Small City, Small Business Financial Challenges

We live in a small community; not as small as the tiniest town in the U.S. (Buford, WY), but “small” as in you see someone you know almost everywhere you go (our population clocks in with a city population of around 37,000, not including rural areas). This makes Southern Oregon a great place to live and work. However, in the accounting world, being smaller has disadvantages when it comes to operating a small business, too.

Our area has a lot of options for small businesses to get their taxes done. We even have businesses that help with your bookkeeping. However, there is a huge gap between bookkeeping and taxes. I call this gap “The Missing Piece” for small businesses. Larger businesses have CFO’s, Controllers, and other accounting personnel to handle all of these functions. Small businesses often operate with a bookkeeper to input information into an accounting database, so that the information can be tracked and later taxes can be done (or they may do some or all of this themselves). However, the “gap” becomes very clear when I sit down with small business owners and talk about their goals and ask them questions about their balance sheet and their profit and loss statement. (My favorite response is a gaping mouth and a blank stare.)

This “Gap” in the process is also often the sign of a “Gap” in understanding how your business is operating financially; an understanding of your profitability, assets, liabilities, and the equity in your company—all of which is vital. Especially when you are trying to grow your business. You need to have, and on some level, understand,this information to be able to measure the success of your business growth.

I meet with business owners regularly who need help in making business decisions and are seeking guidance in understanding their financial picture (hint, their bookkeeper is not “that person,” nor is their tax accountant). As a business owner you owe it to yourself to find “that person,” who will help you drive your business to success. “That person” will help you create goals, look at your financial picture, make recommendations, and then leaves you in control to drive the decision-making process.