In the fast-paced world of franchising, success often hinges on more than just offering a great product or service. As a franchisee, I've learned that I'm not just a specialist in the product or service offered... I'm also a business owner, and that means wearing many hats! One of the most crucial but frequently overlooked aspects of running a franchise is financial management. In this podcast episode, I had the privilege of sitting down with Jill Shaver, the CEO, and owner of Solutions by Shaver, a bookkeeping and accounting firm that specializes in helping small business owners navigate the financial complexities of their operations. Together, we discussed the common missteps and obstacles that business owners face, the importance of understanding our numbers, and how to choose the right bookkeeper to guide us on our financial journey.
One of the first misconceptions Jill and I tackled was the belief that business owners can handle their bookkeeping and accounting entirely on their own. While tools like QuickBooks have made transactional-level accounting more accessible, understanding the broader financial landscape and having the expertise to make strategic decisions is invaluable. Jill emphasized that just as she couldn't perform my job as a franchisee, I often found myself out of my depth when trying to manage my financial affairs without professional guidance. It pays off to bring in experts to support your success!
The Critical Role of Cash Flow
Jill and I agreed that cash flow is one of the trickiest challenges for business owners to manage. Personal finance involves relatively predictable income and expenses, but in business, it's often far more complex. I've had to grapple with variable income sources, uncertain payment schedules, and fixed costs that don't wait for my customers to pay their invoices. This is where a skilled bookkeeper or accountant can make a significant difference.
Choosing the Right Bookkeeper
During our conversation, I was keen on discovering what the right questions are to ask during an initial meeting with a new or prospective bookkeeper. This helps to ensure their accounting practice is the "right one" for the needs of the business now and as it grows. I learned that inquiring about the scope of work they offer and how often they're willing to meet with me as a client was essential. Be sure to listen to the full episode to catch all the suggested questions. A bookkeeper should not only help manage finances but also provide clear communication and insights to understand the numbers!
The Role of a Bookkeeper in Financial Analysis
Jill offered insights into her approach to working with clients, and I was fascinated by her perspective. She emphasized the importance of a thorough discovery period, where she learns every detail about a client's business. This includes understanding their current financial practices and figuring out how to transition them to a more effective system. In many cases, Jill effectively becomes a fractional CFO for her clients, helping them analyze the numbers to make informed decisions about investments, marketing, and more. Again be sure to thoroughly discuss expectations and offerings as not all accountants offer the same client care and guidance.
Don't Be an Ostrich: Confront Your Finances
Our conversation concluded with a discussion about business owners who avoid facing their financial realities due to fear or intimidation. Jill and I stressed that knowledge is power, and understanding your financial position, whether positive or negative, is essential for making informed decisions. Jill recommended working with someone you are comfortable with, who can not only deliver hard truths but also celebrate successes.
In the world of franchising, financial acumen can be the difference between stagnation and success. My conversation with Jill Shaver offered valuable insights into the challenges business owners face and how a skilled bookkeeper can guide us all toward profitability and growth. If you're a franchisee looking to master your finances and achieve infinite success, don't shy away from the numbers – embrace them with the help of a trusted financial partner.