Meeting Your Responsibilities as a Small Business Owner

If you’ve got the drive, talent and great ideas required to start your own business, your focus is going to be on the exciting aspects of the work such as preparing your business plans, marketing strategies, and growth forecasts. You’ll be excited about finding markets for your offering, selecting the right people to work with, developing your brand, and making connections. What won’t be setting you alight is the prospect of all the responsibilities that come with owning your own business. Nevertheless, staying on top of your legal and moral obligations is something that can’t be ignored, so it’s best to find out what your responsibilities are and how best to fulfill them right from the start.

Financial responsibilities

You have a legal obligation to keep accurate financial records for your business, and if you start out in the right way, this shouldn’t be too onerous a task. Make use of modern accounting software to keep your books, which will reduce the time it takes and improve accuracy. You’ll also be able to create valuable reports for your own use to help you make decisions about the best actions to take for the business. If you have the budget, you can always employ a bookkeeper and/or a CPA to manage all the financial records for you. Or you can manage them yourself, but don’t get behind because you’re busy with running the company! The most essential task each year is filing your tax return. You can assign this task to an accountant, or use an online accountancy service to complete your tax return. Using a professional service will ensure you’ve filed correctly and on time, thus avoiding any problems with the IRS.

Legal responsibilities

There are three key tiers of law in the United States; federal, state and local. When you’re planning your new business, you need to find out which laws will apply to you. Some will apply to all businesses, e.g. tax and employee rights. Others will only apply to certain types of business, e.g. safe storage of food in a catering company. If you have the budget for an attorney, you can get them to do the groundwork for you and advise you on adhering to relevant laws. If not, you can consult your trade organizations for advice and look at official websites that detail the legislation in place to comply.

Moral responsibilities

This section includes pretty much everything not covered by legal obligations. For instance, you may be required to dispose of hazardous chemicals safely by law, but you may also choose to use energy efficient light bulbs, or reduce single-use plastic waste in your business. Likewise, there are laws protecting your staff’s legal rights, but you may choose to offer additional benefits not required by law but which you feel they should be given. How seriously you take these kinds of responsibilities will depend on you as a person and your character, but remember that being kind, considerate, thoughtful and generous will keep your workforce and your customers happy, so taking your moral responsibilities seriously is a worthwhile investment.

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