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Editor’s Note: The following columns were first featured in the Square Banking newsletter. For this article we featured Licensed Mental Health Counselor Aja Evans, who specializes in financial therapy, and Keila Hill-Trawick, founder and CEO of Little Fish Accounting, a boutique CPA firm dedicated to serving micro businesses through accounting and tax support.
Aja Evans and Keila Hill-Trawick are not employees or consultants of Square and the views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and are not endorsed by Square. This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.
Get inspired by three Square sellers and the best things they did for their businesses in 2022. And two financial experts weigh in on strategies to make hitting your financial goals achievable.
Smart money moves for 2023
New year, new financial goals: What do yours look like? Square sellers look back on their best financial moves in 2022. Their advice — with the help of Square financial tools — can help you organize, save, and plan for your business success in 2023.
Start saving — right now
Doran Tomoko, a mom, aesthetician, and editor of the Haute Beauty Guide in Monterey, California, started a Year-End Bonus Square Savings folder in 2022. “Basically, 3% of my daily sales transfer into a savings folder each day. In December I cashed it out and used it for a fun trip for my family plus holiday gifts.” She plans on maintaining a Year-End Bonus folder for her business indefinitely, and will up it to 5% this year.
Using Square Savings folders has made building a nest egg easier for Tomoko: “Saving has never really been a priority for me, but with the auto transfers it is easy. Plus, I like seeing the progress on each project.”
She also switched to an accounting system that syncs with Square, which allows her to see all her expenses and income in one place. “It has helped me make financial decisions quicker, easier, and from a more informed place.”
Keeping — and having easy access to — savings folders allows Tomoko freedom from credit cards and loans. “Saving up for unexpected expenses makes me feel safer.”
Use the tools in your arsenal
Ruby Winter and Jake Johari opened The Street Easy, a restaurant in London, in 2020. While 2022 was tricky financially, Winter says, “finessing our food and drink offerings, and gauging what works for [our] demographic” was key to helping them grow their customer base.
Using Square financial tools also helped. Winter and Johari built The Street Easy website using Square Online to start delivering food locally. They also created a customer loyalty program with Square for recurring customers. Winter says, “In 2023, we hope our hard work building our popularity will start to pay off.”
Cut spending, grow your business
Yasir Mahmood of HF Screen Printing says that 2022 was the year he cut out unnecessary expenses, such as extra materials, business gifts, and non-performing marketing platforms. Instead, he put his money toward paying down debt, which allowed him to grow his business. “I set aside a budget for marketing, which I feel is just as important as organic growth.” Putting extra money back into his business helped him reach out to new clientele: “It will have an impact going into 2023.”
No matter what 2023 brings, being proactive will help you weather financial ups and downs. As these strategies from Square sellers show, keeping your business goals — and possible risks — top of mind can go a long way in setting you up for the future.
Reflecting on last year’s victories
Aja Evans, financial therapist and Finance in Focus guest columnist, says that taking time to reflect on the previous year is an important step in your goal-setting process.
“Don’t let go of the 2022 version of you just yet!
Before you get too hasty with excitement about your “new year, new you” goals, let’s reflect on how the last year went. One of my favorite activities to do with clients is to read what hopes they had during this time a year ago.
Do you remember going into 2022 with a list of goals, excited about what the year might bring? As business owners we can be very quick to think of solutions and next steps, blowing past our accomplishments and growth areas we lived through over the year. This year, make time for reflection. What went well, what could have gone better, and where might you need support to make it all happen? Spending some time with the ups and downs of the last year sets you up for a realistic view of the coming year. To level up and truly create impactful change you have to learn from your experiences. Make sure you give yourself time to do just that.”
Aja Evans is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in Financial Therapy. She owns and operates a private practice in New York City.
Getting ahead of taxes in 3 steps
For many business owners, tax season is a stressful time of year (and it’s right around the corner!). Looking to make this year’s tax season better than the last? Keila Hill-Trawick, Certified Public Accountant, entrepreneur, and guest columnist has three easy tips to get started.
First things first: Taxes can feel scary. The deadline approaches annually, and suddenly you’re in a mad dash to get everything sent over to your preparer in time to meet the deadline. But it doesn’t have to be this way! There are a few steps you can take right now to make the process more seamless.
1. Get organized.
All of the government documents that have started showing up (or will soon) need a digital home. Using a secure online storage platform, take photos of the docs and save them to a folder named for the current tax year. You’ll make sure you’re not accidentally missing a document left on your dining room table, and you can easily share with your tax preparer when requested. (Extra credit: Save the document as a PDF! Your accountant will thank you. 🙂)
2. Catch up on bookkeeping.
Your numbers tell your tax return everything it needs to know, but they’ve got to be accurate. Take the time to review last year’s transactions to ensure that every amount that has come in and out of the business has been included and properly categorized. If you have any that you’re not sure about, flag them for your tax preparer.
3. Find assistance early.
Good tax prep firms fill up quickly! Start looking for your accountant as soon as possible to give yourself time to ask questions and build rapport before they’re in the throes of deadlines. Make sure that they are familiar with your industry and businesses like yours so they’re able to answer your questions and be proactive about guiding you through tax planning and strategy.
Meet Keila Hill-Trawick: founder and CEO of Little Fish Accounting, a boutique CPA firm dedicated to serving micro businesses through accounting and tax support. Little Fish believes in the importance of ongoing relationships as a way for business owners to thrive in their lives and assists in that effort by advising freelancers, solopreneurs, and small businesses in reaching their financial goals to build and grow the businesses of their dreams. Based out of Washington, D.C., by way of Atlanta, GA, Little Fish serves clients nationwide.