Owning a business can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying ways of meeting financial goals and ensuring that a person’s future is secure and fulfilling. Today’s economy yields many opportunities to people with different skills and strengths. One of the most basic aspects of running a business that is often left by the wayside is that of financial management. Usually only an afterthought, it is the financial management of a company that determines success. The perfect product or service doesn’t mean anything if the money generated goes into the business only to be misused or unaccounted for. Spending the money earned wisely and knowing when to save or invest in growth should be of paramount concern for a business. Everyone is aware of the fact that most businesses fail within their first year of operation. Often a major contributing factor that leads to failure is poor financial management. A review of the financial information for many failed businesses shows that the business would have actually been quite successful if the owners had just made sound financial decisions in all aspects of the business. It is always recommended to employ the help of a professional like a banking institution, financial planner or accountant. However, a business owner should understand, at the very least, the basic principles regardless of whether a professional is hired or not. This protects the business and the business owner from fraudulent activities. Keeping up to date with the finances and being aware of the principles involved will also beneficially affect other aspects of running a business. For smaller businesses it may not be practical to hire a professional for all of the financial work, but there several software programs available that help to educate the owner on basic bookkeeping techniques. A business owner should be familiar and comfortable with using the following: Day to day expense tracking – an owner needs to be able create and analyze reports that give an idea of the health of a business. Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable – An owner needs to be able to tell when payment is expected and prepare for any outgoing expenditures Of equal importance is the ability to determine the current financial state of a business and whether expansion is possible or even necessary due to competition. Being able to identify future trends that can positively or negatively impact a business will go a long way toward helping a business develop staying power in ever shifting market places.Regardless of the size of a business, the goals of the business and the owner should be kept firmly in mind. While smaller businesses may not immediately benefit or be able to afford an accountant that is an expense that should be worked into a budget as soon as possible. Accountants and even financial planners are able to keep a business on track. They can help to establish realistic long-term goals to increase the chances of success. With the help of a financial professional, cash flow problems can be spotted and tackled.