The most important thing an interior design firm can do is superb design work, right? After all, you’re in the business for the purpose of creating stunning interiors and satisfied clients. It makes sense to focus your time and energy there. But, you’re running a business, too! While it’s important to focus on the creative aspects of your business, interior design firms should also prioritize accounting. Failing to do so can cause a lot of headaches for firms.
Poor Processes Mean Headaches
While things like tracking all of your expenses, no matter how trivial, might seem to be more of a chore than it’s worth, the truth is that these practices are part of a good accounting process. A bad process can lead to huge headaches for interior design firms. If you’re not tracking expenses efficiently, how will you know if you’re over-budget on a project until it’s too late? If you’re issuing invoices late or failing to track payments, you could end up seeing a whole lot of red on your bank statements or a lot of overdue invoices. Not doing the little things will cost you more time and money in the end.
Good Customer Service
While many interior design firms deliver excellent customer service to their clients, they’re mostly focused on the final product. Many firms don’t think about how important their accounting process is to their clients. A good process means you can keep your clients up to date on the costs of their project, take their payments on time, and issue invoices without delay. The better the process, the more likely you are to send out reports and bills that are error-free—including up-to-the-minute costs and correctly applied deposits and retainers. This is an integral part of the customer experience.
Your Business Can Thrive
Bookkeeping is, at its heart, an information science. Accounting provides vital information to interior design firms—information that they sometimes don’t even realize they need. Up-to-the-minute reporting can help you better track costs of materials and labour. Reports compiled over time can show you trends and patterns—where you’re spending too much, why projects go over-budget, and how you can spend money more effectively. Better yet, reports can give you insight into how you operate your business. Does the way you’re charging clients make sense? You might think it does, but your bookkeeper might show you another story unfolding in your ledger. You can also analyze how you’re spending your time: Are you wasting time on projects with little to no return? Keeping the books gives you metrics by which you can measure—and adjust—your interior design firm’s success.
No Excuses for Poor Practices
Keeping the books doesn’t need to be daunting. In fact, there’s plenty of software designed specifically for interior design firms that helps them not only with bookkeeping, but also with business and project management as a whole. With such powerful help available, there’s really no good excuse for your bookkeeping to fall by the wayside. In fact, it might be vital for your firm to access the information you need to continue on the path of success.