Archive for

How to Manage Your Finances and Get Out of Debt

What are the facts of your current financial situation? Do you have access to information about your income and expenditure, your asset and liabilities? You surely have an idea of how much you earn on a monthly or weekly basis but can you trace where it all goes? Can you calculate your net worth? Ignorance of your financial situation is no joke it is sleepless nights, it is working harder for every penny instead of letting your money work for you, it is anxiety and stress and the list goes on. You must gain control of your money!

I recall that, gaining control of my cash flow was harder than learning how to how to speak in public! At a time, I was making a five figures salary as a software engineer of a medium size IT Company and yet my personal finance was a mess! I had about three credit cards that I was seriously struggling to repay. I also had two personal accounts with two clothing shops and a bond. With every raise and bonus, my spending almost doubled! I was using more than 40% of my income to buy things I did not need. It took me a while to realize that, my financial situation depended on how much I saved and definitely not on how much I earned!

As long as you consume every cent you earn, you are caught up in a self-created trap. You must take action to reduce your expenditure and start saving. Financial freedom requires you to define your purpose.

How do you manage your finances?

Inventories: Get a note book and list all your assets, income, liabilities and expenses. Keep it up to date on a monthly or (preferably) weekly basis.

Review your expenses: Cut your expenditure by 10% for the first 2-3 months and stick to it. I know it will be very hard at first but do not give up. When you get comfortable with the current situation, add another 10% and keep doing it thereafter every 2-3 months. If you are serious about your finance, by the end of the a 12 month period, you would have cut your expenses by at least 30%!

Start saving: Save a portion of every penny you make. Begin with 1% and increase it by another percent every month for a year. Yes, you’ve guessed it right, by the end of the 12 months, you will be saving about 12% of your main income. Now add the 2-3 months living expenses (above) to build a cash reserve. Do not let expenditure rise with income. For every salary increase or end of year bonus, set an automatic transfer to your savings account.

Get out of debt: Pay off debt with the highest interest rate first (credit cards etc…) and maintain minimum payment on everything else first. Seek professional help if you have to. Make sure you only keep one credit card (strictly for emergency use).

Invest wisely: Once you are in financial control and debt free with cash reserve, you can start thinking of investing in the stock market or unit trusts. Read more about it on my site.

Small Business Savior: Online Invoicing and Accounting Solution

Invoices, tasks, more invoices, tasks, estimate requests, still more invoices. All this paperwork can surely clutter a desk quickly, and the lack of organization makes it hard to prioritize tasks. There has to be a better way.

There is. There are online invoicing solutions and cloud accounting apps that claim to help us manage all our business finances in one place. Perfect for the small business environment, yet they claim to understand the problems that many small business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs face, and claim to strive to make the best user experiences possible.

What’s great about such online accounting solutions is that they are so simple and easy to use, that you don’t need to be a computer genius to reap the benefits. They usually can be accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection, and other than having a web browser, there are no additional technical specs needed. Some are even available on mobile devices, which is perfect for the traveling entrepreneur. Usually everything in your accounts is searchable, using lightning fast search tools, giving you instant access to all of your data whenever you need it.

In some of the online invoicing solutions account holders can add team members as necessary to handle different areas like tasks and invoices. Sections are controllable with user permissions set by the account holder, and each user will have access to only the areas necessary. Usually the financial information is kept safe and secure. A secure website’s URL should begin with “https” rather than “http”. The “s” at the end of “http” stands for secure and is using an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection. Your information will be encrypted before being sent to a server. Another sign to look for is the “Lock” icon that is displayed somewhere in the window of your web browser. Different browsers may position the lock in different places.

The user-friendly dashboards offer all of your important information right in a centralized location. You and your team can see all your active tasks, keep track of your invoices and expenses, and your recent activity is readily available. The simple menu bars list useful sections, and with one click you’re on your way to even more functionality. Every invoice and estimate has section that can be edited and suited to fit each task, or you can opt to copy a previous invoice. With such online invoicing solutions you can track all business expenses, and conveniently invoice clients for those expenses right away.

A great business has repeat clientele. With really good online accounting solutions, all of your regular customers are manageable from the client screen, where you can provide estimates, set up recurring invoices, and create new tasks. Email notifications usually can be set or modified using simple email templates for new or late invoices and estimates. The ability to import your client list from QuickBooks or any other existing software or even an address book, eliminates the need to enter client data individually. Also some online invoicing solutions lets you change the name “Task” to suit your business: “case” for lawyers, “event” for caterer, etc. Usually very select solutions can be personalized to fit your business style, add your logo to your invoices, estimates and your team and client screens.

Another great feature to look for is to having instant access to all your cloud accounting reports. Profit and Loss statements, Expense Reports, and Payments Collected reports should be easily available to make your business operations smoother. Similar to the Task naming feature, in select online invoicing solutions, you can customize the “reports” name to better suit your business’s needs.

The online payment collection option makes sure you get paid even faster than usual, as clients can conveniently pay invoices online. Many such online solutions let you also enter manual payments, and keep track of all your financials without the need of a third party accountant.

All this sounds expensive, but that’s the best part online services. Some can be pretty expensive and complex to use but some are completely cost-effective for your business, and by saving your team time and money, the return on investment is enormous. There are even free plans that you can sign up in just seconds without a credit card.

These online invoicing solutions also offer free trials, and after that period you can choose the desired plan to continue service. Also, in some online invoicing solutions, account holders have the possibility of making money with the integrated “Refer” feature.

It may not be so much confidence as it is empathy. Online invoicing solution providers understand small businesses, and that’s why they’re here to help!