Interstate and international travels for business-related activities such as meetings and conferences are a part of the daily operations of an entrepreneur, sometimes continuously for months. However, just because you are on the move doesn't mean your business, especially finance management, should come to a standstill. The day-to-day activities of your business heavily rely on its finances, and you would not want to be anxious about its financial situation while you are away. So, to help you stay on track, here are seven ways you can manage your business finances while traveling.
Imagine carrying binders of your business documents like budgets, cash forecast reports, balance sheets, and so on, everywhere you go! Apart from the extra luggage weight, you might end up leaving it around unattended (which is not safe, since no one should have access to that information) or leaving it behind in your hotel room. Technology has made keeping and sharing files so easy and convenient. Your financial reports can be kept in one place digitally, and you don't have to worry about carrying binders or losing your documents. When stored digitally, all your business documents can be backed up on the "cloud." So, if something unfortunate happens to your gadgets, your documents can still be accessed from one place. Going paperless means having the documents you need available, and easily accessible as and when you might need them. A quick email and you have all you need to keep track of the money transactions or to get a hold of a required document.
2. Use mobile payment options
A part of managing your business finances is making the necessary payments. Certain payments will need to be paid quickly. But what happens when you can't access a bank, or you are in another country? Then, it is good to have mobile payment options available for such times. An example of payments that have to be paid quickly and on time is the wages of your staff. While on the go, always make sure that you accurately calculate your staff's working hours, which usually depends on the number of hours they have worked The best way to calculate work hours is by using the recorded work hours and considering overtime hours. Mobile payment options should be available to your customers too. That's because having them make payments through these means is convenient for not just them, but you as well. You can easily trace transactions and ensure security. For example, where the money is sent directly to you, you can receive notification from your bank immediately. Most of these payment options have functional security systems, and so transactions are secure.
3.Use software programs
This is yet another way technology makes things easier. Many software programs can help you manage your business finances while you are away. Applications such as Xero, Quickbooks, TurboTax, and Freshbooks are smart investments to make. These programs make it easy for you to account for your finances with just the understanding of basic bookkeeping. They are easy to use, and as they are applications, you can use them anywhere- your books are with you everywhere. So, as you are on the road, waiting for your flight or on a long trip, you can remotely manage your business finance, for it to run smoothly in your absence.
4.Keep your business account separate from your personal account
It is good to keep in mind that the business is a separate legal entity. Therefore, having a separate business account from your personal one is an essential thing to do in any business. Your professional image, tax benefits, and business credit all depend on this separation. If there is no separation, you may miss out on opportunities to take advantage of tax deductions that apply to businesses, or you may have difficulties applying for business loans. You may also put your personal assets at risk in the event of a lawsuit. When you're away, this separation helps you keep track of the movement of money within the business. It prevents you from spending your business's cash on personal activities and items, not jeopardizing budgeted amounts or profits. It also prevents a clash in deciphering which account would incur a charge due to a loan or other credit options.
5. Keep travel costs at a minimum
Choosing affordable travel options is another great way to manage your business's finance. If the cost of accommodation, feeding, transportation, and other expenses from your travels are taken care of by the business, it would be advisable always to seek affordable options. You might want to stay in that fancy 5-star hotel or travel first class, but you must bear in mind what these costs would do to your business's finance. I've looked into the options of airbnb at times when it's a more economical decision. And sometimes it's more comfortable as well. Even by turning down long-distance meetings or events that you think are unimportant, you have helped keep your business's finances intact. In such cases, online platforms like Zoom and Google Meeting can be used instead.
6. Follow the money
Not being physically present to see the actual transactions take place does not mean you should not know about them. While on trips, you should cultivate the habit of tracking the outflow and inflow of cash in your business, as well as checking the profits or expenditure. To be able to do this, you must have plans put in place like a budget. Whether done at the beginning of every year or every month, creating a budget and cash flow forecasts are great ways to help you plan. Both are great tools that give you an idea of the expenses and revenue the business will most likely make during a time. You can view the two documents as a GPS for you to track the movements of the business' money. By following the money, you can make decisions ahead of time and advise your staff on what to do - preparing them for an event that is yet to come. This would help your business run smoothly in your absence and prevent making hasty decisions that would affect your business, or that you would not be pleased were made.
7.Seek professional advice
Although there are other ways to keep up with your bookkeeping, you may not do a good job as compared to a professional, and those programs do not replace the need for one. So, bringing a professional accountant or financial advisor is a smart move to help you manage your business finances when you are away. A professional would perform in a more efficient and organized manner, and you won't always have to follow the money, to keep up when you are away. You can have some powers delegated to them, such as the payments of bills and keeping records. After they have made the necessary analysis and evaluations, they simply report to you and advise you on the best decisions to take. Also, as you are away, there might be particular financial deadlines that you would be unable to do due to time, etc. Your professional accountant or financial advisor can help you with that. For example, your accountant can file and pay your taxes on time on your behalf. Also, your financial advisor can, if necessary, apply for a loan on your behalf.
So, before you go on your next business trip, be sure to consider these seven smart finance management tips. It will be useful to have one, but preferably all, these seven smart ways of managing your business finances. They will help you keep your business running smoothly and securely, without relying on your presence