How to stay on top of your finances

Put your accounts in order

It's easy to get swept away by the exhilaration when your business is growing, but there's no more crucial time to stay on top of your finances than in those thrilling moments. With growth, you're at risk of unexpected cashflow pressures, staffing issues and supply shortfalls. It takes a close eye on your accounts to stop this hampering your business's development.

Bring your accounts in house and improve your system as you expand. If you take on new costs or unlock new revenue, this should instantly be reflected in a revolutionised set of accounts. Otherwise, you'll keep adding single figures to an outdated system and invest far too much time in tracking your finances.

Plan for the future

It's impossible to know exactly what's going to hit your business a year down the line, and that's why having time relevant accounts is vital. On a weekly basis, you should know exactly what your money is doing and when it should be on the move. But when you look forward, into monthly and yearly planning, not every transaction can be such meticulously planned.

You can know when you want invoices filled by, but not when customers will actually pay. You can know the position you want to be in a year from now, and the one you would settle for, but not where you'll actually end up. Use these plans to stay on top of where your finances should and could be down the line, and then update them with exact dates and figures when you draw closer.

Get a bank that talks to you

Small businesses have to handle a huge amount of transactions moving money in and out of their accounts. Long term planning can help you expect the regular payments, but when you're hit by sudden changes, it's great to have someone else there, keeping an eye on your balances.

NatWest Online Business Bank Customers can take advantage of free email and mobile phone Business Alerts which keep you up to date with any regular or unexpected activity for your business. If money goes in or comes out, they'll let you know.

There's great flexibility in it as you set the upper and lower limits for when you should be notified while you will always be told if a payment would incur penalty charges. It's perfect for staying on top of your finances and avoiding any unnecessary costs, but brilliant for security too as they'll keep you informed if there's been any change to your personal details.

And, of course, there's the other big benefit of a bank that offers your business much more, NatWest's app. The technology allows you easy and quick access to manage your finances any time during the day or night.

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