going to have to pay taxes on. The problem was that she didn’t understand the flow of her financials, the flow of the money, and so she didn’t understand where her money was going, and that included her owner’s draws. Through the snapshot, we were able to walk her through where she was making money, where she was spending money, how the net income or loss impacts her tax reserves, impacts her business decisions, and then what is the net cash position or net cash inflow or outflow of her business so that she could then step into a place of abundance? Now, this specific client that I’m talking about has had this really amazing transformation, because when she came to me asking for how to operate her business at a loss, I promise you, she was operating from a place of scarcity. She was scared. She didn’t want to spend money, she wasn’t saving money. She was not going to last. And once she stepped into the place of empowerment and knowledge, we watched her start to invest in her business. She is now a speaker. She leads a local conference. She has helped hundreds of other business owners through her program. And she would have missed out on helping all of those business owners had she not taken the responsibility to look at her financials and understand them right, and then use those financials to change her mindset.

Megan - 00:31:12: That’s an amazing story. Thank you for sharing.

Danielle - 00:31:15: Absolutely. I’m really excited about that stuff.

Megan - 00:31:18: Yeah, that’s good. I can tell you’re passionate, which means you found your calling in life. So lastly, as a finance leader and an entrepreneur, what is it that keeps you motivated? What gets you up and out of bed every morning?

Danielle - 00:31:34: Yeah, I think the fake answer is—the surface answer, it’s not fake. My surface answer is always my kids. But I don’t just mean my kids, I mean our kids. All of our kids. The next generation of individuals to create businesses. Because in this role, I tell my team this all the time. We are not a team of bookkeepers. We are not a team of finance professionals. We are changing the game. We are changing the landscape of entrepreneurship. We are breaking the rules. Right. It is unheard of for small business owners, and I’m talking about small business owners who are starting as a side hustle for less than 100K. They don’t traditionally have access to this type of information. We are breaking the rules and bringing them access to this information, to this empowerment, to this confidence, so that they can grow their business. Then from there, they’re going to change the lives of their family. They’re going to change the story, and then they’re going to change the story of their kids and the people that they hire. They’re going to change the story of those people that they hire and employ in their business and the lives that they’re going to get to impact. So it’s not about my kids. It’s about all of our kids and breaking the rules to bring empowerment to entrepreneurship so that we can really make a difference in the world.

Megan - 00:33:05: Great answer, Danielle. Thank you so much for being my guest today.

Danielle - 00:33:09: Oh, you’re so welcome. It was very nice to be here.

Megan - 00:33:11: Yeah, I really enjoyed learning about you and I appreciate you taking the time to be here with us today. I wish you and Kickstart Accounting, Inc. all the best. Sounds like you and your team are doing amazing things and changing lives on a daily basis. To all of our listeners, please tune in next week. And until then, take care.

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You’ve been listening to CFO Weekly, presented by Personiv. Please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts to hear all of our episodes. Want to learn more? Check out personiv.com. Thanks for listening.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Separating personal and business finances

  • Building a strong money team

  • Using financial data to make informed business decisions

  • Preparing for financial setbacks

  • Leveraging bookkeeping for future success

Key Takeaways

Separating Personal Identity and Finances from Your Business

Quote separating finances from business team

Business success starts by establishing a clear delimitation between your personal and business identity. This involves separating your financial matters in terms of funds and perception. Firstly, maintain a distinct separation between your personal and business finances by maintaining separate accounts for each.

Furthermore, it is equally important to detach your personal identity from your company, which will help you create the mental clarity necessary to perceive an accurate financial snapshot. This separation allows for a more objective assessment of your business's financial health and aids in making informed decisions.

“Make sure that your identity is separated from the business so that you can lead from a place of confidence and empowerment and be able to use that financial information to make strong business decisions,” Hayden said. - 07:14 - 09:40

Harnessing the Power of a Strong Money Team for Financial Success

Quote strong money for financial success

Many business owners excel in their craft or have brilliant ideas to solve problems but may lack expertise in running a business or understanding financial matters. You don't need an accounting degree to successfully operate your business, and this is a common reality among entrepreneurs. However, you have to assemble a strong money team to support you.

By harnessing the expertise of a capable money team, you empower yourself to focus on your core strengths while ensuring that your business's financial aspects are effectively managed. This collaboration will enable you to unlock the full potential of your business and drive sustainable growth.

“When we're looking at understanding your numbers and building a budget, the key is to have a strong money team alongside you,” Hayden said. - 09:40 - 12:02

Building a Powerful Money Team

Quote Danielle Hayden CEO of Kickstart Accounting

Building a strong money team is vital for achieving financial success as an entrepreneur. Your team should consist of three key members: the bookkeeper, the CPA, and the financial advisor.

The bookkeeper is the backbone of your money team, responsible for accurate record-keeping. The CPA provides tax expertise and strategies, ensuring compliant and optimized filings. The financial advisor assists in building wealth by offering personalized guidance on investment strategies and long-term financial planning. They help you make informed decisions, tailoring approaches to achieve your financial goals.

“The biggest mistake I see entrepreneurs make is not connecting with their money team. Make these people your friends. They want to hear from you, they want to talk to you, they want you to ask questions,” Hayden said. - 14:19 - 17:07

Aligning Business Requirements with Financial Expertise

Quote building a financial team with expertise

The decision to bring a CFO on board depends on the specific requirements of your business, both in the present and future. The primary objective of the CFO role is to leverage financial information to facilitate forward-thinking strategies. With a capable finance team, the need for a dedicated CFO may be mitigated. Collaborating with your existing financial experts can empower you to leverage the available tools and insights to proactively navigate your business's trajectory.

Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge that there comes a point in the growth of every business where hiring a part-time or full-time CFO becomes essential. However, this typically occurs when your business has reached a substantial level of revenue, often in the realm of several million dollars in sales.

“The goal of the CFO role is to use financial information to look forward. And if you have a strong money team, they will help you use the tools currently in place to look forward and navigate your business,” Hayden said. - 17:07 - 18:42

Leveraging Bookkeeping for Future Success

Quote leveraging a financial team for future success

Accounting and bookkeeping have long been criticized for their retrospective nature. However, the key lies in understanding that looking backward is essential to gaining foresight. By delving into the details of past financial records, you can begin formulating vital answers that pave the way for future endeavors. This process empowers businesses to prepare adequately for the upcoming seasons of our business.

Looking backward is the starting point. It involves asking the right questions and persisting until you find the answers you seek. If you encounter difficulties locating the necessary information, you haven't yet pinpointed the correct inquiries. In essence, embracing the retrospective nature of bookkeeping becomes a catalyst for forward-thinking.

“There's a reason that bookkeeping is looking backward because we have to look backward to look forward,” Hayden said. - 24:21 - 27:58

For more interviews from the CFO Weekly podcast, check us out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and our RSS or your favorite podcast player!

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Reach out to the Personiv team and see how easy it is to start building your financial team. You can start today with a team of 1 member and grow as you need.

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