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Financial planners, a broad and sweeping term I’m using here to encompass the vast amount of document types used in keeping track of cash flow as well as projections and market analysis needed to start and maintain a small business, can be easily acquired in a template form via the Web. When it comes to financial planners, I feel it’s extremely unnecessary to try and reinvent the wheel. These templates should have all the necessary category headings ready for you to insert, implement, and calculate the specific, nitty-gritty economic details of whatever you happen to be in business for. With a template, the general outline and all the relevant titles and sub-headings are already on the printable document so all the business owner will have to do is customize the text with the information pertinent to their particular industry. Templates can be downloaded quickly, worked with easily, and used repeatedly in order to eliminate the busy-work you would have to otherwise do when creating a detail-laden document from scratch.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website “Poor financial management is one of the leading reasons that businesses fail. In many cases, failure could have been avoided if the owners had applied sound financial principles to all their dealings and decisions. Financial management is not something that you can leave to your banker, financial planner, or accountant — you need to understand the basic principles yourself and use them on a daily basis, even if you plan to leave the more complicated work to hired professionals.” This site, http://www.uschamber.com/, has some sound advice and tutorials which will give you a firm grasp of what financial management entails and how to practice it effectively.
A site I found very useful in terms of acquiring free templates for accounting for your small business finances was at http://www.score.org/template_gallery.html. At this site they offer templates to download, customize, and create any of the following fiscally related desktop publishing materials: Balance Sheet (Projected), Breakeven Analysis, Cash Flow Statement (12 Months), Cash Flow Statement (4 Years), Financial Forecast, Loan Amortization Schedule, Profit and Loss Projection (12 Months), and Start-Up Expenses. Incidentally, this site is also extremely useful for the purposes of creating a business plan which I covered in another article in this series.
I found another veritable cash cow on hand for you to milk all of the free templates you might need to track business finances at http://www.freebusinessforms-templates.com/.Templates to create ledgers, bookkeeping forms, expense reports along with many other no frills business forms can be downloaded from this site and personalized to suit your company’s specific needs.
Finally, go to Microsoft Office Online for Excel templates, great for spread sheets with built-in cells for automatic calculations and the like. If you’re not familiar with Excel, take some time to learn the basic functions of this program by using the tutorials they offer online. Access Excel templates at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/CT101527321033.aspx?av=ZXL.
Utilize the templates listed above to commit to the hard work and diligence that financially managing a successful business requires. Also refer to my extensive series on the copious amount of free templates available for all sorts of desktop publishing projects by clicking on the series link on this page.
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