How not to ruin your business – top three financial tips for SMEs

Here, Richard Stonier, co-founder and partner of online accounting service Tally, shares his top three tips to stop small business owners from falling at the first financial hurdle.

You’ve picked a name, your business cards are fresh from the printers and your social media pages are set up. That means you’re ready to get your business moving, right? It’s easy to get caught up in the exciting things when setting up a company. However, if your business is going to succeed, you have to get your finances in order. Here, Richard Stonier, co-founder and partner of online accounting service Tally, shares his top three tips to stop small business owners from falling at the first financial hurdle.

In 2015 there were 5.4 million SMEs operating in the UK. For small businesses finding their feet, competition is fierce. While the modern entrepreneur is often pictured sipping on a latte as they leisurely work through emails, all small business owners know that building a successful business is a completely different story. To fight to the head of the pack, effective financial management is essential.

Keeping cashflow in check

In my years working in accountancy, I’ve encountered too many small business owners are who are unfamiliar with what cashflow actually is, or are unaware of how much cash their business has access to. Although orders may be streaming in and profits may appear to be at an all-time high, if cashflow levels are too low business owners will struggle to meet financial obligations, including wages, utility bills and transportation costs.

Online accountancy software keeps control of cash levels by using the latest cloud technology to track incomings, outgoings and profit margins. The flexibility for business owners to remotely access this information from any device, at any time enables informed decisions about what actions they can afford to take.

Saying no to unnecessary stuff

Taking a realistic approach to practical and financial restraints is one of the most important things a small business owner has to keep in mind. Like taking on new clients that you can’t service, being impractical about the resources that your company invests in can ruin you before you start.

When setting up your small business, the latest coffee machines, embossed company stationary, a haul of employee smartphones and a Google-style nap room may all initially appear essential. After all, staff satisfaction is a vital ingredient to any company.

In reality, small business owners need to be shrewd in their spending. This goes for both office benefits and the technology and tools you need to run your business. You need to research which technology or services are most cost efficient for you that can generate the highest Return on Investment (ROI) while delivering quality.

Affordable accountancy

One of those services you need to factor in is accountancy. Your accountant should be looking after your finances, not using them up. Start-ups and small businesses can’t afford to invest in services from big accountancy firms — nor do they need to. When you’re starting out, the real benefit any accountant can offer is in the fundamentals I’ve discussed here, which makes online services ideal.

Online accountancy services cost effectively take care of everything you need to keep your business ticking over. Any small business needs to be agile and able to keep pace with the competition, and using online accountancy instantly puts all the information you need at your fingertips to allow you to move quickly — without breaking the bank.

There’s a lot that can trip you up when you’re running a small business, but only if you don’t tackle it head on. By ensuring that you’re financially savvy from the start, you can avoid screwing up your dream business; making sure those bespoke business cards don’t end up in the bin.

Richard Stonier is co-founder and partner of Tally

Further reading on financial tips


Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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