Monthly Finance Habits for better numbers in 2022

Monthly Finance Habits for Better Numbers in 2022

Monthly Finance Habits for better numbers in 2022

Monthly finance habits aren’t just about looking at the numbers – they’re also about changing behaviors to proactively make smarter decisions that will ultimately affect your bottom line! You should know what you made, spent and saved every single month so you can understand how your business is doing.

Because here’s the #truth:

There is such a thing as a bad surprise, especially when it comes to your business finances.


Every month, you’re feeling better and better about your business’s progress.

You’re making more sales than the previous month and even started growing your subscriber list!

But then it happens: A surprise that ruins everything.

You get slapped with a problematic charge or lose out on some additional revenue because of an oversight in billing. The news weighs heavily on your shoulders. How could this possibly happen? Everything was going so well!

Was it an oversight because of poor forecasting, with you not accounting for this possible charge?

Perhaps you fell short in some area of your business? Or maybe the competition was more aggressive than you thought they would be?

Things like this happen in business, but there’s one thing you can always do to keep your financial outlook clear:

Make your goals a monthly habit.

Not quarterly. 

Not annually. 


If you want to stay on top of your business finances, then you need to keep an eye on how much cash you have in the bank EVERY MONTH.

If you want to stay ahead of your taxes, then you need to make sure you are tracking how much money your business made EVERY MONTH.

If you want to stay on top of your bills, etc., then you need to make sure that sales are forecasted EVERY SINGLE MONTH (preferably before the end of the month).

It’s easy to get sidetracked with so many responsibilities, so proper planning is vital to keep your business running smoothly.

Click here to learn more about how you can start designing your own monthly finance routine.

Making your financial goals part of your monthly habit means doing the following:

You can take control of your business finances by implementing good + consistent monthly finance habits. And it’s not as hard as you think! Here are 3 monthly habits that you can start practicing today.

1. Do your bookkeeping.

Updating your books should be done at the end of every month or even weekly, if you’re a solopreneur. Review your bank statements and reconcile them. Make sure the numbers add up!

You can read more about how to do better bookkeeping here: How to Improve Your Bookkeeping in Three Steps

2. Review your Profit & Loss statement and key metrics.

A monthly P&L review will help you make sure your income is growing and that you’re on track to achieving your financial goals.

Here’s a simple way of doing it:

  • Take a look at the numbers for last month.
  • Is it higher or lower than what was forecasted?
  • If they’re higher, then great! This means that your business is making more money than anticipated.
  • If those numbers are lower, though…it could mean that projections were off or that something unexpected happened (e.g., a client backed out from a project).

In either case, this would be an opportunity to dig into the details and find out where things really went wrong so you can do better next month.

Check out this podcast episode where I talk about what goes on behind-the-scenes of a CFO meeting, what’s a P&L statement, and how measuring this metric is key to better forecasts:

3. Don’t forget to update your projections for the rest of the year.

Forecasting is every entrepreneur’s best friend. That’s why you need to make sure your numbers are forecasted every single month!

Doing so will help you figure out how much cash you need to have in the bank NEXT MONTH before everything else comes up (like taxes). We usually do this BEFORE the end of every month.

If you’re having trouble with this concept, start SUPER small – maybe use 2-3 months’ worth of expenses as a benchmark. Then grow that number slowly over time until you find something that feels comfortable for your business. That way, you not only prepare for them, but also help ensure your bank account has enough cash to cover even surprise expenses.

Questions to ask yourself when forecasting:

  • How much can you spend next month?
  • 2 months from now?
  • 3 months from now?
  • What are the specific expenses that need to be accounted for BEFORE they come up?

It all comes down to this: If you don’t plan ahead and make your financial goals a MONTHLY HABIT, then you won’t achieve them no matter how big or small they are.


Set financial goals that are measurable and timely. If you want to reach $500k in sales by year-end, then break down how many sales per month it will take to get there.

Set realistic expectations, so you don’t sabotage your progress. Let’s say you want to grow your clientele by 10% each month. If that doesn’t seem possible, then adjust the goal accordingly: 5%, 7%, etc.

Perform an inventory count to make sure you don’t run out of any supplies, you have enough hours to complete a project, etc.


Proper planning is necessary to keep things running smoothly behind-the-scenes.

In order for you to achieve your goals, have a monthly finance habit that includes:

  1. Doing your bookkeeping.
  2. Reviewing your Profit & Loss statement and key metrics.
  3. Updating your projections for the rest of the year.

By working these three things into YOUR monthly routine ahead of time, they’ll become second nature. Before long, instead of feeling stressed about it all, you’ll know what is coming each month so there’s no “surprise!” when it comes to your business’s numbers.

To avoid a surprise a monthly budget tracker with a pen and cash bills and coins

There is such thing as a bad surprise

You will not achieve your goals if you don’t make them a monthly habit.

Not quarterly. Not annually. Monthly.

If you are surprised when your tax accountant tells you how much money you made last year when they’re preparing your taxes, you’re doing business wrong.

How much you make…

How much you spend…

How much cash is in the bank… 💰

…Should NEVER be a surprise! 😲

Savvy business owners who grow to 6- and 7-figures look at their numbers every single month – both what happened last month and their forecast for next month – so there is no surprise.

But what should you actually DO every month?

1. Do your bookkeeping. Make sure your numbers are accurate and reconciled.

2. Review your Profit & Loss statement and key metrics.

3. Update your projections for the rest of the year.

Have you ever been surprised by the numbers in your biz? Grab our Profit Playbook to build your own plan and never be surprised again!

If your Profit Playbook is helpful, please share on Instagram and tag me @stephanie.skry

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5 Ways to Maximize Your Money Before December 31

Lists are kind of my thing. If there are more than two of anything, I will make a list. So December, with its shopping lists, gift guides, and year-end planning to-dos galore, is my favorite time of year.

Speaking of year-end planning, I wanted to share a few things that you can do as a leader to potentially save on taxes and maximize your money, friends!

Many of our clients had a really strong 2020, meaning a large net income. That’s amazing and worthy of celebration, but also comes with a potentially larger tax bill. I like to look at my taxes with gratitude (it means it was a great year!) but I also want to maximize my money because abundance leads to more abundance! 

Here are some ideas to maximize your money:

  1. Max out your retirement accounts. I’ve had a SEP IRA for a couple years now and always aim to max it out as early in the year as possible – this particular account lets you contribute 25% of your salary which is awesome. It’s a deductible expense for your business AND tax deferred savings for your future. I know it sounds intimidating, but it took me about 10 minutes to open and contribute to an account. My SEP IRA is at Vanguard.
  2. Donate to your favorite charity. My biggest challenge in donating to charities is choosing which one! I’ve worked with nonprofits for over a decade so it feels nearly impossible to choose just one worthy cause. Charity Navigator and Guidestar are great places to start researching nonprofits if you aren’t sure where exactly to donate. Charitable donations are also tax deductible, so win-win (just check with your CPA on any limits).
  3. Pay all your bills. If you’re looking at significant net income (that’s the money you have left over after all expenses), that also might mean a significant tax bill. To reduce that amount, pay your bills! Examples: you owe your coach a few more installments of your annual coaching program or your second payment for your website design is coming up in January. Pay them all now to increase your 2020 expenses and reduce your tax bill.
  4. Make any large purchases. Okay, listen very carefully. I am, IN NO WAY, advocating purchasing things you don’t need just to reduce your tax bill. However, if you have the cash in the bank (after setting aside your 3 month reserve), and there are major purchases you were going to make in January anyway, buy them now to reduce your net income and tax bill.
  5. Delay your income. Again, this is a strategy for those business owners who have significant net income at the end of the year. If you were planning on billing a client at the end of December, perhaps send your invoice in early January instead, so the revenue is collected next year. In a sense, this is “kicking the can down the road” but who knows what the next 12 months will hold, so why not take the benefit now.

Did you have a year of abundance? Which money maximizing strategies are you using in the next two weeks? 

If you want to get on our calendar to maximize your money all year long, schedule a time to chat here >>> 

If you aren’t sure which finance pro you need on your team, and the terms bookkeeper, CFO, and CPA are confusing, take our quiz here >>>


Note: This is not tax advice. Please talk to your CPA for specifics on how this applies to your business and personal tax situation.

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How to Make Decisions Using Time vs. Money Margins

There are a million ways to make a decision in your business. 

Look at the profit margin. 

Make a pros and cons list.

Trust your gut instinct and what feels best.

Do what you’ve done before.

Do what you’ve never done before.

In different situations, you might use different methods to make a decision, or perhaps you use a combination of several.

I have another one for you that I love to use when making decisions: 

analyzing time margin vs. money margin.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

You want to create a new revenue stream. Maybe it’s a new course offering or maybe it’s an evergreen funnel for a program you’ve been live launching. 

You have two options:

  1. Pay someone to do this for you.
  2. Google it out and do it yourself.

Now, most of the advice we see from internet marketers and entrepreneur gurus are: HIRE! ALWAYS HIRE! Don’t do anything except a few special tasks yourself! That’s okay advice sometimes but not always. If your revenue streams are not strong or profit margins are too low, hiring out for every single thing is just going to drain your savings or put you in debt.

Before making the decision about how to go about creating this course or funnel, you need to ask yourself the question: Do I have more time or money right now? 

Maybe you’re in the early stages of your business, don’t have a ton of revenue, and are working on slowly growing. You have more time than money because your client load isn’t super full yet, so you’re probably best of doing this yourself. 

On the flip side, maybe business is booming. You’re being pulled in a ton of different directions within your business and are working a lot. Clients and customers keep signing on and buying your products or services left and right and your head is barely above water managing it all.

If this is you, do not try to create something new yourself! Hire someone! Assuming profit margins are strong, you have more money than time and should pay someone else to do this for you.

Do you ever use the time margin vs. money margin method to make decisions in your business?

Need help understanding if your profit margins are strong enough to hire someone? Grab our free Profit Plan to help figure it out! Click here>>


Caption Set #1

Should you take out a business loan?

Hold onto your seats because I have a potentially controversial opinion to share with you today:

Debt is not inherently bad.

I get asked the question a lot: Is it ever okay to take on debt in my business? Should I get a loan or use a credit card in my business?

We are conditioned to believe that debt in our personal lives is bad, and in many cases consumer debt holds us back from true financial freedom. 

Spending more than you make is only a recipe for disaster and the same is true in our businesses. It can be very easy to invest in our businesses too soon, hire the wrong people, get more software and systems than we really need, and dump money into strategies that haven’t proven themselves to work yet. 

I’ve found that overspending often leads to taking on debt with a false hope that the cash influx will magically change habits and solve all of your problems.

I think we can all agree that that solution never works.

However! Using a business credit card or obtaining a loan or line of credit can work really well in certain situations and is totally acceptable in my book. Now before you run out and apply for the first loan you can find, I am going to share when it’s okay to take on debt in your business, when it’s not okay, and what you must absolutely do first!


It can be okay to take on debt when…

    1. Timing is an issue. Many businesses have high months and low months. They know, based on historical numbers, that a particular month or quarter is slow in terms of revenue, but that the following quarter always picks back up again. They may need an influx of cash to cover operating or advertising expenses in advance of a big sales month and this is when it’s okay to take on debt. They know that sales are basically guaranteed, and are substantial enough to cover any debt they take on.
    2. You need capital expenses for production. Other businesses may need cash in order to produce a particular product or line in advance of sales, especially if there is not unrestricted or generating operating cash to fund manufacturing or production. This is another time when it’s okay to take on debt to produce products, provided there is a proven market to purchase the product at healthy margins.

On the flip side, it is not okay to take on debt when…

    • You don’t have a proven business model and/or a plan for revenue. I am only comfortable with a business taking on debt if they have already been successful with their current business model. People have already purchased your products or services and it isn’t a brand new, untested idea. The last thing you want is a boatload of inventory, no one to purchase it, AND a brand new debt payment you can’t make. So test that idea before taking on debt!
    • You haven’t tried other things to improve your cash flow first. If you find yourself short on cash, I do not recommend taking on debt before doing what you can to improve your situation first. Cut unnecessary and unused expenses, reduce those that aren’t generating a solid ROI, and increase revenue streams that ARE working. Debt is NOT the easy way out so work through your P&L before taking on significant debt.

Now that you’ve read the above and think your business still might be a candidate for a loan or line of credit, here’s what you must do first…

    • Create a 12-18 month forecast of revenue, expenses, and cash. Think through the future of your business and map out every revenue stream, every expense, and your cash flow for the next 12-18 months. This may seem like a long time, but you want to ensure that your business is growing in the right direction, profit is strong, and you will absolutely have the cash to repay the loan or credit card, when payments start to kick in. Need a template? Grab one here:
    • The forecast must include a realistic path to profit and debt repayment. The key word here is realistic: your forecast should assume the most realistic revenue, expense, and cash scenarios. Think about scale – maybe your product or service will sell a few the first month, more the following month, and be full-scale in month three. Think about timing – your launch may be projected to having amazing sales in November, but the cash might not land in your bank account until December.

So, to summarize my stance on business debt: I’m okay with temporary debt if you have a proven business model, revenue stream, and 12-18 month projections for repayment and strong margins. I’m not okay with debt if you’re using it to fund ongoing operating deficits.

Sometimes putting things on a credit card or taking out a loan is simply a matter of timing – if your business is cyclical, a quick cash infusion may help keep you in the black until revenue picks up and you’re easily able to pay it back. 

The key is knowing exactly what’s around the bend with a forecast.

What do you think? Are you anti business debt or do you believe it’s okay under certain circumstances?

Want help building your forecast to see around the bend? Schedule a chat with us!


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What to do before hiring anyone in your business

You need an assistant!

Hire for your weaknesses!

You shouldn’t be doing any tasks that aren’t revenue-generating!

Have you heard this before?

I know I have.

Oftentimes entrepreneurs rush out to hire a Virtual Assistant (VA), a Facebook Ads Manager, an Online Business Manager (OBM) without actually knowing what they should be doing.

There are tons of job postings online so we Frankenstein a job description together, post it on Indeed, bring someone on, and guess what?

  • The relationship is nothing like we intended. 
  • Our plate is fuller than before. 
  • Growth is stagnating. 
  • Our calendar is filled with meetings to manage the team of 3-10 people. 
  • Profit margin tanks. 
  • We feel pressured to support the team we hired but are wondering where the ROI is hiding.

Since creating this business five years ago, I have learned this lesson firsthand and figured out the solution.

You must know how to do something yourself before you can hand it off.

Facebook Ads has been the bain of my existence for years now. Since the beginning of my business, I have been drawn in by the siren song of Facebook ads, thinking to myself, if I could just master Facebook ads, maybe I could build my email list, sell a new digital product, grow my membership faster. 

So I played around with Facebook ads several years back, got frustrated with it after about five minutes, and decided immediately to hire out. 

It’s not my expertise, I’m not interested in learning, so I’ll just find someone to do it for me. I literally thought it was like a switch to flip – and if you knew the special way to flip the switch, the revenue would just come pouring in. 

Oh, how wrong I was!

I hired a Facebook ads “expert”, paid them, and got no results. Not a single email address added to my list, no sales, nothing. You’d think I learned my lesson, but I did the same thing two more times! 

But I realized that all of these attempts were missing one key thing: I didn’t understand Facebook ads at all, so I didn’t articulate what I was looking for. The people I hired made empty promises and I couldn’t see it because I didn’t understand what I really needed either.

Lesson learned!

I recently decided I wanted to dabble in Facebook ads again to help grow our membership but instead of running out and hiring someone, I decided to learn it myself, so I am more educated if and when I do decide to hire someone. 

I (lightly!) invested in a couple courses and instead of whizzing through it, I took my time, created a strategy, and tested a couple ads for myself.

Now, I didn’t flip the switch and watch the sales come pouring in (bummer!), but now that I know how it works, I know exactly what I need and what questions to ask if and when I do hire someone. 

I won’t get burned again!

What about your finances? 

Many entrepreneurs immediately hire a bookkeeper or a CFO because they hate numbers and don’t even want to touch them. 

But, as a CFO, I think it’s important for every beginning entrepreneur to do your own bookkeeping in the beginning. You will get an intimate knowledge of what’s coming in and going out of your business. You will understand on a deeper level what your numbers mean rather than just filing away the Excel reports your bookkeeper sends you.

You absolutely don’t need to become an expert in Quickbooks or accounting or taxes – that’s what the professionals are for, after all! And you don’t need to manage your numbers forever. As things get more complicated, it’s vitally important to bring on the right support.

But once you gain that foundational understanding and knowledge, you will know exactly what and who you need to support you.

If you’re at the beginning stages of your entrepreneurial journey and are handling your finances yourself, The Entrepreneur’s CFO Corner gives you the tools and the resources you need to do it yourself, but you also have a CFO in your back pocket to check your work and ask questions. 

How has doing something yourself before you hire, helped you clarify what and who you need?


I hate failing

I have a true confession for you, bright and early today.

I hate failing.

I know, I know. Failure is part of success. Fail forward. Blah blah blah.

I don’t care. I hate it to my core. (#enneagram3 much?!)

A lot of times when we think we are failing, it’s only because we are measuring ourselves against someone else’s success.

Here’s what I mean:

Feeling like a failure because your sales numbers are way lower than that person on Instagram who has a similar business model

Feeling like a failure for only raising $75k at your virtual gala when you saw that another organization raised $250k

Feeling like a failure because you only have 10 clients and your business bestie has 35

The problem is, other people’s metrics are irrelevant. Insignificant. Frankly worthless.

The most important measuring stick to use is your own.

I get asked ALL. THE. TIME: What’s a good profit margin? How much should I be spending on my team? How much income do I need to bring in every month?

The people on the other end of those Zoom calls probably hate me but the answer first is always: It depends!

That’s the truth though. It depends on your business model. If you’re a nonprofit or small business. What your revenue streams are. How long you’ve been in operation. How much revenue you’re bringing in. It goes on!

I’ll never leave you hanging though!

The best way to assess your own business is by reviewing your own historical numbers and watching the trends.

If you want to know if your profit margin is “good”, start by calculating your profit margin every month for the last 12 months, side by side. Is the number generally going up? Is it going down?

You’ll likely have highs and lows but when you look at the trend line, we want to see it going up (But not too much! That could be a sign you need to reinvest in the biz).

If you want to know how much income you should be bringing in, start by looking at your average monthly expenses for the last 12 months. You need at least that much per month (plus say 20% for savings/profit).

So, if you were ever wondering if your numbers are “good”, you now have my official answer!

Here’s a quick list of metrics you should be looking at in your business or nonprofit:

  1. Profit margin
  2. Cash on hand
  3. Revenue diversity
  4. Burn rate (average monthly expenses)

PS – You can always grab our Profit Playbook here here to help you calculate these metrics and more.


Interview with the Speak to Scale Podcast with Jessica Rasdall

We recently chatted with Jessica Rasdall of the Speak to Scale Podcast on the challenges and tasks entrepreneur’s need to be performing to ensure you’re remaining solvent at the end of the day.

No one likes to talk about all of the fears, uncertainties, and worries that come with this unique path we’ve chosen….. Like: when is that next contract going to come in? When will we book that next speaking engagement? When are we going to get paid again? I know that after this recent COVID scare, all of us were feeling these emotions on overdrive. So why aren’t we talking about it?

In this episode, we’re digging deep into how to tackle our entrepreneurial finances and achieve a more predictable income.

Give it a listen and let us know your biggest takeaway!

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Spotify


3 metrics to help you soar

It’s November and that means we’re in the home stretch, my friends!

All of you purpose-driven leaders are probably thinking about finishing up the next eight weeks to enjoy a few days of rest and relaxation with family at the end of the year.

What I would LOVE for you to think about during these next two important months in the life cycle of your organization is better understanding the story of your organization through the numbers.

Why? Because greater transparency around your financials leads to a more committed team and engaged community, AND you will be more excited to up-level your org next year.

Three easy metrics to assess financial health:

Like I mentioned, these are super easy insights that you can glean from financial statements that you ALREADY run on a monthly basis. Grab our financial metric calculator here so you don’t have to do an ounce of math!

PS – Does thinking about metrics make you want to simultaneously hide but also get you excited to learn more about how to grow your organization? You may need a finance pro to help get you to the next level. Take our BRAND NEW QUIZ and find out which finance pro you need to make a huge impact on your organization’s growth!

Entrepreneurs: Take your quiz here! >>>

NonProfits: Take your quiz here! >>>



How to create projections to achieve your goals

My daughter starts her second year of preschool this week. It’s hard to believe the summer has come and gone, and now it’s time to make sure I have adequate school snacks on hand at all times. I hope you had a glorious summer too. Even if you don’t have kids, there’s something in the air that changes when the calendar ticks over to September. Yes, it’s getting cooler but it also feels different, like the world is getting back to business.

Many leaders I know are gearing up for Q4. Our retail clients have their biggest sales months, our nonprofits are in the thick of fundraising, and everyone is putting in a 110% effort to meet their 2019 goals. Does this sound like you?

One thing that I’ve found super helpful as we enter this busy season is mapping out exactly how we’re going to achieve our goals, or forecasting.

You probably (hopefully?) created a budget in the beginning of this year that mapped out revenue and expenses from January through December, but that was a LONG time ago. Likely, you didn’t meet every single budget number for every single month, so forecasting is an opportunity to redo the upcoming months. You have a whole nine months and lots of information under your belt to make even better projections for Q4.

So here’s how to create Q4 projections. Open your budget template (Need one? Grab mine!), your financials for the year, and all your hopes and dreams, and let’s dive in!

How to create Q4 projections:

  1. Look back. Review your financials for the year so far. Compare revenue and expenses to your budget. How did you do? How far off were you and why?
  2. Look back even further. Check out your Q4 financials for last year. That’s often a decent place to start to help anticipate what this Q4 might look like.
  3. Build your projections! And I seriously mean build. Start from the bottom up and create your forecast with building blocks. For my service businesses: How many clients do/will you have? How much do you charge per client/project? How many new clients will you get? For my product businesses: How much did you sell last year? How much new product have you purchased and what are your prices? What’s your advertising budget? For my nonprofits: How much did you raise last year? What big grants or major gifts do you have in the pipeline?
  4. Don’t forget expenses. Often we’re just thinking about the finish line in terms of revenue, but net income or profit (revenue – expenses) is really what we should be aiming for. Build in any and all expenses that you’ll have in Q4 and check out your net income. (Quick reminder to nonprofits: you can have a positive net income even though you’re a nonprofit! That’s how you build a cash reserve and long-term sustainability!)

For my friends out there who hate numbers, this can seem like a useless exercise (But I already created a budget!) BUT it’s truly the only way to stay on top of your goals during what is often the last season of hustle for the year. AND, if you create this forecast now with a clear path of building blocks to achieving your goal, maybe it won’t feel like such a hustle after all.


PS – Feeling a little overwhelmed? I have a template, complete with a video walkthrough, here! Download it for free and get started.