How to master money management
An entreprener sends an SOS on a common startup problem: keeping track of his business's cash flow.
(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Dear FSB: My brother and I started a company manufacturing stickers for action-sports athletes and companies. Now we're having problems managing our money. As young entrepreneurs, we do not have a payroll or take a salary for ourselves, and we have a hard time keeping track of our money on a daily basis. Any advice?
-- Mike Novia, Newton, Conn.
Dear Mike: Managing finances is always a time-consuming chore for small business owners. If you are not yet ready to hire someone to manage your finances, purchase a software solution.
Penney Morey, managing director of Remarkable HR, a consulting firm in Boca Raton, Fla., suggests investing in user-friendly QuickBooks Pro (retail price $199) from Intuit (INTU). The software will track payroll, inventory, sales and customer payments. It takes a month or so to set up and learn the software's full capabilities, but QuickBooks offers 30 days of free customer support responses to questions submitted through its website.
When you are ready to tackle payroll, benefits and HR administration for a larger staff, an alternative to doing it yourself is outsourcing, either to an Administrative Service Organization (ASO) or a Professional Employer Organization (PEO).
Basically, an ASO handles payroll, administrative services, minimal HR and tax accounting for your company, but all taxes will be filed under your company's account numbers. While an ASO will guide you, all liabilities are ultimately your company's responsibility.
A PEO, on the other hand, offers the same services as an ASO, but will act as your co-employer. They handle the tax and legal responsibilities and the HR paperwork, allowing you to focus on running the company.