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Financial basics for your business

Posted 2 years ago in Small business by Shimmie Totty
Posted by Shimmie Totty

Financial literacy is important for everyone but it’s essential if you’re in business.

Most businesses fail due to lack of cash, not profits

One definition of financial literacy is “The ability to make informed judgements and decisions regarding the use and management of money”.

For business, it is understanding where your money is coming from and where it is going. It’s also knowing how to use this information to make informed decisions, resulting in better outcomes. 

So, it’s crucial you understand your cash flow and keep an eye on it every day.

Our purpose at Xero is to help make life better for people in business. So I want to highlight three tips for new business owners.

Bank reconciliation

A bank reconciliation ensures all your bank transactions are recorded and categorised in your business’ accounting system. 

If performed daily, or at least weekly, you’ll have an accurate and timely view of your cash position. It also tells you how your money is being earned and spent. 

You can quickly gauge whether you can afford to pay your bills and employees. You can also produce financial reports to see what products and services are most profitable as well as what expenses need to be reigned in.


Set yourself financial goals for the business and write them down. Once you understand the ins and outs of your business, you can use this as a basis to build your budget. 

You can compare your actuals with your budget to help stay on track, and also make adjustments if your circumstances change. For example, you could shop around at different suppliers to see who has deals or offer discounts to cut down on costs.

It’s a useful tool to keep your business moving forward and help with making informed decisions.

Profit or loss

A key report for businesses is the Profit and Loss statement also referred to as an Income Statement.

The Profit and Loss statement shows how the business has performed during a certain timeframe it takes all your income and expenses and summarises them to give you either a profit or a loss figure for the period.

Run this report monthly to keep an eye on how well your business is doing. You can also compare it with previous periods to see how you’re tracking. You can make it even more useful by comparing it with your budgeted figures.


Toby York ACA
September 26, 2020 at 9.06 pm

Thanks for this Shimmie. I agree with all your pointers.

I also think that there’s an under-appreciated aspect of “financial literacy” which is best described as “accounting literacy”. Accounting literacy is the ability to clearly understand and communicate financial situations and events: to tell a financial story and make decisions.

For too long accounting has been considered a functional skill, but it is so much more than that. Let’s stop being apologetic about accounting and start promoting the benefits of “accounting literacy”.

A good place to find out more is from this new non-profit organisation: https://www.accountingliteracy.org/.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Toby York ACA Xero
September 29, 2020 at 12.39 pm

Thanks Toby, we completely agree that financial and accounting literacy, and its benefits, should be promoted more!

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