Disclaimer – I have been compensated for this post, but all opinions are my own. Please review the disclaimer for more details.
One of the many reasons to be on social media is when you follow people you can find out what is going on with their life or their business, such as if they are hosting events or workshops. I came across The Accidental Entrepreneur Workshop in my LinkedIn Feed.
The Accidental Entrepreneur is a hands-on accounting and legal workshop hosted by Shalini Dharna of Dharna CPA and Andrea Henry of Henry Business Law. It is designed for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs and aims to provide a solid legal and accounting foundation for their businesses.
The workshop was held at Make Lemonade. It was a small group size, which I perceive to be better when it comes to workshops. I find that in these settings, people are more comfortable asking questions/can ask more questions and it doesn’t seem as intimidating compared to a larger group.
Accounting and legal are two topics that I don’t see many workshops on compared to social media and branding ones. Don’t get me wrong, of course, the latter two are important as well. I often wonder if many people assume to leave accounting and legal to the experts and find that material somewhat dry ( I personally find it to be quite interesting). I still think it’s important to have a basic understanding so you can be better informed when it comes to making decisions for your business.
As a business owner, it’s important to know the various aspects of your business, everything from operations to marketing to legal, at least at a higher level.
The Accounting Portion of the Workshop
We started off the workshop with numbers. Shalini went over accounting fundamental topics such as the importance of understanding your numbers and to do your bookkeeping on a monthly basis. I really liked the fact that she pointed out success is not measured by just your bank balance and can be measured in different ways such as the types of clients and with social media.
She touched on the reality of how much are you willing to invest in this business and how many years are you going to give it? What is your walk-away number?
We also went over the different types of business income such as sales, commissions or fees, bartering, professional income (i.e. services you provide) and other (i.e. such as the value of prizes, gifts, etc).
What are some allowable business expenses? I.e. subscriptions, memberships and travel expenses.
I had taken Shalini’s workshop within the first few months of starting a business and at that time, because I was so new, I felt overwhelmed with information. There was still a lot of information the second time around, but I didn’t feel so overwhelmed. It was nice to have a review a second time around and learn some new things such as inventory reporting and inventory pricing.
A bookkeeping checklist was provided as part of the info package. It listed what documents and information were needed to do your bookkeeping, generate accurate financial records and complete your tax return at year-end. I found this to be a great resource to have, something I can review over the holidays and help me prepare for 2020.
The final portion before lunch was Tax Planning – and from a tax perspective, reasons to incorporate.
The Legal Portion of the Workshop
After lunch, Andrea went over some legal fundamentals.
She provided an example of the anatomy of a contract. The way she presented it was as a Choose Your Own Adventure Story (Does anyone remember those books?), which I thought was quite clever. There was also a checklist provided when writing or reviewing a contract. Questions to consider included – the expectation of both parties and how to get out of the contract.
We also went over when and if you need to incorporate and trademark your business.
Andrea provided a very comprehensive list for starting your business, which included the process for choosing a business and a name. A name isn’t just a name. You need to see whether or not the name is available and if it’s not registered by someone else. Not only that, you need to check if the social media handles for that name are taken. This is something I wish I had done prior to starting my blog. I had to resort to adding a 1 to the makinthebacon social media handles because makinthebacon was already taken.
How you want to set up your business is also very important – either as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation. She went through the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Other important items in the checklist included formalizing your relationship through agreements and wherever possible, to include an Alternative Dispute Resolution clause in your agreements (in case things don’t go according to plan).
We went over building a team properly and the importance of drafting agreements, depending on what type of people you have on your team – are they employees? Are they independent contractors or interns?
While I’m currently not in the process of building a team, it was definitely very valuable information to have if I ever decide to in the near future. I like to think of the business as a growing, breathing entity.
When you have a business, you have to get into the mindset that you are constantly learning. No matter what stage you are in your business – bookkeeping/accounting and legal will always play a part. As your business evolves, as it grows, your accounting and legal needs will grow and evolve along with it.