Case study: Gianna and Katie started a business

Discover how Gianna and Katie got to grips with their business finances — here’s what they learnt

After much deliberation, Gianna and Katie decided to seize an opportunity and start a business together but the only problem was they’d never run their own business before. Here are some of the things they learnt about starting a business and running it successfully.

Seizing the opportunity 

Gianna, 41, and Katie, 36, had talked endlessly about the possibility of starting their own consultancy-based marketing agency, but were nervous about leaving the security of their “real jobs”. When an opportunity arose, the pair jumped in. While they were confident in their management and project-based skills, the financial side of starting a business was new. Where should they start?

Getting the right advice from the start

With a million things to consider, Gianna and Katie’s first step was to research what they needed to do and create a checklist. The most consistent piece of advice they received? Lean on people who have the expertise you lack. 

Setting up the business

To set up their business Gianna and Katie sought advice from an accountant, who talked them through:

The type of business structure they should choose. There are four common business structures in Australiacompany, trust, sole trader and partnershipand the accountant suggest that they choose a company structure, which would provide them with flexibility as the business scaled.

  1. Their legal and tax compliance obligations, such as reporting to ASIC and the ATO.
  2. The insurances they needed to consider, such as business risk insurance and WorkCover.
  3. How they would be paid through the business, and how any profits would be processed.
  4. How to choose and use the right accounting software to manage their billings and cash flow.

The accountant also recommended an annual tax planning strategy so that Gianna and Katie could review their business finances and effectively manage their taxable position.

Three woman sitting at a cafe working on laptops and laughing

Challenging but rewarding

Running a business is challenging but, ultimately, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. “I won’t lie—being my own boss is stressful at times, but it helps to know there are people out there who have our back. We learnt so much in that first year, and continue to learn as our business evolves,” Gianna says.

Tips for kicking off a business

Whether you’ve just started a business or are still in the planning stage, you’ll need to think about how you’ll handle your financial obligations. Listed below are some tips to help you get started.

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