Listen up women.  You started your company from your kitchen as a side hustle then grew it enough to quit that job where you your boss, George, thought it was endearing to call you “sweetie”.  You did it all: instagram posts, client work, networking events, and of course the books. But now you’re a rockstar and juggling 10 projects! You hired Beth to do your social, John to expertly work with clients, and you’re still staying up to 11 cross-eyed wondering what your CPA is talking about.  Your books are a mess. So here’s the scoop:

1. You’re not a financial expert

While anyone can post on Instagram, there are people that really know how to make an engaging account.  You can throw up a website yourself with Squarespace but a good designer will make you a better one that gets you conversions. Same goes for your day to day finances.  You can do your best but I’m telling you now that after doing this for 15 years, not one business owner has done their books correctly. A CPA’s expertise is tax law, a CFO’s expertise is proper management of your finances.  Hire the expert.

2. Uncle Sam

Taxes.  If you have a business, the government considers it your responsibility to keep proper books.  Not knowing something - even esoteric - is not an excuse. While your risk of being audited might be low and you might be dancing on your bed making it rain with Franklins - you might also be wasting money or unknowingly unprofitable.  You can get quite a surprise from your CPA when they give you the final numbers. And worse, you might be paying more in taxes because you didn’t provide accurate numbers to them.

3. Your job is to look forward

As a business owner, your job is to create, expand, grow, and be a fountain of ideas.  This is a very forward, future-facing endeavor. Bookkeeping and accounting analysis is mostly (with the exception of forecasting) is looking backwards a bit.  The owner should be saying, “I want to spend 10K of Facebook ads!” while the CFO looks and says “OK, you can have $5K”. You are going to either spend money you don’t have because or you won’t spend any because you’re erring on the side of too much caution - and missing out on new sales.  You need a team member that can provide some checks and balances so you grow the company with wise financial decisions.

4. API

Not the latest food craze (although let me know the next one because I’ll probably jump on it) but actually the language that two cloud-based apps use to talk to each other.  Not all APIs are made equal and more than not will cause an explosion if done incorrectly. Accounting apps are online now, and they can integrate with other, helpful apps. Integration done well can save you a few hours or even a whole unnecessary employee. Using a good cloud-based CFO will help you navigate these rough waters.

5. You don’t know what you don’t know

Lastly, if I had a nickel for every time I explained a basic accounting fact, I’d be retired on my own island now.  But I love educating business owners and seeing their confidence raise once they realize accounting is not brain surgery.  They more knowledge they have, the more they can be responsible for their business and the more in control they are. But girl I’m telling you now, if someone had told me that high-waisted jeans were a hundred times more comfortable years ago - I wouldn’t have wasted years trying to not fall out of the ones at Urban Outfitters.  Let someone help you before it’s too late. We don’t want to want you working weekends for those TPS reports.

A recent survey found that millennial men have 29% more in savings accounts, 36% more in checking, and a whopping 70% more in retirement accounts than millennial women.  52% of millennial women say that money is the most stressful thing in their lives — and that 35% more women than men feel “financially overwhelmed.” If you’re a business owner - and especially a woman - you need to employ an expert to help you get organized.  Know to the penny what is coming in and going out - now and the months to come.