Olivia Langan, the owner of Frolic Bookkeeping, shares her insights on bookkeeping and financial goal-setting for women entrepreneurs in the new year. She emphasizes the importance of knowing and understanding your numbers, debunking common misconceptions about bookkeeping. Olivia provides practical tips for transitioning to bookkeeping software and knowing when to hire a bookkeeper. She also highlights the significance of setting clear financial goals and tracking progress throughout the year. Olivia encourages women to develop a positive and empowering relationship with their finances, making it a fun and motivating aspect of their business!
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All right, everyone, welcome back to the Homemakers in Business podcast. Today, I’ve got Olivia with me after a few technical errors and trying to figure out what the heck was going on. We are finally recording. So, Olivia, it’s so great to have you on today. Would you like to tell us who you are, what you do, who you help, all that good stuff?
Yeah, thank you for having me on. My name is Olivia. I’m the owner of Frolic Bookkeeping, which helps service-based women entrepreneurs know and love their numbers because numbers can be very scary and intimidating for so many business owners. And my goal is to make it feel less intimidated and not like the old school accountant that you feel like you can’t go and ask questions to since that’s kind of how I started my business. I was working for one of the old school accountants and they didn’t like doing the bookkeeping and the
Business owners didn’t like doing the bookkeeping, but it had to get done for their tax return. And every single time I would do the bookkeeping, the business owners were like shocked that either they made way more money than they thought, or they made way less money than they thought. And they were like, I wish I knew this throughout the year. So that’s how I started my business. Cause I realized and saw how important knowing your numbers on a monthly basis is.
Oh yeah, and I totally agree with that. I started my business technically in 2020, but like for legal purposes, I started in 2020, but I’d been freelancing a little bit before that and never paid attention to my numbers. And once I invested in like a day rate type thing with another bookkeeper who just kind of helped me like, okay, this is what you need to know.
about your numbers like you can ignore this other stuff but here’s the like important things that you need to start with it would just make things so much more easy to plan for throughout the year because you kind of have like a guidepost to know if you’re on track to hit what you want to hit as far as your numbers go. So on that topic though that’s what I want to talk about today is financial goals for the new year. We’re obviously recording this in advance.
but this will be one of the first episodes to come out in 2024. So I’d love for us to start talking about financial goals that women can set as homemakers in business because that may be something that, well like you mentioned, that women in particular have a tendency to either not pay attention to their numbers or not know what to pay attention to. So what are some common misconceptions you think
that might be keeping women from knowing their numbers and like managing their finances effectively.
Yeah, big one is, I don’t know, accounting, which you don’t have to know accounting to do your bookkeeping. I definitely would suggest not doing a bookkeeping software if you don’t know a ton of accounting things and you don’t want to take the time to learn because it’s easier to mess up accounting software, but if you’re just starting out, a spreadsheet is your best friend. That’s like foolproof. It’s simple to do. You just enter your transactions and code everything.
That’s like the ideal scenario. So then you’re still knowing what you’re bringing in, what your expenses are, nothing today, what your profit is. And then another one that I hear too is, I’m not big enough, I’m not making a lot of money, so I don’t need to do bookkeeping or my business isn’t to that level. That’s a myth. Every single business, big or small, needs to do their bookkeeping because every business needs to file taxes and your numbers are like gold to you. As a business owner, if you’re…
not paying attention that you’re missing so much valuable information that your business is telling you.
Absolutely. Yeah, I totally agree with that. That was one of the biggest things that tripped me up when I first started my business was oh my gosh, there’s so much that I need to know. Like looking at the bookkeeping software. It was mainly QuickBooks. I was looking at the time even though I use zero now.
That’s my favorite.
I love it. It’s so easy to use. I don’t, I never actually used QuickBooks, but it felt like just looking at the interface, Xero felt so much easier than QuickBooks. But I just learned that.
That’s what I have all my clients on. Yeah, I have all my clients on Xero. When I was at the accounting firm, we used QuickBooks desktop and I really liked that, but the QuickBooks online is just so convoluted. I even find it confusing. And I’ve definitely seen the owners like double record their income in QuickBooks because it’s just easy to mess up. So I love Xero because it’s foolproof. It’s way more user-friendly and intuitive to use.
Yeah. And at what point do you recommend your clients start using a bookkeeping software? Cause like I said, I used a spreadsheet for probably the first two years of my business before I was like, okay, I need a little bit more automation happening and not inputting stuff like manually all the time. So what, what do you recommend for your clients?
It’s really up to you. Like you said, you want more automation. If you start getting like more volume of transactions and it’s taking you a long time and time consuming to enter in every single transaction, you want to automate it more, then you could switch to accounting software. But just make, hold on, you can get this part. I was losing my train of thought there.
Um, wait, what were we saying again? The, when do we switch to accounting software? Okay. I’ll just start that question over. Like when you, okay, I’ll start it again now. So I would switch to an accounting software when you are getting tired of entering every single transaction from your bank statement into the spreadsheet, because it is time consuming and as a business owner, you have so many other things to do.
I need to do list. And when you feel like that’s taking up way too much time, then you can look into using an accounting software. So it’s really different for every business owner. There’s pros and cons to both the spreadsheet and an accounting software.
And at what point do you recommend them actually investing in a bookkeeper? Cause I know that a lot of businesses, you know, starting out, they’re starting out very lean, like they can’t afford to hire someone to help them on a monthly basis. So at what point do you think, or what are some like key factors people can look out for to be like, okay, it might be time for me to invest in the service.
If you don’t enjoy it, that’s a big one. If you don’t enjoy it and you can afford to hire it out, I would definitely do that. And I also see a lot of business owners spend in different areas that are more like frilly fun in their business, which I understand that’s like the fun stuff, but your numbers and your finances are some of the most important parts of your business. So I usually recommend like getting that stuff done first, cause like that’s what you pay your taxes on. That’s how you save for taxes based.
on your numbers and when you aren’t prioritizing those things, you cannot be saving enough for taxes and have this huge tax bill. And then it kind of gets you and like sets you back financially. So if you don’t enjoy it and you’re not doing it, it’s definitely super important to prioritize doing those things because you will be setting yourself up for financial success. And also if you just don’t have the time to allocate to your bookkeeping, I know a lot of business owners, they were so many.
and some of them just don’t want to take the time to learn how to use accounting software and they just absolutely hate numbers that they don’t want anything to do with it. Those are people that I would say book keep, hiring a bookkeeper is probably in your best interest.
And what would you say is important to look out for when hiring a bookkeeper? Because there’s so many that you can find online now that if someone’s just like, doesn’t know any bookkeepers personally, or doesn’t have anyone to recommend someone to them, how would you recommend they start like shopping around for a bookkeeper that’s right for their business?
Yeah, I would say in the day and age of social media, social media is great. Like you can just do a search on Instagram, TikTok, things like that. And so many business owners can come up and everyone specializes in something different, like some bookkeepers work with, um, e-commerce businesses. Some work more with service-based businesses. Some only work with women. Some work with a bunch of different industries. So just finding one that you feel like fits your industry best.
and that you connect with as a bookkeeper is really important. And what you want to get out of a bookkeeper, because there’s bookkeepers at all different price points. Some are like low cost, but you’re probably not getting the same value of service than someone who’s more expensive and they’re giving you more individualized time and attention and walking you through what these numbers mean and what they mean in your business and how to apply it to your decision making and things like that.
That’s all so good. So let’s get into the goal planning portion of this. So let’s start off with why is it even important to set clear financial goals for homemakers and business?
Yeah, so it gives you a roadmap and direction for the current year. Like what are some of the things do you want to accomplish? It might be a year of growth or reinvesting in your business and taking time to outline that in the beginning of the year can be huge too, in order to figure out what you want to prioritize for that coming year. But something that’s super important with setting like financial goals is you need a baseline. So you need to know.
like your current or your prior year’s numbers in order to set clear and accurate goals for the new year. Cause if you have no idea what like your profit was or anything like that, how are you gonna be able to set accurate and attainable goals without knowing how you performed in the prior year?
Oh yeah, I love what you said about knowing your prior year profit and loss. That is very, very important because, like you said, you can’t even begin to imagine what kind of goals you need to set for what’s realistic for the coming year if you don’t know what you’ve been doing. So with that in mind,
If someone is kind of lost on what kind of goals to set, maybe they haven’t been keeping up with their bookkeeping in the past. And like, that’s like one of their goals for this year is to start doing it. What kind of goals can they set? Like where can they even begin to start?
A big goal that I see people set is the sales goal. And while sales is important in your business, it’s only just a number what you should be focusing on in your business is the profit, which is the bottom line. That’s all of your sales minus all your expenses. And what’s left over is your profit. And that’s what you use to pay yourself, reinvest in the business, things like that. And that profit should be what you pay your taxes on.
things like that. So without knowing your profit, it’s hard to set goals. So if you’re looking to set clear financial goals for this new year and you haven’t been paying attention to your profit, I would really prioritize profit over sales for 2024, because that is what’s gonna have the biggest impact on your business. Because that’s gonna be what enables you to pay yourself more, invest more in the business to hopefully see more growth down the line.
Yeah, so it kind of helps you decide too if you need to increase your prices or how many clients you need to book or how many products you need to sell. Kind of helps you to really outline your entire year as far as what you’re going to do in your business, right?
Yeah, totally. And you also you want to tie in your like your personal expenses and everything too into your business. Like what does my business need to be producing in order to support the lifestyle that I desire and then figure out from there? Like this is what I want to sell. These are some of the expenses I’m foreseeing in this year and kind of plan around that of what you want your business and your personal life to be like in the new year.
Hmm, I love that because I’m, I talk a lot on this podcast about like lifestyle and business integration and not really doing the whole balance thing because what even is balance. But yeah, the whole point of having a business is to be able to live and like make financial purchases and live your life the way that you want to. And that’s going to look different for everybody because, you know,
So many entrepreneurs want to just like reach that coveted like 10K month or 100K year or whatever. But like, how do you break that down into what that actually looks like for somebody? Because someone could say that they want to make $100,000, but do they need to make that to, you know, cover their expenses and what they want to do to like live their life and enjoy their life? Or is that going to be like the bare minimum for someone?
Exactly. It’s different for everyone. And that’s something that so many people get tripped up on with social media is seeing other business owners say, Oh, I made a 10 K month, a hundred K year, but they don’t even say what that is. Like, is that sales? Cause if it’s sales, they could be actually operating at a loss if they have big expenses. So you really need to individualize your finances to you and your business. Cause you can’t really apply your own finances to.
other businesses under other industries, because they’re going to have different profit margins, things like that, different operating expenses than your business. And they might even have a completely different lifestyle and cost of living area. It all goes in and ties into your business finances and how you want your business to perform.
Absolutely. So could you provide some like practical tips for listeners to start their financial goal setting process for the coming year?
Yeah, first I would do like kind of an activation sequence, like something that gets you excited about your numbers, like take yourself out to a coffee shop or clean your desk with a nice coffee or something that gets you excited like pair doing something you don’t like to do is something that you love to do to make it more enjoyable and something that you will actually do because so many business owners, they say they’re going to do their finances, but then they never do it. So do something to make it fun. So you actually
sit down and do it. And a good way to get started is like just looking at your bank statements and seeing what’s coming in, what’s coming out, and then organize that either in a spreadsheet or an accounting software to where you can see your profit. And you could even take your bank statements and create a budget. A budget is not like you have to stick to it, but it’s just like a rough.
outline of how you want the year to go. You figure out what expenses you are going to incur in the year and then figure out what your sales want to be. Like, are you thinking about creating a new offer? Add that in there so it gives you a rough outline and you can set financial goals and keep track of it based on that budget.
Did you finish talking?
Okay, your video glitched out for a second. And so I wasn’t sure if your audio did too. But I love that. I’m actually going to be doing some of that here soon. Like I said before, we’re obviously recording in advance. It’s December. So I haven’t like set my financial goals for the year yet, but that’s something I’ll be doing in the next couple of weeks. For someone though, that has waited until after the new year.
to like even consider this, maybe they haven’t even thought about setting financial goals. What can they do to start to like decide one small goal for the year? Like what can they do now that the new year is already here? Maybe they’re feeling like they’ve already failed at setting goals for the year because they’re doing it past January 1. So what’s some encouragement you could give that person?
Yeah, you can set goals anywhere throughout the year. Businesses are constantly evolving and changing. And when you’re a business owner, you get to learn your own unique client in your business journey, like sometimes some months are busier than others. And you can really use that to your advantage to plan, like maybe plan a promotion for when it’s slower. So you bring in more money than you expected.
or those months, like you can always be not even looking at your finances, but setting financial goals just based on what you notice in your business, like the ebbs and flows of when it’s busy, when it’s not busy and be like, I want to set out a goal for myself to maybe run a promotion to get more clients during what’s usually a slower season. And then you can always like, maybe your business got really busy all of a sudden and you have more.
cash than usual and you want to invest, you could be like, oh, I’ve been thinking about taking a mastermind or doing brand and web design. Like maybe now I can afford that when I didn’t expect my business to grow at the rate it is. So just constantly auditing and evaluating what’s happening in your business, both non-monetary and monetary.
it cut out again. it’ll upload fine, but i was just getting little bits and pieces there towards the end of that.
Okay, yeah, I just finished saying it was non-monetary and monetary goals you can set.
Okay, cool. Well, along that same line, what are some strategies and tips for tracking your progress towards your financial goals throughout the year? Do you have your clients journal? Do you just have a meeting with them and talk them through what they might want to do or what they are doing and if it’s being successful or not? What are your strategies?
Yeah, so definitely looking at your numbers on a monthly basis because then you can see something that might be working really well or what’s not working really well and make changes in real time. And I find that sometimes I have calls with clients and I used to do that more often, but I noticed that clients, once you give them the information in a way that they can understand, they can take with it and run with it to make better decisions to improve
their profitability. Like some of them make big investments and they take a hit one month, but then a couple months down the line, that ROI is starting to pay back and their profits are increasing because of those investments. So just continually looking at it in a consistent basis because once the year ends, you can’t go back and change things. Even if you wish you could, but it’s too late. So that’s why looking at it every single
month or at least once a quarter is so valuable for your business because you could see, well, I’m spending way more than I thought on this expense and it’s not really necessary. Like maybe I can cut it or maybe even for revenue, you might be like, oh, this product is bringing a lot more revenue than this other product, but I’m spending way more time on it and it can give you ways to like shift your focus and even your advertising efforts.
by looking at your numbers every single month. And then like tax time comes around, but to do tax planning is like huge in the fall and towards the end of the year, like meeting with your tax preparer. But in order to do that, you have to have your numbers, but meeting with your tax preparer and tax planning is huge in creating a strategy for, maybe you wanna spend a lot more money at the end of the year so you have a lower tax bill or maybe you wanna push those expenses to the new year.
and just working with a tax preparer to figure out what’s going to get you the most tax deductions and credits is huge. Implekeeping is directly tied to that.
Kind of, this is a little bit off topic, but on the same note, can you explain the difference between like a bookkeeper, a CPA, a tax preparer, like kind of break down those terms for people that might be confused. They may be thinking, oh, I’m working with a CPA. Are they not my tax preparer? Are they not my bookkeeper? Like what can you just break down those terms for us?
Yeah, so a CPA is a certified public accountant and I’m a CPA, but I only do bookkeeping and a CPA can be a tax preparer, a CPA can be an auditor. So a CPA is just like a designation and then a bookkeeper versus a tax preparer. So a tax preparer is gonna take what the bookkeeper did and it’s gonna turn those reports into a tax return and the tax preparer is gonna work with you to do tax planning, uncertainty tax.
questions and things like that. And a bookkeeper is really gonna go in and do the day to day, month to month transactions and create those reports that the taxpayer then turns in to a tax return. And some bookkeepers do tax and bookkeeping, some tax preparers do only tax preparing, some do bookkeeping too. You really get a mix of both, but since I’m a CPA, I like try and…
focused on only the bookkeeper since there is a lot of interchanging of words, accounts, CPA, bookkeeper that it can be overwhelming.
those definitions were great. I think that’ll really help a lot of people like oh this is who I’m working with and this is what they actually do.
All right, so kind of back on topic of the financial goals. What are some key metrics that people can be tracking and monitoring throughout the year to make sure they’re on track to achieve their goals? So if someone’s goal is to say, increase their profits, what is something that they need to be tracking to know if their profits are actually increasing?
That’s a really good question. So I had said earlier, like focus on profits, but in order to know what your profit is, you have to like comb through all your transactions to categorize the buckets that are like sales items versus expense items. So your profit is the sales minus the expenses. So you want to organize your expenses like broken out by category. Like this expense is advertising.
My Zoom subscription is software, things like that, to get you to the bottom line of profit. And then if your profit’s not where you want it to be throughout the year, that’s the beauty of doing it, your bookkeeping throughout the year, because then you can make changes to increase your profitability by the end of the year and really hit those goals of having your business support your lifestyle or being able to reinvest in your business accurately is by looking at them every single.
month and looking at that profit so you can make changes in real time, which is because profit is what allows you like freedom and flexibility. So really focusing on the profit and making changes to get to where you want to be based on profit.
I love that. All right. So how can women develop a more positive and empowering relationship with their finances, especially if they’re ones that have quote unquote not numbers people, they hate math, or they just avoid it because they think they’re not going to understand it. Just how can you encourage them?
I would say, get comfortable looking at it every single month, which I know is not the easiest, but I find that most business owners get that fear and anxiety around numbers and money is because they put it off and put it off and it’s just looming over them this thing that has to get done. And they’re anxious to see, they’re like scared to see what the numbers are going to tell them. They don’t want to know because they think it’s going to be bad. But when you confront it and you actually sit down.
and do on a consistent basis becomes way less intimidating. And then once you get in a pattern of doing it and doing it consistently, it turns into motivating and exciting because you’re like, I wanna see how my profit turned out this month. I wanna see if it’s better than last month. And then it starts to get like motivating and like a game like, okay, what can I do to make it even better for next month? And that’s when it becomes exciting instead of scary and intimidating.
I love that you compare it to a game because that’s how I think of it. Because you look at your numbers like from the previous month or the previous year or whatever, and you’re like, oh, I wanna beat that. And then you’re like playing a game against yourself, which is so much better than trying to compare what you’re doing to somebody else or like, people share their numbers on Instagram all the time and who knows if they’re true. Like people could be lying, we don’t know.
So knowing your own numbers and comparing yourself only to yourself and your own business does make it a lot more fun. So on that topic, do you have any more tips for how to actually make finances feel fun?
Well, like I said earlier, the activation sequence, like maybe every month you have it blocked on your calendar for, I don’t know, Tuesday afternoon to go out for coffee or go out to lunch and bring your laptop with you to sit down and do your bookkeeping. Like do something fun with it and like take yourself on a date and do it then and just block the time on your calendar for the same time every month and don’t push it off because so many physical centers.
push it off, do it. It’ll make you feel so much better and confident about your business and it’ll get you excited to do your bookkeeping and then you’ll be excited to see where your numbers are. When you do it every month and you’re like, I wanna see if I beat last month’s profit and whatnot. And it just becomes fun when you make it fun.
I love that. That’s such good, such good advice. All right, so let’s get into some fun rapid fire questions. These are gonna be a little bit more personal questions, like to get to know you a little bit better. So the first question I have is, I saw on your website that your dream is to own an A2A2 cowl, and as a homesteader I love that. So can you tell me more about that dream?
Yes, if you don’t know, well, I’m a big health freak, but A2A2 cows, lactose intolerant people can have their milk. Like it’s the, I don’t want to get too technical, but the most conventional milk is A2A1 and the A1 like casein protein is what makes people lactose intolerant. So people who are lactose intolerant can have the A2A2 dairy. So that’s all I drink. And I used to have a reaction to dairy and now I don’t.
and it’s changed my life. I want a cow now to produce A2A2 dairy so I don’t have to buy it because it’s hard to find at most grocery stores.
What area do you live in?
I live outside of Philadelphia.
Okay. Yeah, I don’t know much about the surrounding area of Philadelphia, but we went to Philly about five or six years ago. Love that place. We went to New York in the same trip. I’m a much bigger fan of Philadelphia. Did not like New York. But anyway, a little off topic. Yeah, we get milk
Oh, it’s so premium good.
I live out in the basement, so it’s a lot easier to find.
Yeah, I live not far from Lancaster, which is where all the Amish live, so usually I try and get my milk from there, but it’s a little bit of a far drive, but the A2A2, it’ll never go back. It’s so creamy and rich and good.
Do you still get it with like the cream on it and everything?
That’s my favorite part is using the cream light for my coffee and stuff in the morning. I love it.
Yes, and smoothies, things like that. So good.
Mm-hmm, absolutely. All right, so what is your favorite non-work thing, I’m gonna start that over, I like completely butchered that sentence. What is your favorite non-work related thing to do?
I like houses, like that sounds so weird, but I live in an area where there’s so many historic houses and so much history behind everything, like the Revolutionary War was filmed in this area. And so there’s just houses from those old times and such cool architecture, even when I travel abroad into different cities, just seeing the architecture of everywhere and seeing the history behind it. I love that kind of stuff.
Hmm, me too. That was one of the things that made us love Philly over New York City was everything in New York is so, I don’t know, I didn’t dislike New York City. I’ll just go ahead and say that. I would go back, but I preferred Philadelphia over that. And the architecture had a lot to do with that because it’s so much more interesting and historical and like just, I don’t know, it felt like walking in stars hollow.
Yes, exactly. Especially towards Independence Hall and the Leopard Day Bell and all that stuff. There’s so much history there.
So cool, I love it. All right, now what is a book or a podcast or another resource that has helped you in your business, in your life, just any area of life or business?
Um, I really like Elizabeth McCravey’s podcast, the breakthrough brand All Access. She is such a powerful entrepreneur and she covers so many topics on her podcast. I love listening to that and taking advice from her. That’s like one of the first podcasts I found when I started my business and I’ve stuck with it ever since.
Yes, me too. I love Elizabeth. She has been one of my business mentors for several years now and I started listening to her podcast I Got I guess it was probably like her third or fourth episode is when I found her one of the very first podcast I ever started listening to so I love that we have so much in common All right, and finally this is just something that I like to ask
at the end of every guest interview because of the name of the podcast. But what does being a homemaker in business mean to you?
Just the freedom and flexibility to choose. Like I don’t have kids right now, but I started my business. So when I do, I have the opportunity to only do that and not have to work for someone else or work a nine to five where I have to be away from my kids or my home. It really provides just the lifestyle that I want of like being around like my kids and raising them instead of having someone else do it.
I love that. Alright, Olivia. Well, the last thing, can you tell everyone where they can connect with you and hire you and get to know you more? I love that.
Yeah, you can follow me on Instagram at frolicbookkeeping and my website is frolicbookkeeping.com.
Thank you so much for being on the podcast.
Yes, thank you for having me. It was so fun.
Simply put, I’m a graphic designer that specializes in brand identity design and Showit website design - arguably the most important aspects of your business! I live in central Alabama with my high school band directing hubby, Thomas, on our modest homestead in the country.