As VAs we are no different to any other business owner – we have a number of business frustrations that we have to deal with – one of the most avoided/complained about being managing the financials of the business.

With the constant need to understand our processes and keep our costs low, we are often faced with the prospect of attempting to manage own business finances. And it’s tough. We face huge difficulties when juggling our finances – the reality of chasing payments from clients and managing an unpredictable cash-flow can be really stressful.

Not to mention somehow trying to figure out what to put away for tax, NI, VAT in some cases and to meet all the related deadlines. 

As VA business owners we are looking for simplification. We only have one pair of hands, and running our businesses and managing our clients is hard enough, without juggling invoices, expenses, tax and savings.

Our lives are hectic and complicated so we absolutely need a banking solution that is as simple, easy to use and jargon-free as possible. If a financial fairy godmother existed, she would be on our speed dial…

With VA businesses working with an average of 7 different systems to manage our (and their clients’) businesses, we are looking for a solution that integrates seamlessly into accounting systems.

We’re working on the fly, using our smart phones and tablets as portable office solutions and this isn’t going to change any time soon!

Jargon-free and relatable products are what small business owners crave.  Whether we run our businesses as a solo-preneur or have a small team working with us, we’re tired of confusing terminology and being offered products that don’t relate to what we need. What we need are solutions – solutions that help make business finances relatable to us.

Traditional business banking lumps all businesses into one pigeon hole, when in reality, every niche has differing needs. Yes, we keep financial records, but they could be on a simple Excel spreadsheet. We also have a clear vision of our goals and targets, but they’re not necessarily set out like a traditional business plan. Our entire business model is a lot simpler, so we need to be treated with a different solution to larger businesses.

And, perhaps most crucially, we just want to know what we need to know.

Charlotte Wibberley of VIP VA says: VAs start their own businesses because they often want  flexibility, independence and control. Unfortunately the money stuff gets in the way.. But banks are wising up, with many now offering apps and push notifications for transactions etc. However, those notifications usually have a delay of at least a day, before your transactions show up in your account. What VAs need is a simple, access-anywhere solution that simplifies their finances, financial obligations and actually helps them run their businesses in the smartest possible way.

And, that’s where Coconut comes in.

Coconut is a London-based banking service, built especially for the self-employed. They’re offering a solution that includes managing tax, tracking your expenses and helping you get paid on time. It’s run by current and former freelancers, so they have first-hand experience of running a small business and know how much of a hassle it can be, to manage your finances.

They use real-time data, so you’ll get instant notifications, and use smartphone apps to help you run your business smoothly. This includes reminders when payments and invoices are due, as well as tracking and categorising your spending automatically. One of the biggest benefits is that Coconut puts money aside automatically for your tax liability so you no longer have to think about it.

Coconut is launching their beta for sole-traders in January. You’ll be able to open a full business current account within a few minutes from your phone. And it will help you manage your taxes, keep your expenses in check and help you stay on top of client payments. You will also be able to share your data seamlessly with other tools, or your accountant at the click of a button.

Sam Connor of Coconut says:When we became freelancers we couldn’t believe how difficult it was to do the simplest things like managing tax or expenses. We started life as accountants and wanted to create one simple tool for freelancers to manage their money with zero effort. We’re launching to sole-traders in January and will get to limited companies as soon as possible.

You can find out more about Coconut and the awesome things they are doing HERE.