Category Archives: Bookkeeping

Jackadder_Caroline Smith Financial Freedom | Profit First Perth Australia | Money coaching

Financial Freedom is a lifetime goal, not a quick fix

Financial Freedom is not to be rushed

When you get into business the term Financial Freedom seems to be more common than in the rest of the world. Unless you work in a financial industry that is. I understand why it is a priority goal for many people. We believe with Financial Freedom everything in our life will be better.

This may well be true and things may improve for you but there is a key issue most people make when it comes to setting the goal to being financially free. The issue is that most people set unrealistic timelines and try to rush their way to Financial Freedom.

Instead of taking time to understand their current financial landscape and additional time to get clear on the actual definition of Financial Freedom for them and those people who are most important to them, people throw themselves into taking financial related action thinking it will accelerate the process. But this is rarely the reality.

Often times this rush into turning financial frustration into Financial Freedom leads to more financial frustration with barely a skerrick of freedom on the horizon. As I find myself often sharing with clients; Financial Freedom is a lifetime goal. It is not the quick fix they believe it can and should be. Forcing Financial Freedom is not the solution.

If you are unsure where to start when it comes to expanding the profitability of your business working with someone like myself with expertise as a Profit Strategist is a wise first step to move you towards Financial Freedom. In my work with clients we explore things including

  • Your definition of Financial Freedom
  • What it means to you to have this
  • What it means to your significant others to have Financial Freedom
  • Your current profitability
  • How you have been increasing your profitability
  • Strategies that are personalised to you for sustained profitability increase over time
  • The role of your money and financial mindset
  • How Profit First can assist you to achieve your financial goals on the way to Financial Freedom
  • The potential negative impacts of things you’ve been doing up to now that is limiting your potential for Financial Freedom

Achieving Financial Freedom does not have to be complex. It is also not something to ever rush. As I said above, Financial Freedom is a lifetime goal. Also know it doesn’t have to be at the end of your life, or at retirement that you first begin to experience the benefits of your Financial Freedom goal.

Reach out and let’s chat. I’d love the opportunity to help you gain clarity on how your business can positively contribute to your Financial Freedom.

Book a time below.

Don’t let these stop you paying yourself

Do you struggle to pay yourself well?

There are many reason why business owners don’t pay themselves, but, in a recent survey, three key challenges to paying yourself well came through loud and clear.

Challenge #1: There isn’t enough money

This can obviously be a problem when you are first starting out but shouldn’t become a permanent problem.  There can be several underlying causes: not charging enough for your services, spending too much, having too many staff, maybe all of these together.

The good news? This is easily solvable. Using the Profit First system we can easily identify where the problem is, so you can do something about it.

 Challenge #2: I need to re-invest in the business to grow

It’s common to hear people talking about their 7-figure, 8-figure businesses as the goal to aspire to. But if you also have 7-figure, 8-figure expenses, is it really worth-while?

I’ve seen businesses who have managed to grow their businesses to $2M in turnover, with over 30 staff, but after 10 years, they still haven’t increased the amount of money they were paying themselves when it was just them and a couple of staff, so with inflation, they were going backwards. Plus, they were super stressed, with no social life.

What we really need to do is step back and look at why you started this business in the first place and how it supports your life. This is what makes Profit First such a great tool as it focuses on sustainability and, of course, profit.

 Challenge #3: I don’t understand the numbers so I don’t know what I can pay myself

You don’t need to! Well at least not all of them anyway.

If you have the right support on your team and build just a simple understanding of where your money is going – you’ll be fine.

My grandmother used the envelope system for managing the home finances, taking the money my grandfather gave her (his wages less the third he took for his cigarettes) and she would put it aside into different envelopes for rent, food, power, TV licence, whatever else she needed.  And she could only spend what she had, and she knew where everything was going.

It can be that simple. Just with virtual envelopes instead of paper ones.

This is how Profit First works for your business, by dividing your money up into separate bank accounts for every important purpose, so you can understand what is happening with your finances, without attempting to read confusing reports.

Want help?

If you’d like a bit of help to get started, I offer a Profit First Power Hour session. It’s designed for business owners who want to implement Profit First but have got a bit stuck doing it on their own.  The most common thing I hear is “I am confused about my percentages”. So in this session, we will work out your starting percentages, compare your business against the standard targets, and adjust as necessary.  We will identify the priority areas for you to work on, design a strategy to do this, and put a plan in place for improving your percentages over the next 12 months.

Learn more here.

Ready to book? you can schedule a time here

Understanding why managing money doesn’t come naturally

Humans have been exchanging things for items of perceived value for tens of thousands of years.  According to, the earliest known form of currency, the Mesopotamian shekel, emerged nearly 5,000 years ago. Coinage has obvious advantages over exchanging things like cows.

But once we started relying on coins there also arose an opportunity for someone to make them. This then led to someone controlling them and with that scarcity was created for others while they created wealth for themselves.

Managing money is not a natural concept, even though we think it should be

Early humans didn’t exchange money for their basic needs – they hunted and gathered, and built their own shelters, or used naturally occurring shelters like caves.  In the modern age, if you want food or shelter, you need money to pay for it.

This has simplified the exchange process for goods or services but creates the new problem of how you get more money.  You can no longer simply breed a new cow or grow some more grain (unless you are a farmer and that’s how you make your living).

For most people, managing money isn’t a natural process.  Studies of winners of big lotteries have shown that the same 5% of people who managed their money well before their win are the same 5% of people who still have money 5-10 years after their win.  The rest have returned to their former money position, or worse, because they have developed new, big spending habits. They go on to maintain these habits that they can’t meet. The cycle of money overwhelm and mismanagement continues.

Most of us have never been taught to manage money well

The first place we learn to manage money is at home, from our parents or other carers.  If they don’t manage money well, you probably won’t either.  It is not a given that you’ll be like the first people who showed you about how to relate to money, but frequently we pick up our money habits unconsciously and just live them without thinking, even when things are not working for us. We also pick up the habits and the fears and attitudes towards money that come from our money role models as children.

The other challenge is managing money is not regularly taught in schools.  There may be programs run by banks that claim to teach money management, but often they are just collecting information so they can offer the student a credit card as soon as they are legally old enough to have one.  This is how I got my first credit card around 18.

My money story

My mother talked to me about money.  I knew her mother used the envelope system, to put money aside for each important purpose, such as rent, food and electricity.  I love that I get to teach the modern way of the envelope system to motivated business owners.

I also knew my grandfather took a third of his pay to feed his 60 cigarette per day habit and my grandmother had to manage on what was left.  I also knew how much this upset my mother!  But they put their four children through tertiary education on a bus driver’s wage, which was an amazing achievement for the time.

I also learnt about my parents’ business – they were both GPs and ran their own medical practice.  I knew that it ran at 60% expenses and every time the bank manager was happy that they had nearly cleared the overdraft, the tax bill would come in and they would be straight back up to the limit.  These days most GPs work in group practices because of the economies of scale.

It’s not surprising then, that when I first read “Profit First”, the book by Mike Michalowicz, that it made so much sense to me.  It’s about setting up bank accounts as the new envelopes, for every important purpose in your business, and allocating a percentage of income to each purpose.  That allows you to easily observe the patterns in your business, identify the areas that most need attention, and gradually adjust the percentages to create a more profitable business.

If you would like to receive the first two chapters of Mike’s book, “Profit First”, click here or click the button below)

If you’d like to access my free guide The Profitable Business Plan for Creative Thinkers to support you to gain clarity about how to build a thriving relationship with money you can access your free copy, click here or click the button below.

Caroline Smith Profit First Professional Perth Australia

Meet Certified Profit First Professional Caroline Smith


I’m Caroline Smith, Profit Strategist and Certified Profit First Professional. 

I have been working as a bookkeeper for over a decade. Prior to that, I worked in IT as a project manager and business systems consultant. A major interest was helping people make the best use of the systems they had and helping them design and build new systems that would work for them.

Nothing is different in my bookkeeping business. I am always trying to make things better. I often get asked by business owners to help them make their businesses run better.

When I first read “Profit First”, I couldn’t put the book down. I could see that this was a methodology that would help me help my clients, in a consistent and logical way.

I also realised that, despite thinking I managed my own business pretty well, there were times when I took on large, expensive projects that I either didn’t have time to complete or didn’t give me sufficient return on investment. Net result – I didn’t get paid! No more. I’m important, and so are my business owners. I am looking forward to using Profit First to help more and more business owners achieve their dreams.