You’re a busy professional running a successful interior design firm—or maybe you’re just getting your dream business up and running. Either way, you’ve got a lot on your plate, even without factoring in keeping the books. With so many things to juggle, a bad accounting process can mean late payments, missed invoices, and inaccurate statements—things that can cause you additional headaches. How can you improve to ensure everything runs smoothly? Here are a few tips to help you whip your accounting process into shape.
Don’t Go It Alone
One mistake that interior designers make is thinking that they have to keep the books themselves. Not only does this add another task to their often too-full plate, it puts pressure on them to do something they may not be good at and takes time away from the rest of their business. Alternatively, if you happen to get busy or need to hustle to meet a deadline, your bookkeeping might fall by the wayside—which can mean missed payments, unsent invoices, and other disasters. Here’s the good news: You don’t need to go it alone. You can contract a freelance bookkeeper part time to help you keep on top of the financial health of your business.
Technology Is Your Friend
Don’t ignoring technology! While plenty of businesses have been good about hopping on the social media train and most interior designers have their own websites, some resist using accounting software. In some cases, this is because they simply don’t know what to choose. In other cases, they’ve been using generic programs that don’t suit their needs as an interior design firm.
There’s plenty of specialized interior design accounting software, though, which can help you manage your business more effectively by running real-time reports that go beyond “just the numbers.” Better yet, cloud computing gives you access to project information you need anytime, anywhere.
Interior design firms that understand the basics of bookkeeping have a serious advantage, even if they don’t do the accounts themselves. By learning about bookkeeping, you can engage your bookkeeper in a more serious conversation—and not just take their word for it. When you understand what your bookkeeper is telling you, you can call out mistakes—and figure out where you need to make improvements.
Make Sure Your Bookkeeper Understands You
Just like you need to understand your bookkeeper and what they do, you need to make sure your bookkeeper understands precisely what you do and what information is important to you. Many bookkeepers will ask you to switch over to generic software like QuickBooks simply because they don’t understand that specialized interior design software offers you additional information—information that is often crucial to making decisions about the business and day-to-day operations.
Review Your Procedure
First things first: Review your current accounting procedure. What’s working for you? What’s not working—and why? If you have staff or work with other team members, survey them for their opinions on the current procedure. You might find that there’s a problem everyone’s experiencing, or you might hear about different issues and solutions you haven’t encountered. Once you’ve reviewed your procedure, determine the issues that must change; separate these from the “would be nice” to fix issues. Now you’re ready to look into solutions to those issues.
Up-to-date and accurate reporting are crucial for any business, and that holds true for interior design firms. You need to know more than just the bottom line on a project; you need real-time information on accounts receivable, accounts payable, and your overhead expenses. If you don’t have that information, it becomes a lot harder to make smart business decisions. Make sure you’re getting accurate, real-time reports by using specialized software.