Me: Excuse me, Mr. SME owner. Can I ask you a simple question?
You: Of course.
Me: Do you know the number 1 reason why 95% of small businesses fail before they reach 5 years?
You: (hmmm…) Let me try. I think it is usually because of our inability to manage the business finance. But what do you think we can do to solve this problem?
Me: Great question. I can help with that…..
Most SME owners make the same mistake: they don’t have an accurate financial view of their business which hiring an accountant or using accounting tools could have solved.
I was recently reading the interview of the publisher of one of Nigeria’s leading entertainment outfits who has over 10 years of business experience. Here is one fundamental thing he said in the interview:
“One of the first persons you should hire in your business is an accountant. Most people wait till they have a lot of financial inflow in their business before they hire an accountant. By that time, it could be too late”
In that interview, he went on to say that:
“ When I ask people who have been in business for 4 years to show me their books, most of them stop coming back to me. These are basic things. You need to be able to answer questions like, “how much did you make last year?” “What was your budget?” “How much do you budget to have this year?” You can’t wing it and succeed in business. Even if you succeed, it’s a fluke; you can’t replicate it”.
I totally agree with him and I can give you more than 10 reasons why you need hire an accountant right now. This can range from helping you to produce financial statements, to offering references and providing seamless professional expertise in all areas of business and accounting. (you can read more reasons here and here).
One thing you should remember is that it will hurt your business if you don’t hire an accountant. Without an accounting application you will lose all the intelligence that comes from wise planning.
Why don’t startups hire accountants or have good financial planning?
This is a moment of truth.
Any startups, freelancers and small business owners that rarely take the extra time to attend to their business finance usually assume that they can figure this stuffs on their own….sometimes later in the future. However, there are some people (possibly, including you) that postpone it to when they start having cash problems or when they want to apply for loan and investments, or for tax purposes. Usually, it is often late by that time.
But why delay hiring an accountant despite the benefits?
The argument is that hiring accountants is an additional business expense they are not ready for yet. I can relate with this because I have been there before. However, I will advise you to hire an accountant on full time or part-time basis.
If you can’t afford either option above, you can invest in an accounting solution that can still give you a bird-eye view of your business at a glance.
There are several options in the market, but I will recommend ProbityBooks.com.
ProbityBooks is unlike most foreign solutions that are designed for enterprise-level clients with little support for users, instead it is developed for freelancers, owner-manager businesses, multi-location businesses and service professionals in Nigeria.
The solution was built from scratch to cater for the needs of businesses in Nigeria which ranges from book keeping, invoicing, inventory management, to tax compliance. Businesses using ProbityBooks were able to account for N15million of orders in the first 100 days of launch.
With ProbityBooks, you can easily export your data to third-party financial tools for additional analysis as might be needed by your accountant or financial analyst. Take a test drive of ProbityBooks with a 15-day free trial before deciding on any of the plans, starting from N2,000 to N15,000 monthly or the N100,000 premium offline version.