Lisa is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), business advisor and personal finance expert in Toronto who helps people make intentional decisions with their money. She works with female led-startups and self-employed women to grow their profits and create a sustainable income.
As a one-on-one advisor, her personalized approach to financial planning helps her clients achieve their goals by growing their income and aligning their spending with their priorities.
As an inspirational educator, Lisa leads workshops that infuse mindfulness principles with financial concepts delivered in a fun and approachable style.
She also has a financial advice column, “Ask Lisa” on the stnce.ca platform. If you have a personal financial question that you’d like answered, click the link and submit your question.
Since Lisa is a CPA and an entrepreneur, I wanted to get her perspective on finance from both sides – as a female founder and female in finance.
Female Founder Perspective:
Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?
Managing cash flow has been a challenge from day one! The first obstacle was figuring out how to replace my 9-to-5 salary with income from my business, which by nature is far less consistent and more unpredictable than a paycheque. Once the money started coming in, I then had to figure out how to balance building a sustainable (read: profitable) business model with investing in the growth of my company. Too little investment and your business stagnates; too much and you can’t pay the bills.
This experience taught me the importance of keeping your books up-to-date! Without accurate financial information it’s really difficult to make sound business decisions. It took me some time, but I managed to develop a bookkeeping process that helps me keep everything in order in under 30 minutes a week (hint: I rely on an app called Hubdoc as my virtual bookkeeper).
Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?
About six months ago I read the book Profit First and implemented its strategies right away. In a nutshell, the author suggests creating several separate bank accounts to hold cash for your income, profits, taxes, salary, and operating expenses. While you can track these funds using a budget, in reality we usually default to looking at our bank balance to see if we can cover our bills – and forget about the amounts we need to set aside to pay the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and ourselves. This simple strategy has made cash flow planning a breeze, not to mention my business way more profitable!
Paolina: What topics would you want to learn more about when it comes to finance and your business and why?
Right now, I’m looking at funding that’s available to women in business and small businesses in Canada. I’m in the process of applying for grants that will help me grow The Wellth Company, and at the same time, I can teach my clients how to access this same funding for their own business. That’s one thing I love about my work… every time I learn something new I can pass that knowledge along and directly impact another woman’s business for the better. It’s so rewarding!
Female in Finance Perspective:
Paolina: What is the most common finance issue you see within your business/with your clients?
Most clients come to me looking for guidance and clarity on making financial decisions. They are confident when it comes to servicing clients and developing products, but, struggle with managing the day-to-day cash flow, and, are never really sure if they are profitable or not. Because I am both a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and a small business owner myself, I not only have the skills to help them sort out their financial challenges but I also get what they’re going through because I’m right there with them.
Paolina: What are three things that every business owner/entrepreneur should know/learn/understand about finance?
- Sales are a vanity metric – what you should really care about is gross profit (sales minus cost of sales).
- It’s difficult to make sound financial decisions without data. Bookkeeping and business plans are critical to success.
- Finance doesn’t have to be complicated. If you can add, subtract, multiply and divide… you can figure this out!