As doctors and business owners take control of their finances, they have a lot to figure out.
If you own your own practice, you’ve probably spent a lot of time figuring out how to organize your books and increase your margins.
But according to the revolutionary Profit First system. There’s one big thing you’re probably missing.
Most people think of bank accounts as just a place to store your income. But they’re so much more important than that. They’re an important part of your cash flow strategy and crucial to the health of your business.
If you want to run a profitable clinic. You need to figure out your banking situation.
In this article, we explore the most important questions:
- Why are bank accounts important for a small business?
- How many bank accounts should I have for my business?
- How do I set up the right bank accounts for my business?
Why are bank accounts important for a small business?
Like most entrepreneurs, the average naturopathic doctor gives little thought to bank accounts. Their attention is on bringing the money in.
And while it is important to focus on scaling your business, you need to know where your money goes after you make a deposit.
Because bank accounts are how you order your cash flow. They’re a more sophisticated (and interest-earning!) version of Dave Ramsey’s infamous envelope system.
Why do I need more than one bank account?
Every clinic owner knows they need a bank account.
But many just settle for the default. They have a checking and a savings account. Everything gets lumped into or pulled out of those accounts.
This is initially simpler to set up, but it really hurts you in the long run.
Instead, owning multiple accounts has two major advantages.
- It keeps your expenses in check
- It helps you prioritize profit.
Keep Your Expenses in Check
Most entrepreneurs think of expenses as necessary evils. They’re the payments that keep the lights on and everything operating smoothly. But if they’re not managed well, expenses will eat up every cent available to them.
Having multiple bank accounts, forces you to work with less. This is like the smaller plate strategy people use to lose weight. Since we naturally fill up our plates, the best way to eat less is to use a smaller plate. And since we naturally spend money naturally, the way to keep your expenses leaner is to use a smaller bank account.
Have a separate account for expenses and you’ll never worry about dipping into your take-home pay to buy something you don’t need.
Prioritize Your Profits
When you only have one bank account, all your outflows are competing for money. Taxes fight your operating expenses. And profit barely limps out of the scuffle.
But prioritizing take-home is the center of the Profit First system. It doesn’t let profit be just an afterthought.
With multiple bank accounts, you can be proactive instead of reactive. If you set aside profit early, you guarantee how much you get each quarter. That’s a much better strategy than just hoping there’s something leftover at the end.
How many bank accounts should I have for my business?
One bank account isn’t enough for your practice. But how many should you have?
Profit First recommends 5:
- Owner’s pay
- Operating Expenses
This first account should be your biggest.
Think of your income account like the grand terminal hub. Every deposit to your business starts here. Then it is sent out to various destinations.
Whenever you make money from products or services, put it into your income account right away. Then you can easily keep track of every dollar that comes into your business. And if you set up the rest of the accounts correctly, everything afterward will be automatic.
You might be surprised to hear we recommend a separate account for profit.
After all, most people think of profit as just what is left.
But the Profit First system flips the conventional advice on its head. Instead of taking the leftovers, we encourage you to put profit first.
That means the first transfer out of your income account goes into profit. You take that money out upfront and handle expenses with the rest.
In this way, you’re firmly in control of your profits. Go get a consistent amount instead of waiting to see what is left.
The profit account contains money dedicated to the growth of your business. It also houses an emergency fund and includes money for debt repayment.
Business owners like you work hard. Yet most of them barely pay themselves.
An owner’s pay account will help you pay yourself what you deserve.
This account includes your take-home, as well as draws, distributions and personal expenses.
You can also use this account to cover insurance, vehicle expenses, travel and meals and entertainment.
Taxes are another place where most business owners are reactive.
They do what they can to make due throughout the year. Then when it is time to pay taxes, they have to scramble to find the money.
But when you have a bank account devoted to taxes, you eliminate the worries. Feed this account with a consistent transfer schedule. Then by the time you have to pay the IRS, all the money you need will be waiting in your account.
The last bank account you want to set up is for operating expenses.
This is for everything you need to run your business. Use this account to cover rent, material cost, payroll, electricity, software and any credit payments.
By keeping this account separate, you know you’re never spending more than you can afford to lose.
How do I set up the right bank accounts for my business?
When you go to set up bank accounts for your business, you have to balance what is simplest with what works.
If you have a bank you already love, call them and see what options they can provide. If you explain your desired setup they might be able to help.
However, it may help to have your accounts at different banks. This has the added advantage of making certain funds more difficult to get to. Then you will be less tempted to borrow from your profit or owner’s pay.
If you really want to make sure you set everything up well, give us a call at Every Single Bean. We’ll help you organize your bank accounts in a way that helps your business grow.