How often do you really think about your Accounting for your Design Business?
We recently had the super lovely and efficient Chrissie Elgar pop into our November Brunch Event. Chrissie shared her expertise thoughts on how to get and stay ahead of your Office and Business Accounting Admin. We sat down with her and got to know more about what makes her so good at what she does!
Read below to find out more about why its important not to deprioritise your business accounting.
With your background in finance and project management, how did you make the career change into accounts and admin support?
I’d worked for many years for large corporates in various finance-related roles & realised that, although I was working in great teams, the scope & context of the work was too broad & I didn’t see enough of the end result & how it impacted people. It was time to combine my skills in a different way, to provide technical & organisational help to individuals, & to be involved from beginning to end.
So, how did you and Siobhan Casey link up?
I came into contact with Siobhan via the Athena networking group. She & I had a conversation about how to streamline the accounting process for her business & how a good accounting software system might help.
Many small business look at their financial health with a feeling of confusion and fear – what is your No. 1 tip to take control, gain a better understanding and help make one’s finances a breeze?
Make the numbers work for you: accurate business finances provide a great insight into what’s working & what needs attention. Put a system in place – either one that you can use yourself or can easily outsource – & make sure that it gives you the day-to-day information that you need to run your business & also the detail that keeps your accountant happy.
How important do you feel it is to implement an Accountancy software (no matter what), vs the tried and tested Excel sheets ?
The right accounting software takes away a lot of the tedious inputting, allows you to analyse business performance in a way that suits you, & reduces the year end work for your accountant (& hopefully the fees!)
What are three things you would suggest to an Interior Designer, that they need to have before starting their own business?
- Be clear about the specifics of your offering & how you differ from your competitors
- Nail down your pricing policy & be consistent
- Make sure you understand the industry norms for margins, discounts etc.
Any advice for our future designer entrepreneurs out there on how you “juggle it all”?
Manage your own expectations! There’s nothing worse than setting yourself up to feel that you haven’t achieved enough. When in fact you’ve simply been unrealistic about what can be done in the time available.
What is something you have worked into your daily routine that our members might benefit from?
I always spend the first 20 minutes putting together my To Do list for the day; each item is either G (Got to be done) or T (if there’s Time). I usually have draft lists for a few days ahead so there aren’t too many Gs in one day & I always try to do at least one T a day (!) At the end of the day I always clear my desk &, if I’m going to see a client the following day, I prepare all the information I need to take with me – I hate coming into the office to a messy desk & I don’t like rushing around at the last minute pulling things together for a meeting (I always forget something!)
What do you feel is the most common mistake that many small businesses make without realising it?
Lack of planning. It may feel like a waste of time to be planning when you could be putting all your efforts into ‘doing’ but discussing & writing up a plan focuses the mind. It doesn’t have to be fantastically detailed. By just having a basic outline of how you want the business to operate, will help keep things on track.
How do you decide what tasks to take on yourself and what to delegate?
A friend who is also an executive coach once told me ‘Do what only you can do’. I think this is a really useful way of looking at delegation. There will probably be many tasks in the business that several people could do &, if you don’t have the time/inclination, it is best to outsource these; on the other hand, there will definitely be things that only you can do, & these are what you need to focus on.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve never cooked a roast dinner!
What has been a career high for you?
Being able to combine my finance & language skills & getting some lovely work gigs in Switzerland, Italy & the Loire Valley!
What type of people do you love to work with as clients?
People who are clear about what they want, when they want it & are open to the various options to getting there.
If our readers have any more questions for you, how can they get a hold of you?
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org & my number is 07734 956066.
For those who weren’t able to claim a spot in this month’s Brunch Event, what is one take-away from the session they can benefit from?
Don’t be afraid of the numbers – or accountants, come to that. Both can be REALLY helpful!
Watch this space to get to know more about our lovely Guest Speakers and insider tips into the Interior Design industry.
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