How To Actually Enjoy Doing Your Business Finances: An Expert’s Advice

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In my experience, nothing truly shines a light on how you feel about and interact with money as much as owning a business does. When you’re an entrepreneur, your business mirrors back to you every financial habit and assumption you’ve ever had and, without the safety net of a regular pay check and employee benefits, thrusts you into a world where financial responsibility rests squarely on your shoulders.

With countless tasks to juggle and multiple roles to assume simultaneously, it’s all too easy to let financial matters slide until a pressing need—like filing taxes—forces you to confront them. Yet, as award-winning accountant Rachel Harris knows and continues to campaign for through her personal finance brand, @accountant_she, neglecting your financial wellbeing can have a profound impact on both your mental health and your business’s success, stripping away the creativity and curiosity that led you to set up your own business in the first place.

“I’ve seen so many business owners who run successful, incredible businesses be absolutely crippled with financial anxiety,” Rachel comments. “Some people bury their heads in the sand, others overspend and others are frozen with fear. [That’s why] the transformation that financial wellbeing can have is so powerful.”

Growing up as a young carer for her twin sister and in a family where money was tight, Rachel knows first hand how difficult financial realities can shape you.

“I come from a family full of love, but not full of money. I was a free school meal child, wore charity shop clothes and my mum would walk us around [the supermarket] doing the food shop with a calculator in her hands, knowing to the penny how much we could spend on food for the week,” she recalls. “Having access to financial education through training to be an accountant and working with business owners has literally changed my life. It has changed my view of the world, my perspective of what a young woman who loves math can achieve and it’s changed my approach to nearly everything.”

Rachel’s journey to becoming an accountant certainly wasn’t conventional. Instead of attending university, she cared for her disabled sister, embarking on a business administration apprenticeship by day and studying for her Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualifications by night. It was whilst completing her training at a top 75 accountancy practice in Oxford that she became increasingly disillusioned with the lack of support provided to clients and the overwhelming corporate culture that prioritized profits over people.

Fuelled by this frustration, she pursued an MBA so that she could finally start her own practice, striveX, with her husband James in 2020. It was during this period, amongst lockdowns and working full time, that she also set up the instagram account @accountant_she (a play on the word Accountancy), creating fun and educational content on business finance and accounting. At the time of writing, striveX has since expanded from a one-person operation serving 50 clients to a team of 12 managing over 800 clients, they’ve opened a second branch in the north of the UK and @accountant_she has become a brand in itself, reaching over 90,000 people across platforms. In both her business endeavors and her roles as a director and trustee of AAT, as well as a mentor and bursary trustee for aspiring accountants, Rachel’s message and mission is clear and consistent: business finances don’t have to be terrifying and you are not alone.

“I’m a disrupter in the accounting industry. I’m disrupting what it means to be an accountant, what it feels like to have an accountant and disrupting the concept that you can’t scale a business to seven figures without losing yourself,” she explains.

Of course, in order to achieve this, financial wellbeing practices are fundamental to Rachel’s own business and personal life and cultivating a mindset that reflects her goals has been paramount to her success so far. “Money is an amplifier of who you are,” she agrees. “I’m a great person, doing brilliant things in the world – personally and professionally for my industry and for women. Money gives me opportunities to extend who I am as a person.”

This concept is one that, theoretically, can seem appealing and obvious, but practically, can be overwhelming – particularly if running your own business is the first time you’ve had to get into the minutiae of finance. In fact, a 2023 study from Simply Business has revealed that 56% of small business owners in the UK have experienced poor mental health over the past 12 months and according to Tide’s new Female Business Owners UK Index, 37% of respondents said they struggle to manage cashflow.

Rachel agrees. “I specialize in tackling the way people feel about their finances, which seems to be the piece that lots of other accountants seem to miss.

“We all become self-employed to make money (in some way or another) but so many of us don’t tackle the piece that connects our wellbeing and emotions to money. By teaching sessions like financial wellbeing and mindful forecasting, I’m able to provide people with clarity on big topics whilst also reminding them that they come first,” she says. “It’s person centered, holistic finance, delivered in a way that makes people grow in confidence which ultimately, grows their business.”

In Rachel’s experience, the best way to build financial emotional resilience is to repeat certain helpful tasks over and over again. “It’s a muscle we need to build and use to maintain.”

Here are her top tips.

Start by defining your priorities

Injecting a simple yet impactful exercise into your financial planning routine can work wonders. Rachel likes to use the Wheel of Life with clients, which is a handy visual tool that lets you check in on different life areas like health, relationships, and work-life balance. By taking stock of these aspects upfront, you can make sure your financial strategies are in sync with your broader life goals. This way, your business plans don’t just chase profits but also contribute to your overall happiness and fulfillment. Because, as Rachel says, “there’s no point planning a huge business [strategy] to triple their income for the coming year if fundamentally they are burnt out or desperately craving more time with their family. Instead, we could target them to make the same amount of income as last year, but by doing less.”

Manage your time

Prioritize your financial wellbeing by setting aside dedicated time. Block out at least 90 minutes for your initial financial deep dive, allowing yourself the opportunity to comprehensively assess your current situation. From there, schedule 30-minute sessions each month to maintain and refine your financial routine – consistency is key here and will ensure you keep on top of your financial health.

Financial tasks to keep on top of weekly

The best way to feel organized, Rachel says, is to stay on top of your accounting on a weekly basis. Begin by regularly checking your bank balance and the connection to your accountancy software so that you can monitor incoming and outgoing funds, then check that the records in your bank account match those in your accounting so that you can identify any discrepancies. She also suggests sending invoices quickly and inputting expenses and bills as and when they come up. If you can, use the cash flow forecasting tools available in your software to anticipate and manage any business income fluctuations effectively and finally, maintain meticulous records by uploading copies of your invoices and receipts as soon as you can after receiving them.

Financial tasks to keep on top of monthly

Rachel advises dedicating time each month to handle key financial tasks vital for your business’s success. Begin by ensuring that your staff payroll records are kept up to date and that payroll processing runs smoothly. Next, dive into your profit and loss statement, meticulously analyzing your annual and ongoing turnover while setting aside funds for taxes. Take a moment to compare your margins and expenses to previous months and your budget projections, giving you a clear picture of your financial trajectory. Remember to prioritize your own financial well-being by paying yourself appropriately. Additionally, conduct a comprehensive review of your balance sheet, including your director’s loan account and any outstanding taxes owed to HMRC. This ensures your business remains compliant and financially stable, setting you on the path to long-term success.

Bonus financial activities to boost your wellbeing

If you’re finding it easier to keep on top of your weekly and monthly financial tasks, Rachel recommends improving your financial management practices even further with simple yet effective tasks that boost efficiency and forward thinking. Start by regularly reviewing your expenses and direct debits to ensure they’re in line with your business goals, helping you make smarter financial decisions. Keep track of upcoming payments and renewals to avoid missing deadlines and seize opportunities to save money. Take a proactive approach to saving by setting aside a portion of your earnings each month for anticipated yearly expenses, helping you avoid financial stress during busy periods.

Lastly, make sure your business runs smoothly by planning ahead for the replacement of essential assets. By incorporating these easy-to-implement tasks into your financial routine, you’ll strengthen your financial foundation and set the stage for steady growth.

“To me, financial wellbeing (much like our physical or mental wellbeing) is not somewhere you arrive, but a state,” Rachel concludes. “A state of feeling comfortable, confident and happy with your finances. It doesn’t mean you have millions in the bank, nor does it mean you have a perfect money mindset, but it’s an improvement to the way you feel about [money].”

You can find out more about becoming a client of StriveX or booking a 1:1 strategy call with Rachel here, or you can join her financial wellbeing membership here.


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