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How to tame your small business finances: Tips from Jog Consulting

Tracey Ruben

Tracey Rubens has spent much of her life working in the accounting and bookkeeping industry. After over three decades of working for other companies, she realised she wanted to start her own firm where she could make a difference in the lives of small business owners. Tracey founded Jog Consulting and has been running the consultancy for seven years and has 30 clients she works with on a weekly or monthly basis.

“I wanted something flexible where I could make all of my own decisions,” she says. “I realised I could take all of the financial business analysis that I’d been doing and put it into the hands of small businesses.

When Jog Consulting started, she was just doing her clients’ accounting. Software and apps have changed how she works and now she offers a variety of advisory services, as well. “We provide small businesses with regular updates on how they’re doing, including sales and cash reporting”.

Success for Tracey is about her clients taking a step back from what’s right in front of them and having a 360 degree view of their financial situation. Tracey strives to make sure her clients always have a financial plan in place. She wants small business owners to think about how many sales they need to make and how much money they need to set aside in order to prepare for the future. Tracey shared her top recommendations to keep small business owners on track.

Tracey’s first piece of advice is for owners to remember that their business bank account is not their personal bank account; it belongs to the business. If you want to take money out, then withdraw it and deposit it into your personal bank account. “Do not combine the two because that’s how businesses fall over,” she tells us.

It’s also crucial to make sure you have money set aside for all of your liabilities. Your superannuation, your GST, the PAYG for your employees…none of that money belongs to you. Tracey makes sure that all her clients designate those funds to a separate account immediately and leave them there until they have to pay what they owe. 

Tracey’s last piece of advice is to always keep cash flow front of mind. You need to constantly think about when you’re going to get money from your customers and when you need to pay your bills. Small businesses, particularly tradespeople, often forget to invoice their customers because they think they are too busy. Then, they believe they’re on top of their cash flow until they realise they aren’t able to pay their suppliers. 

“You need to ask yourself, ‘how can I get that money coming in faster? How can I delay sending my suppliers money just a little bit?’”

Tracey wants to make sure her small business clients understand the importance of those small tweaks and the difference they can make to cash flow. If business owners only focus on sales, they’re missing out on crucial information which can make or break their business. Keeping your business accounts up to date, having a big picture view of the comings and goings of cash, and making sure that you set aside the right amount of money to run your business are the most important things you can do to stay afloat. 

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Tracey is a registered BAS Agent and one of Aider’s Advisory Intelligence Portal customers. You can find out more about her practice Jog Consulting here.