No one likes thinking about financial planning – it’s simply a necessity for every business. But even if you had an ulcer when you took accounting (or never took it at all), you can still find great tools and resources online to make it easier to manage your finances and make smart financial decisions for your business for 2016 and beyond. Get ready to bookmark these resources, because they’re pretty fantastic.
Books to Read
If you’re old school and prefer reading books over blogs, these will help you get savvy on your business finances.
Small Time Operator: How to Start Your Own Business, Keep Your Books, Pay Your Taxes, and Stay Out of Trouble
Author Bernard B. Kamoroff is a CPA, so you can bet he knows his finances. In this book, you’ll learn all those little details that can help you succeed, like how to finance a business, establishing a complete bookkeeping system and dealing with federal, state and local taxes.
Small Business: The Unconventional Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting Your Own Small Business from Home
If you plan to run a business out of your home, this book by John Robert is essential. It’s what you do before you launch your business with your finances that will set the stage for how you manage them once you launch, and this book will teach you how to reduce your living expenses so you can afford to start your business, as well as how to launch your business while still working.
J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2016: Your Complete Guide to a Better Bottom Line
Barbara Weltman updates this book annually, so get the latest edition to stay on top of tax law changes. It includes a listing of all available business expense deductions, including dollar limits and record-keeping requirements, so that you can maximize your business deductions and pay less on your taxes.
Having a budget for your business is essential. You need to keep track of expenses and plan for the future. These tools will make building that budget for 2016 and future years easier.
PlanGuru offers business budgeting, forecasting and performance review software that can help you make smarter financial decisions. Build your business budget with a free trial of the software, then sign up for a plan starting at $99.
Known for its many free business tools, SCORE offers several finance templates, including a financial projections template, balance sheet, cash flow statement and more.
LivePlan is business plan software. Using the platform, you can create financial projections, budgets and other financial reports essential for your business plan. Plans start at $11.66 a month.
If you learn by listening, there are several financial podcasts worth adding to your queue.
Accounting Best Practices
Steve Bragg is the host of this podcast, which covers basics of accounting, as well as topics like handling auditors, accruals and deferrals and stock sales.
SCORE Small Business Success Podcast
While this podcast covers the gamut of topics related to business, it does occasionally cover financial topics, like alternative financing or accounting.
The $100 MBA
If you’re looking for tips on bootstrapping your business, this podcast fits the bill. Delivered as 10-minute lessons chock full of useful tips, this podcast has covered financial topics like How Important Are Financial Goals and The Fundamentals of Finance.
Having the right accounting software is essential. You’ll use it to keep your expenses and revenues straight, as well as track how you’re doing with your budget. Here are some accounting software companies to consider.
It doesn’t get simpler than FreshBooks. With it, you can manage expenses, email invoices, accept payments and even track the time you spend on a given project. With the mobile app, you can take a picture of a receipt to load it as an expense. Plans start at $9.95 a month.
QuickBooks provides many of the same features as FreshBooks, as well as the ability to pay employees, sync to other financial apps and view detailed financial reports. Plans start at $7.99 a month (limited-time offer).
If you have inventory for your business, Xero may be what you’re looking for in accounting software. With it, you can track sales and inventory so you never run out, create purchase orders and send clients quotes. Plans start at $6.30 per user per month.
In need of some capital to launch your business or take it to the next level? Weigh all of these options carefully to determine which is the best financing option for your company.
The Small Business Administration offers several different loan programs for different needs. The 7(a) Loan Program is SBA’s most common loan program, but there are also microloans, loans for real estate and equipment, disaster loans and even grants to consider.
If you need a working capital loan to keep the cash flowing, consider Kabbage. Your loan can assist you in getting the money you need for a bulk order of inventory for the holidays, keep you afloat until your clients pay you or help you expand into new areas in your business.
Crowdfunding is becoming a popular choice for businesses who not only want an infusion of funds but also want to build a community around their brand. Kickstarter is one of several crowdfunding sites to consider. You don’t have to pay back the money you raise, although you may need to offer thank you gifts to your investors.
Looking for the latest news on business finances? Turn to blogs. There, you can find the most up-to-date news, tips and financial tools.
Covering all topics related to credit, the Business Credit Blog aims to educate business owners on financial topics. You can find articles on business credit cards, working out accounts payable terms and getting a DUNS number for your business.
Fuse Financial Partners
This is the blog of a financial advisory firm, and focuses on actionable advice for business owners. Recent topics include optimizing cash flow, small business fraud and raising venture capital.
If you’re a startup braving the world of venture capital, AVC is a must-read blog. It covers the gamut of topics, from appealing to angel investors and venture capitalists to general commentary on startups and technology.
If you get the lowdown on everything you need to run your business on Twitter, add these accounts to your must-follow list. They regularly tweet useful financial and money-related content.
Meant to appeal to small business owners, @AmexOPEN often shares financial content from its blog on Twitter.
Look for links to really useful content from @StartupNation on topics like improving your negotiation, getting repeat business and startup pitfalls to avoid.
Run by the Knowledge Institute for Small Business Development, @Knowledge_Inst covers topics on Twitter that relate to entrepreneurship, including implementing a company spending policy, financial numbers to track and more.
With so many financial resources and tools, you should have everything you need (and then some!) to stay on top of your financial planning for 2016. Share your favorite resources and tools with us in the comment section below.