We really believe that Mother’s Day should extend for more than just one day a year. We prefer to call it Mother Days. Multiple days during the year when we honor the ones before us and the ones after us. Especially on days that are harder than others. We read this great story on CNN and thought it had a sweet and touching message.
So Happy Mother Days from all of us at My Finance Resource! We can’t think of a better way to celebrate than this. Spread your own random acts of kindness this week.
Today is International Women’s Day. I own my own consulting and bookkeeping firm with my partner, Donna, who is a citizen and resident of the Philippines. My partner and I celebrate our international diversity on a daily basis. We are successful as a company because we engage and appreciate our employees. Our employees on both continents are engaged and truly appreciate our clients. Donna and I go over and above to make our employees feel part of our work family.
Our firm works predominately with small business owners, many of which are woman-owned. Owning your own business is a 24/7 job that comes with new challenges every day. It is most difficult when you are just getting started because it can be very difficult to obtain funding from traditional loan sources at reasonable interest rates, especially as a woman business owner in another country. Being in the accounting and bookkeeping business, Donna and I are very conscious of challenges that women business owners face around the globe. It’s a passion of mine to be involved in making a difference wherever I can.
Small Businesses Challenges in US vs. Uganda
In 2018, the US Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy reports that there are 30.2 million small businesses in the US, which employ 58.9 million employees.
New business owners struggle with:
raising working capital
finding skilled, reliable employees
juggling the many roles required to manage the business
Woman own 4 out of every 10 businesses in the US, according to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report by American Express.
Now, consider what it’s like to be a small business owner in Uganda.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor ranked Uganda the world’s most entrepreneurial country in 2015, attributed to 400,000 young people entering the job market annually to compete for 9,000 new jobs.
Access to capital is considered the biggest barrier to growth.
In 2017, a report by Mastercard cited 34.8 % of businesses in Uganda are owned by women
How We Contribute
While it can be difficult in the US to get startup funding for a new business, it’s even harder in remote countries such as Uganda. Our firm supports the efforts of our local Thousand Oaks-based charity, The Greater Contribution, www.greatercontribution.org, co-founded by Karon Wright. The Greater Contribution is celebrating it’s 11th anniversary of empowering impoverished women through the power of over 12,000 micro loans. The focus of the charity is to provide a borrowers’ program with micro loans along with literacy and financial management courses to empower women to rise out of poverty.
I serve as a Board Member and Treasurer of The Greater Contribution. I have witnessed first-hand the difference the charity has made in a family’s life. Ugandan women that have graduated from the borrower’s program cite the ability to feed their children more than 1 meal a day. They are also excited to send their children to school. When we support women business owners in Uganda, the women lead their communities and their families out of poverty. Most initial loans are equivalent to $55 and are repaid within 3 months. Those funds are then loaned again in perpetuity to other women business owners because the program has a 97.8% repayment rate.
Let’s build a world where women are supportive of one another. This is a wonderful opportunity to change a family’s life. Won’t you join me today?
Photos are courtesy of The Greater Contribution.
Written By: Jaime Davison, CPA, CGMA
Jaime Davison is the President/CEO of My Finance Resource and My Bookkeeping Resource. She has been an CFO/advisor to many startup’s in healthcare, biotech, software, manufacturing and entertainment/media industries. Jaime has 20+ years of experience in finance as a CFO/Controller and managing accounting/bookkeeping for Solopreneurs to Fortune 500 companies. For more information on how My Finance Resource can help your with you business contact email@example.com
New clients typically ask how they can better manage cash. This is particularly important in a start-up environment when operational results are needed at a fast pace to validate the new business and secure additional customers and future funding. Below are a few suggestions that can have a significant impact on your business.
Often, business owners try to manage cash flow at the point of payment rather than the point of purchase. It is much easier to implement processes that approve purchases in advance. By controlling cash at the point of payment, you upset your vendors who delivered the goods or services on time and lose any leverage you may need for a quick turnaround time.
Create a list of approved vendors and negotiate the best pricing, quality and service
Require management approvals for goods and services purchased over a certain threshold
Request credit terms of 30 days at a minimum
Review cost/benefit of buying in bulk for discounts versus storage/spoilage costs
Challenge your Purchasing staff to be resourceful about vendor purchases without forcing them to act irresponsibly. For instance, there are plenty of viable, free conferencing services available today. Be mindful that the tone set makes it clear not to hurt the company in the process (i.e. skirting necessary software license fees).
ALWAYS perform a ROI analysis before making capital purchases. Sales people are in sales because they are excellent at convincing you there is an urgent need for their products.
Delay capital expenditures as long as possible to preserve cash
Consider buying used versus new equipment
The name of the game is collecting receivables as quickly as possible.
Offer incentives for speedy payment, such as a 2% discount for payment within 10 days
Accept credit cards! Merchant fees are a cost of doing business. Borrowing money to make payroll will cost you more than the fees of collecting from your customers quicker.
E-commerce companies have the potential to collect payment in advance of the service or product delivery
Hire someone to do collections on old receivables on a contingency basis
Invoice customers daily
Factor your receivables for cash today
Labor is one of the largest expenses of a company. You must be cautious to hire only as needed and not to get ahead of the incoming sales.
Offer new employees in key positions compensation packages that reward success. Base pay can be at the lower end of the scale if there is a high incentive for success.
Sales commissions and incentives should be carefully structured and reviewed by a professional – it is very difficult to dial back a system without limits once it is in place without upsetting and losing sales staff
Enact a travel and entertainment reimbursement policy to constrain and limit costs
Exclude employee purchases of goods/services from the reimbursement policy to avoid the ability to circumvent the Purchasing Approval Process
Contact vendors and offer to pay by credit card as your preferred method of payment. You can take advantage of the additional time to float cash and may be eligible for cash reward points that can lower your overall cash outlay. Be careful because some vendors will take away favorable terms due to an increased merchant processing fee. Consider which deal is better for your business. The next best methods of payment in priority order are ACH, Check, and wire due to processing fees for each of these services.
In summary, these are a few suggestions on how you can manage cash effectively. If you are ready to seek a bank loan or raise investment funds, seek professional help to prepare you in advance. You only get one chance to make a first impression. You’ll want your business in perfect order to obtain the best rates and/or attract the best investors.
Written By: Jaime Davison, CPA, CGMA
Jaime Davison is the President/CEO of My Finance Resource and has been an CFO/advisor to many startup’s in healthcare, biotech, software, manufacturing and entertainment/media industries. Jaime has 20+ years of experience in finance as a CFO/Controller and managing accounting/bookkeeping for Solopeneurs to Fortune 500 companies. For more information on how My Finance Resource can help your with you business contact firstname.lastname@example.org