I have been a financial auditor and advisor at a Big 4 before I have started as a portfolio manager in a corporate accelerator. I give talks on startup financials, mentor a few projects and, specifically, I enjoy helping them with their financials - from undrestanding how to create resonable financial projections, accounting 101, KPIs and metrics to setting up accounting and reporting systems.
I would like to offer this community <5 hours a week for free. I can advise you on anything related to your financials, but raising finance is not a strong area of mine - which seems to fit perfectly with the community of bootstrappers here.
Why I do this: I would like to potentially go into paid consulting, and would now like to understand whether this is a big enough problem around startup financials.
if you would like to engage, please reply to this thread.
Are you EU-based? Or, more to the point, can you offer advice on the (terrible) EU VAT regulations that are a serious obstacle to SaaS businesses here?
(for those who don’t know the problem: https://www.chargebee.com/features/eu-vat/ has a good explanation, companies like ChargeBee solve part of the problem, but not all of it, there is still a fairly serious accounting/reporting burden)
Yes, I am in the EU, but most of my experience comes from working with US companies (i.e., US GAAP) with some EU experience - althrough I’m very familiar with IFRS, it does not have specific reporting requirements for EU VAT. In terms of EU VAT, I have dealt with clients that were able to use VAT MOSS in the UK, which simplified reporting. I know that this is not the case in other EU countries, therefore I would strongly suggest to involve a local (where you/your business is a tax resident) tax accountant.
VAT MOSS is something that moves the needle on these regulations from “completely insane” to “ridiculous”, e.g. improves things slightly, but doesn’t solve the problem.
I’ll just point out that this kind of advice is very badly needed all across the EU. Basically, businesses here have trouble starting to accept money from outside their own country. The situation is particularly bad for services, physical goods are much simpler.
Do you have any advice for someone just starting out? I am getting some traffic to my project but no revenue yet.
Is there anything you wish entrepreneurs did from the very beginning?
My general advice would be: do some reasonable planning.
If you plan to be serious about your venture, do some minimal management accounting - select and define a business model, define assumptions (e.g., number of sales, driver of growth), create a basic forecast/budget (it can be as simple as going from the # of sales multiplied by the price, depending on your business model), understand what your cost structure (most likely, if you’re self-funded and the only “employee”, your biggest costs are infrasturcture and, potentially, some advertising) and put everything into a simple excel sheet.
Then, accept that everything is inherently wrong and will become outdated in a month (or even after a few days). Accept that you have do some prospective adjustments to this plan as soon as new information becomes available - this is a living document, and your goal is to, eventually, have a document you can base your strategic decisions on.
You are not going for accuracy here, but it should get you thinking about your venture, and help you make decisions going forward.
As soon as you expect revenue - plan for a simple bookkeeping and accounting system. Keep track of your cash (it also means to get separate accounts), which is your single most important resource early on. Choose a payment processor wisely - look out for processing fees, integrations, easy of use etc. Choose an easy accounting software you can use yourself (look at their product videos and see if you would be potentially comfortable using them) and use it. If you remain small (don’t have employees, don’t meet certain tax and accounting reporting thresholds, can do cash accounting etc.), you can certainly manage everything yourself. Everything but taxes - this is a risky area, and hoping to save some money may easily result in troubles for you.
This is just scratching the surface, but hope it helps at least a little.
You should consider recording your training and offering it online.
Thanks, I’ve haven’t though about it. It might be a good idea, considering that I do offline lectures. Would you pay for such a training?
Pickup the Launch book by Jeff Walker to learn how to sell a course online. There are definitely customers who pay for courses like this.