Organization is the key to success, so as the calendar starts fresh so should your business habits. Start your New Year off right by getting your business organized. Here are some tips to help you get a firm grip on your finances.

Organize your finances: Set aside 15 minutes per week, the equivalent of one Facebook visit, to sift through the piles of financial paperwork on your desk. Make this a clear priority.  Something will always feel more pressing than your finances, but by making  time every week to stay organized, you’ll begin to feel your stress levels drop. You’ll be able to make clearer financial decisions, have cleaner records, and everything will be ready and organized for tax time.

Follow up on receivables: This may seem obvious, but many small business owners don’t keep track of invoice collections. Make sure you’re properly tracking and organizing all payments due and recording when each invoice is paid.

Separate your personal finances from your business finances: By keeping separate bank and credit card accounts, you’ll save yourself the headache of pouring through statements and receipts at the end of the year trying to determine which expenses are personal and which are professional. Pay your business expenses from a dedicated credit card with a fixed credit limit. This gives you the flexibility and control to plan your cash inflows to meet your cash outflows. 

Call in a professional:  A good accountant is one of your most important allies as a small business owner. This is not an area to cut costs. A finance expert’s technical and legal knowledge will save you time and money in the long run. Accountants will find you more tax deductions and work to keep you penalty-free. Sure, you can do it yourself, but when things get technical or taxes are due, save yourself the money, time and headache and call in a trusted professional.

Consider your staff: This can be one of your biggest expenses. Whether you have a full staff or you’re the only one on the payroll, be sure to track the costs of anything associated with labor. By carefully monitoring your spending on staff, perks and benefits, you may find you have money at year end for raises or bonuses.

Knowing your business, staying on top of your expenses and above all taking the time to organize your inbox will help you significantly in the New Year. These basic reminders will help keep you stress-free and a step ahead of your competition in 2014.