When starting an organization, many of the requirements of small businesses are like those of large corporations. However, most small firms cannot afford to hire entire teams for each department or business function. SMB (small and medium business) owners must ensure their most important operating tasks are completed by someone either within the company or by a Managed IT Services provider.
IT and Finance are great starting places as they have become such an important aspect in today’s business, they can no longer be treated as separate departments or operations. These technologies are entwined throughout just about every process in current-day business models. And the costs of these functions – especially when unmanaged – can be incredibly expensive without a dedicated team or service provider.
1. Startup Checklist
Dealing with IT and finance functions in-house can be challenging for startups considering most business owners don’t know where to begin. These processes can become time-consuming, expensive, and can appear to be like a never-ending firefight for many teams just starting out. This startup checklist will highlight some of the IT and financial milestones you might encounter on a regular basis.
- Make a Floor Plan – Determine where each department, server room, conference room, printers, and network equipment we be located.
- Select ISP – Be sure to choose an ISP and a backup ISP before negotiating the best package for your business needs. Think of how your business plans to scale in the next 5 years.
- Check wiring and network – Ensure there is enough electrical outlets, and the wiring is sufficient.
- IT Organization – By organizing the IT environment to be completed first, your business will be up and running quickly rather than later.
- Server room configuration (if applicable)
- Network infrastructure management (Routers & Access Points)
- Workstations & Software
- UPS (Uninterruptible Power Source/Supply)
- Backup Solutions
- Printers & Other Peripherals
2. IT Infrastructure
Many small startups make the mistake of buying new equipment without considering how it will be installed or even if it’s needed. Make sure you discuss with an IT professional what you might need at the different stages of the business. It’s important to ensure equipment, software, and networking connections are all running and secure right out of the gate.
- Check for compatibility with any other devices you may have.
- If you don’t have an IT expert on staff, hire someone or at least consult on creating a deployment plan.
- Unify troubleshooting and maintenance, and establish a common operating system.
- Have a maintenance plan ready to go to take care of all the new equipment being installed.
3. The Cloud & Cybersecurity
The cloud is ideal for small businesses as it is scalable, fast, and flexible. However, it’s not all good news. Startups are more likely to fall into “digital bad habits” than larger businesses. We think it’s important to focus on cloud strategy and cybersecurity from the very beginning.
- Create a cybersecurity plan
- Draft Policies and Procedures that dictate what is allowed and what is not
- Limit system access using identity and access management tools
- Secure all devices and WiFi networks
- Procure legitimate software
- Ensure latest software updates and patches
- Hire help to guide you through cybersecurity issues
- Have a disaster recovery plan in case things don’t go as planned
4. Financial Software
Every startup should implement an accounting system that’s tailored to specific factors like revenue types, staff size, and expense groupings specific to the industry you’re in. You’ll need to make some critical decisions concerning the software to be used and strategies taken when designing an accounting system that works for your startup.
- Open a business banking account
- Set up accounting software
- Connect a payment system
- Integrate a payroll system
- Start monthly bank reconciliations
- Build key financial reports
- Establish company policies
- Register with the corresponding regulatory (federal and state agencies)
DECIDE WHEN TO HIRE A BOOKKEEPER
Although some bookkeeping duties are straightforward, they are typically time-consuming and really require meticulous attention to detail to generate error-free data. While handling all small startup bookkeeping yourself may save you money over hiring a professional, keep in mind the worth of your time as well as the potential cost of any mistakes in the beginning.
Consider hiring an in-house bookkeeper – or working with Tenace, a professional bookkeeper – who will handle these responsibilities for you. Having an in-house bookkeeper on your team means they’re focused on your business, but adding an additional employee is also more expensive than outsourcing your accounting, bookkeeping, and tax responsibilities to Tenace. Contact us for more information today.