How to improve your personal finances using a checklist

Personal Finance Checklist

Revamping your entire financial plan may seem like a gigantic task, so it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But by breaking your fiscal dreams into smaller, more manageable goals you’ll be setting yourself up for success while gaining some confidence about your money-making decisions with each item you cross off. Making a checklist can by the key to getting your money – and long-term goals – in order. Here are a few examples of simple changes that can make a major impact.

Start small.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re trying to make a substantial change in their life is focusing on objectives that aren’t easily attainable. This is an easy way to sabotage yourself, because the task seems so large you can’t possibly reach it. Think about restructuring your budget in the same way you would expect to start a diet or exercise plan. You wouldn’t expect to be able to run marathons within the first couple of weeks, so why would you hold your finances to a similar standard? Like with most goals, the little things add up. Instead of backlogging every purchase you’ve made in the last six months, start today by tracking all of your extra expenses such as movie nights, eating out, and entertainment-related costs like cable TV or your Netflix subscription. No detail is too small when it comes to money management and financial stability.

Streamline your payments.

Consolidating or organizing all of your bill payments is another simple task to add to your checklist. Determine the bills that you pay regularly, their frequency, amount, and whether or not they can be paid online. If possible, set up all bill payments to withdraw from your bank account automatically and keep track of your email or online confirmations. This can usually be done either through the servicer or your bank. By automating the process, you’ll reduce the amount of time you spend each month gathering paperwork and information. You’ll also simplify your own record keeping, since you should be able to locate most of your payments with just the click of your mouse. Even better, you won’t have to worry about accruing late fees since you know exactly when your account will be debited for each bill cycle.

Pay yourself first.

Having a comfortable savings account is one of the most important steps towards financial security. As part of your monthly, bi-weekly, or even quarterly checklist, send a portion of your paycheck to your savings account each time you get paid. Depending on your personal goals, income, and expenses this amount may vary. However, don’t underestimate how quickly even $10 or $20 per paycheck can add up over time. If possible, set up an automatic deposit so you’ll get used to receiving a lower amount. This is one line item that will give you a bit of satisfaction every time you check it off your list.

Keep your budget balanced.

Keeping your overall budget in order is usually one of the most daunting tasks, but breaking it up into smaller sections will make it a breeze to get through. Make a list of all income sources, everything you spend money on regularly, and for at least one month track all of your expenses to get an idea of how much you should allot for miscellaneous spending. Once you have your list, break the expenses into categories such as utilities, travel, housing, food, insurance, loan payments, and childcare. Your static expenses are those that are consistent for every pay period, and your flexible expenses are the less predictable ones such as car repairs or additional medical costs. Based on what you typically spend per month, you should be able to outline how much is needed to put towards extra expenses on top of your static ones. Being able to check off when each of these obligations are met will give you some peace of mind, and you won’t have to second guess whether you paid that bill or not.

Money Management for Retirement.

Money management is a huge part of most of our lives, and many of us have areas that we’d like to improve. Whether you’re saving for a dream vacation, college, or retirement, keeping track of your goals and when they are met is a valuable tool that you can use for all of your financial plans – no matter how big or small.

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3 Tips for Accounting Firms Who Want to Remain Relevant

 

Evolution of Technology in Business

The evolution of technology has introduced new fears in the corporate world. Many companies and professionals fear that automation of services will render them irrelevant in the market. The reality is that companies and individuals can now learn how to file their taxes online. Clients can also install accounting apps and programs to keep records and prepare financial reports. However, automation of accounting operations does not mean that accounting firms are redundant. The tips outlined below will help accounting and bookkeeping businesses to remain relevant in an evolving corporate world.

1. Continuous Learning

Firms must invest in continuous learning to remain relevant in a changing environment. Accountants should stay updated with new technologies, trends, programs, and apps in the field. Clients expect accounting firms to use the latest technologies and abide by any new laws in accounting. Hence, managerial teams must ensure that their accountants are exposed to the latest trends in the field. For instance, accounting firms can collaborate with organizations that offer AFSP online courses. Such courses help accountants gain certification, including learning the prevailing rules in filing taxes.

This professional education should also include basic programming languages. The corporate world is evolving towards automated services. Beyond learning the mainstream accounting systems, accountants should learn basic programming languages to handle the systems more efficiently.

2. Flexibility

Change is inevitable in the corporate world. Accounting firms have no control over the speed of change or evolution of technology in the field. The best approach in such an environment is to show flexibility and accept change. One reason why many professionals and corporations become irrelevant is that they insist on the traditional ways of doing things. Many are stuck in one way of handling the accounting function and sell the same to their clients. Accounting firms must encourage their teams to adopt new changes and adjust their strategies as fast as possible. As the firms encourage continuing education, professionals must be willing to implement new skills and knowledge immediately.

3. Maintaining Integrity

Business owners hire accounting firms based on their core values, including their commitment to excellent services. Sometimes firms are slow in adapting to the latest trends especially when the trends involve new technologies. However, clients are patient to work with such firms if the firms can be trusted. Trust is an important component of business relationships. Accounting firms are contracted to handle a sensitive function in organizations. The management depends on financial reports to make decisions. Hence, accounting firms must fulfill their obligations and provide accurate and timely reports. Integrity includes honoring the terms in each contract and delivering every promise to clients.

Conclusion

Accounting firms can remain relevant for decades, despite the continuous changes, if they learn to prepare for change. The management must invest in their team members by offering training and development opportunities. In addition, accountants must learn to adopt new ways of doing things fast, including new systems and programs if they want to stay on top.

 

 

 

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