How to Manage Your Finances without Spreadsheets with Caro Syson

It is more important *than ever* to track your finances - business related or personal.

But what’s the best way to track your business finances?

How can you easily see who still owes you money?

And is there a magic tool that allows you to track more than just your finances?

I recently spoke with my friend, Caro Syson on The Social Brain Podcast about how to track your incomings and outgoings (without spreadsheets!) to really know if you’re putting all your energy into a hobby or a profitable business.

Prefer to listen to the audio version of our conversation? Go here

Nobody starts a new business to do more business admin, do they?

Yet as a business owner, there’s a tonne of business admin that needs to be done, including tracking your finances. 

Caro Syson created Pocket PA,  a one stop platform to help make your life easier. It joins up all the dots in your business so that you can run your business without needing to spend endless amounts of time on your business admin.

Pocket PA is a tool that you can use without needing to manage all your finances with spreadsheets. Because, let’s be honest, excel spreadsheets aren’t what really lights us up. 

Yet it’s essential to manage your figures and your numbers. It's vital for small business owners and we can't stress enough how important it is that you get intimate with your numbers. So let’s take a look at how you can get up close and personal without using boring spreadsheets.

Why you don’t need to rely on (boring) spreadsheets to track your finances

If you’re a lover of spreadsheets, fear not. Pocket PA has an option for you to export a spreadsheet once you’ve entered all your info. But the spreadsheet isn’t the fun bit.

Caro explains: “If you want to export one, you can export a spreadsheet at any time but for you to be able to track all your income and expenses, which is what every business owner needs to do, it's really important that you are clear about your numbers and you can do it in a way that doesn't involve entering it into spreadsheets. You can do it in Pocket PA.

You become a data enterer into your software tool, and it will put all of that stuff in the backend into a spreadsheet and data tables and stuff, but it delivers it all out to the front end in a way that's super easily digestible. 

It's delivered in colour, in income dials and net income dials, in a way that you can just glance and know straight away whether your business is a hobby or it's a profitable business.”

What are the most important numbers you should be focusing on as a business owner?

Business is a game of two halves. It's essentially all about what's coming in and what you've got going out. The difference left is hopefully going to be your profit and the more you've got coming in and the less you've got going out, the bigger that profit's going to be.

But one of the other key things that people forget about because they are so busy, is the money that’s still owed to your business for services that you've already delivered or goods that you've already given to people. 

The list of outstanding money is really important to keep on top of.

Inside Pocket PA, within one of the income dials, is a line that says ‘left to pay’. With the click of a button, you can see a list of everybody that owes you money, what was sold to them and how much is left to pay.

Keeping track of what’s still owed to you is super important. And it’s also important that you’re not afraid to go back to the client and remind them that they owe you money. 

Why is Pocket PA different from every other software out there?

Pocket PA was created by Caro for her 19 year old daughter when she came home one day and announced she wanted to work for herself. Being the supportive mum she is, Caro wanted to encourage her in her desired career and give her the confidence to achieve her goals. 

Caro started researching software tools that’d help her daughter manage her business, including staying on top of the finances. There were so many apps to choose from yet they were all either a client database or a huge data system or calendar booking or accounting software.

Nothing on the market covered all bases in one. When Caro couldn’t find what she wanted for her daughter, she set about building it herself. 

Nearly 6 years on, Caro shares: “As I carried along the journey, it became more and more apparent that there were so many people that work just like Megan, that have dyscalculia and an aversion to spreadsheets that don't like the numbers, which, you know, they want to focus on their clients and their business, their businesses. 

The admin doesn't light them up and it's non-income producing, so they want to get through it as quickly as possible. They don't want to spend weekends pouring over all of their admin tasks. So it was kind of spurring me on thinking, right, I've gotta make it quicker, faster, easier, simpler.” 

And so Pocket PA was born - a one stop platform to help make your life easier. It joins up all the dots in your business so that you can run your business without needing to spend endless amounts of time on your business admin.

How often should you be checking your finances as a business owner?

We know this may sound boring but the truth is, the more you check your numbers, the more profitable you can become. So you should really check your numbers daily.

Using Pocket PA, it’s easy to make this happen. When you open up the app daily, you can instantly see what you’re going to be earning in the week ahead, what you’ll be spending, what’s left for you and any money that’s still outstanding.

And whilst we’re talking about finances, Caro shared this important point: “People often focus on: ‘oh, I've got a six figure business, I'm turning over, da, da, da, da’ and that's all very well but what the heck are you spending out the other side?

It's like your turnover is your vanity, but your profit is your sanity. It doesn't matter that you’re making six figures, if you are also spending nearly six figures, your actual take home pay is going to be very little. It's not about how much you make, it's about how much you keep. And how much you keep depends on what you've got going out so you've got to know what you've got coming in.”

How to reduce no shows and prepare for tax with Pocket PA

One of the most popular things that people love about Pocket PA is that it can send out automated client notifications. When you put an appointment into the diary, it will send out a booking confirmation and then you can use a template to send out automated reminders to your clients. 

For example, if you're in the beauty industry and you see the big salons using expensive, swanky software to remind clients of their appointments, you don’t need to worry about needing a big budget. You can do that in Pocket PA and have the same professional effect. You can choose whether you want to send it 24 or 48 hours before their appointment.

This massively reduces the number of no-shows or people forgetting their appointments. This keeps you earning money and means all your slots are full.

Afterwards you can automate a thank you message which adds a special personal touch - great for your retention rate! 

Another fab feature is the tax estimator button. 

Based on your income, your expenses and what you may have historically paid, it will tell you what to set aside on a weekly or monthly basis. You can then move this money into a separate little savings account so that you’ll have money saved already towards your tax bill.No more dreading tax time!

How much does Pocket PA cost a month?

Has the idea of Pocket PA got you feeling excited about tracking your finances? Here’s everything you need to know about signing up for the software.

  • You can register for a free 14 day trial via 
  • There are three different plans available based on your needs
  • An annual plan starts at £12.49 per month + VAT
  • There’s no need to download an app, simply open up the software in your web browser

Caro Syson is a mum of four and Founder & Creator of Pocket PA, an all in one financial tool for small business owners that makes it easy to keep track of your finances, your bookings and your clients, all in one place. 

Follow Caro on Instagram and get your 14 day free trial of Pocket PA here.


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