Taking care of the finances – resources and solutions

I often speak about the golden triangle in business. This is the simple triangle that helps to keep your head and your business in order. It goes like this; try to spend equal amounts of your time on three things – business development, customer care and admin – if you spend roughly a third of your time on each, the business will balance.

There will though be a corner of the triangle you don’t enjoy. If you’re like me, it’s ‘admin’ – the canny corner that involves distributing invoices, monitoring cashflow and generally keeping the books in order. The good news is, there’s help at hand for each corner of the triangle, including support with your admin and accounts.

A number of online services have come to market, particularly aimed at the freelance community. They include Free Agent Central which, in a review of online invoice applications by our freelance technology editor, San Sharma, was described as “more than an invoicing app – it’s the closest thing to a virtual accountant that I’ve ever seen and, far from those services on my original list, it’s British! That means it’s easy to report Sales Tax, VAT, business and personal taxes.”

Other options for online invoicing include Freshbooks , Simply Invoices [www.simplyinvoices.com] and Cashboard with more comprehensive accountancy products such as Intuit’s Quickbooks also available.

To receive an even deeper level of support as a freelancer, you can register with an umbrella company. This essentially outsources all of your admin with tasks like invoicing, collecting payment and paying taxes taken care of by the umbrella business. You have your own clients and continue to enjoy the benefits of being self-employed, whilst your status changes to an employee, with someone else taking care of the support required. Companies such as Kingston UK and Brookson are leaders in this field.

Central to the services offered by all of these support businesses is that they take care of the money, so you can spend more time generating it. Which has got to be good news!

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About the Author: Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of Spare Room Start Up: How to Start a Business from Home

Emma Jones

Emma Jones is Founder and Editor of Enterprise Nation, the home business website. She has successfully started two businesses from home offices in London, Manchester and rural Shropshire. Following a career with an international accountancy firm, Emma started her first home based business at the age of 27 and successfully sold it just 15 months after launch. Redbrick Enterprises Ltd was founded in 2002 to advise the public sector on effective homeworking. Spotting a gap in the market to provide information and inspiration to homeworkers, Emma launched Enterprise Nation [www.enterprisenation.com], the home business website, in January 2006. The website is a free resource for people starting and growing a business at home and has a readership of more than 390,000 people. As well as site content, there is also a free fortnightly e-newsletter and podcast. Emma’s first book on how to start a business from home Spare Room Start Up: How to Start a Business from Home will be published by Harriman House in May 2008.

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