Connect with us

Accounting & Payroll

Paying Yourself First

Are you one of those entrepreneurs whose business makes money, but at the end of the month, you don’t seem to?

Donna McCallum




Do you pay yourself first?  Or do you pay yourself the ‘scraps’ left over once everyone else has been paid?

You have probably heard of the “Pay yourself first” concept, but the key question is, do you apply it?

As an entrepreneur, I know full well how it feels to pay everyone else first and then have nothing left for myself at the end of the month.  I did it for a few years on my own entrepreneurial journey.  After awhile it doesn’t matter how much you love your work or your business, if you are not paying yourself a good salary and paying yourself first you will be left feeling resentful and unhappy.  Neither of these emotions are productive for a thriving business.   Ask yourself…

  1. Who cares the most about this business?
  2. Who works the hardest in this business?
  3. Who is the most passionate about this business?
  4. Who has taken the risk on this business?

The answer, of course, is YOU and that is why YOU need to be paid first.  Without you – your passion, hard work and talent – the business wouldn’t exist. Thus you need to be rewarded first.

The moment you prioritise yourself in your business, is the moment that you will begin creating wealth for yourself through your business.

The question most entrepreneurs (who don’t pay themselves first) ask is “but what if I can’t pay my bills at the end of the month?”

The answer:  You are an entrepreneur and you’ll make a plan.

Some of your creditors may need to wait a week or two, but you will make a plan. I have experienced with the “Pay yourself first” phenomenon, once I started paying myself first the amount of money coming into my business increased to allow me to easily pay all my bills at the end of each month. I have observed this phenomenon it with many people who have done my Money Magic program too.  I can’t explain why, but prioritizing yourself attracts more money.I prioritise my payments in this order

  1. Pay myself first
  2. Pay taxes second
  3. Pay my lifestyle third (budgeted and within my means)
  4. Pay my business expenses last (and pay them in order of priority most important service provider to least important service provider)

You started your business with the goal of making money and creating wealth for yourself.  It is time to do so.  No-one else has the job or purpose of making you rich and wealthy.  That’s up to you.  If you don’t put yourself first, no one else will.

Upcoming Courses

Money Magic Seminars in October

In October, Donna McCallum  (aka The Fairy Godmother) is doing her 3 hourMoney Magic Seminars around the country to empower YOU create real wealth.

During the session you will learn about your relationship with Money, why you have the current Money Habits you do and how to change them into empowering habits to create real wealth.

Cape Town – Tuesday 11 October 18h45 – 22h00

Johannesburg – Thursday 13 October 18h45 – 22h00

Durban –  Saturday 15 October 10h15 – 13h30

Price: R200

To book your place go to: or call 084-207-0202 or email

Donna McCallum is also known as the Fairy Godmother. She has helped thousands of people in South Africa, the UK and the US focus on their dreams and goals. She is the author of The Fairy Godmother’s Guide to Getting What you Want and runs empowering 12 Week Money Magic Online Programme to help people transform their relationship to money. Prior to being a Fairy Godmother, Donna was a successful entrepreneur having started, built and sold businesses in media and marketing. For more info on Donna and the Money Magic courses, visit the Fairy Godmother website.



  1. Ann Williams

    Sep 29, 2011 at 10:25

    Sorry but I really do feel that the first obligation that you have as a business owner is to pay your staff first. You have made a contract with them and being out of integrity with them will do more damage than not paying yourself a full salary ever will.

  2. Haroun Kola

    Sep 29, 2011 at 11:42

    Thankfully I don’t have ay employees. we should all be independent contractors!

    • Ann Williams

      Oct 8, 2011 at 08:07

      Yes, it’s a responsibility. I think Donna is aiming at the entrepreneur who is ‘owned by’ their business rather than being a ‘business owner’. It seems to be a case of striking a balance between being a slave to one’s business (where everyone else’s needs come first) and not being responsible for others…
      I sorry that I won’t be able to attend this particular session because Donna’s reputation is awsome! She also runs what looks like a really cool online course so that anyone from anywhere around the country can still get the benefit of her wisdom (and fun attitude) about money – even if they are not in one of the main centres where she holds these introductory sessions.

  3. dyambu1

    Sep 29, 2011 at 14:14

    It now makes more sense to me. I will adopt the concept with immediate effect (although I may need an overdraft to pay my staff second. They are just less important than me but hey they are as well). Thanks for the eye opener!

  4. Josef

    Mar 25, 2012 at 17:04

    Pay yourself first is a great financial model to adopt, but many of those people who talk about this model seems to miss the obvious thing that makes it workable: decrease spending, increase profit and THEN take the increase in profits out of the business as a “pay yourself first” transaction. I once heard an expression that said that you first need to create space in order for success to happen. Well, in this case you need to create the profit space first, before you can pay yourself first (or pay yourself more). It’s pure common sense. There is no need to leave any creditors, employees etc waiting for weeks. Just change the situation so that everyone recieves their fair share of the money pie. When it comes to taxes: you can still pay taxes first and take your cut after that. If you can´t take your cut after taxes, then you need (once again) decrease your supplier spending or let some employees leave their job, BEFORE you pay yourself first. It seems like you somehow go on hope. “I pay myself first and somehow I will afford to pay creditors later”. That doesn´t sound like a rational plan, my plan is. You can´t act on hope, but you can act on pragmatic plans. People who have a well thought-out plan have no need for hopefulness.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Accounting & Payroll

The Importance of Outsourcing Your Payroll

One of an organisation’s biggest overheads is that of salaries and wages. And yet, if these are not processed on time, it can negatively impact staff morale and create the impression that the company is not financially stable.

CRS HR And Payroll Solutions




For a small business, payroll is normally the responsibility of an accountant or bookkeeper, but even administrators can sometimes be roped in to do the job, even though they have no expertise in the matter. This is where the value of outsourcing your payroll comes in.

When should you outsource?

  • If you want to grow your business but are not aware of ongoing legislative changes that could pose a risk to your company, then it is better to get professionals to assist.
  • Accountants and bookkeepers are not specialists and do not keep up with the compliance environment. If you outsource your payroll, you enable them to focus their core duties and not get bogged down by legislative complexities.

How to choose an outsourced service provider

Understandably, payroll is a sensitive subject dealing with highly confidential information.

This is often the last thing a small business owner wants to outsource. It is therefore vital that the company does its homework and researches the potential outsourcing partner thoroughly.

Instead of going with the first available service provider or the cheapest one, here are some questions to ask:

  • Is the service provider a one-man band and, if so, what backup resources are available?
  • Is the service provider a recognised payroll provider belonging to a professional body?
  • Do they have the necessary training and skills on payroll?
  • What does the service provider do to ensure it stays up to date with legislation?
  • How secure is the payroll data and can the service provider take on historic data?
  • How easy is it to recover your payroll data in the event of a disaster?
  • What value-adds can the service provider offer? These can include anything from leave management and third-party payments, to employee self-service, time and attendance management, and any other related human resource service.
  • Can they process salaries and/or wages hourly, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly?
  • Can the service provider accommodate your growth requirements if you open new branches?
  • Is the service provider able to assist with payrolls in other African countries, manage their currencies, and deal with their regulatory environments?
  • What processes are in place to ensure the timeous processing of payrolls?

The advantages of outsourcing your payroll

One of the most obvious benefits of going the outsourcing route is freeing up your resources to focus on your core strategic objectives. This ensures you provide quality of service and control costs while an experienced partner takes care of your payroll.

Here are a few other benefits:

  • Reduce operating costs.
  • Statutory compliance and consistent service delivery.
  • Access to the latest technology, as well as skilled and dedicated payroll resources.
  • Access to a secure, risk-free and confidential payroll environment.
  • Increased flexibility and responsiveness.
  • Streamlined internal processes and procedures.

This article was originally posted on

Related: Thinking of Immigrating to America from SA? Now Is The Time

Continue Reading

Accounting & Payroll

Wilting Away – How To Boost Your Financial Management Team After The Big Financial Year-End

Is your finance team wilting after a gruelling financial year end? Here are some great ideas to help them bounce back.

Revel Africa




Your finance team has put in long, back-breaking hours lately to ensure your business could close off the financial year. Aside from saying ‘thanks a lot’ here are some great ideas to breathe some fresh life into them, reconnect them with each other and with the business, and let them have some much-needed fun in the process.

Before we start, let’s clear up some misconceptions around team building events. When you think of team building, you probably think of awkwardly passing an orange squeezed between your chin and your neck at school, or awkwardly falling backwards into the arms of an embarrassed colleague at work.

This is why most people shy away at the thought of doing team building, because they fear embarrassment, or even worse, wasting their time. The source of the problem is that most HR departments and management view team building days as an activity-based agenda that will have a productivity-based ROI. Almost like a once-off fix – play games equals 12% increased productivity. However, they are mistaken.

According to the University of California: Team building is an ongoing process that helps a work group evolve into a cohesive unit. The team members not only share expectations for accomplishing group tasks, but trust and support one another, and respect one another’s individual differences.

So, we understand now that team building is:

  • A regularly recurring thing, not just a once-off activity
  • A combination of work, leisure, collaboration, problem solving and projects
  • Can be anything from a small picnic at work, to a weekend retreat.

When done well, team building is shown to make employees more co-operative, collaborative and, generally, more engaged in their work. According to Gallup’s findings on employee engagement in America, only 34.1% were engaged – which means a shockingly high percentage (nearly 70%) just couldn’t care less about their work.


While team building has its flaws, it is still one of the best ways to drive employee engagement. With that in mind, here are some great ideas to improve your finance team’s engagement for the remainder of 2019.

1. Accounting game show

Use a popular game show format to share and quizz information in an engaging format.

1. Split the department into teams.
2. Use questions that the team can use in their everyday work. You can even throw in interesting facts about employees (with their permission of course), particularly positive stories about their finance careers or accomplishments.

2. Idea-sharing lunches

Dial it down a notch and take the team out to a restaurant of their choice, or – if you are choosing – to a place that serves good food, for a casual staff lunch.

Use this time as a general catch-up session as well as a platform for creative conversation. You can also use this time to have a SME (subject matter expert) share some insights into relevant topics that will empower the team, but this should not be the sole purpose of what is meant to be a relaxing lunch.

3. Shape it up

In this fun exercise team members need to arrange themselves to form shapes as they are called out.

  1. Divide the team into groups of 10 members.
  2. A game coordinator shouts out a shape (for example, a diamond) and the teams must form the shape quickly within a limited time frame (eg 5 seconds).

Begin with simple shapes get everyone comfortable, then start calling for more complex shapes like “an oval on top of a rectangle” or “square inside a triangle.” Communication and cooperation are vital here to successfully form the shapes.

Ofcourse, the team that forms the shape first wins. The larger the group the more challenging the game is.

4. Guess the word

This tried and trusted game is where team members must guess a word that is pinned on a hat that they are wearing and cannot see, while the other members of the team try to explain it to them without saying the word.

  1. Bring a hat or cap, slips of paper, tape, marker.
  2. Write several mystery words on slips of paper, each word big enough to be read from two meters away.
  3. Split the teams into two.
  4. Start with the first team. One member wears the cap with the word taped onto the front.
  5. The one wearing the cap must guess the word by asking a series of questions within a minute.

The ones who know the word can only answer yes, no or maybe.The one wearing the cap must be able to deduce the word within the allotted time.

The team that gets to answer a mystery word fastest wins. Mystery words can be related to the company’s business, staff or completely random items.

5. Game of possibilities

Laughter, bonding and problem solving are all part of the team building experience. This game is ideal for both.

But first, it’s the rules of this game that make it fun! They are:

  • The person may not speak while making his or her demonstration
  • The person must stand while demonstrating
  • The demonstration must be original

Here’s how it works:

  1. Give a paperclip to groups of 5 to 10 participants.
  2. A person from each group takes turns to demonstrate a novel way to use the paperclip that has nothing to do with its intended purpose.

As you can see, this game can be used with other office items as well, instead of a paperclip (e.g., pen, water bottle, telephone, etc). Hopefully, your team will think up new and unusual uses for everyday objects and translate this experience to creating new ways to solve problems, use resources or motivate a team.

6. Campfire stories

This classic activity inspires storytelling and improves team bonding. Storytelling is at the heart of the community experience, and can get a large group to loosen up and share their experiences, and know each other a little better. Here’s how:

  1. Gather teams of 6 – 20 participants into a circle.
  2. Use a set of trigger words to kickstart a storytelling session, words like “first day”, “work travel”, “partnership”, “side project”, etc. Add these to sticky notes.
  3. Divide a whiteboard into two sections and stick all the sticky notes from above on one side of the whiteboard.
  4. Invite a participant to choose one trigger word from the sticky notes and use it to share an experience. They then stick their sticky note on the other side of the whiteboard.
  5. As the participant is sharing his/her story, ask the others to note words that remind them of similar work-related stories. Add these words to sticky notes and paste them on the whiteboard.
  6. Repeat this process until you have a “wall of words” with interconnected stories.

Always have a clear ‘why’

Whether you take your team away for a retreat, or simply do an on-site breakaway, be sure to have a clear understanding as to why you are doing this, and what goals you want to achieve through these activities. Otherwise you might fall into the ‘doing activities simply for the sake of activities’ trap. Remember, it’s always about making your team feel more connected to each other, and to the business.

You could consider involving some team members in the planning process, and over time, you’ll find which strategies are the best fit with your team. Schedule team-building exercises on a regular basis to maintain a more content and productive team. These activities will become a part of your office culture, and can help to promote retention.

Continue Reading

Accounting & Payroll

How To Strategically Minimise Accounting Costs As A Start-up

“Financial Compliance can be a costly exercise when approached carelessly”.

Kenlin Stride




As a practicing accountant one of the most common phrases uttered by clients is that “I will get to my accountant when I can afford one”. The reality is your accountant costs can be minimised when you applying some simple tricks to avoid being charged an arm and a leg.

I have compiled a few areas where you can streamline your business to minimise your businesses accounting fees. Please bear in mind these are guidelines and a consultation with your accountant will still serve you best.

1. The ‘Shoe Box’ strategy is dead and gone

The shoe box is a box filled with all your company and supplier invoices jumbled into one box. As an accountant when faced with the shoe box we smile because now we get to charge our hourly rate doing admin that could have been done by either you the business owner or one of your employees. Accountants make a large portion of their turnover from doing admin that could have been avoided if business owners had more foresight.

2. Separate personal from business transactions

Nothing is more time consuming for an accountant then having to comb through a business income and expenses only to realise through consultation with the client that personal items were accounted for as business income or expenditure.  As a rule of thumb remove all personal income and expenditure from your business in totality.

Related: Financial Management and Accounting Support for SMEs

3. Record keeping! Record keeping! Record keeping!

Simple record keeping can be your best friend in reducing costs. Here are a few guidelines to live by:

  • As pointed out in Number 3 have a separate bank account for business and another for personal
  • Date and Number your invoices, sounds simple but very few start-ups put emphasis on this administrative function.
  • Provide complete statements for the period requested by your accountant for your credit card and bank statements.
  • Keep supplier statements as this will aid your accountant especially during the financial year end of your business.
  • When submitting your debit/ card receipts and there is no accompanying invoice list on those receipts what was purchased.

4. Ask your accountant for a Retainer Agreement

A retainer agreement is a great way to ensure your monthly accounting costs do not fluctuate. With a traditional agreement your fees may spike when it is your company’s financial year end or when your taxes are due. With a retainer agreement your able to budget for a set figure payable monthly. This also translates to an attractive for your accountant who can now rely on a guaranteed cash flow injection monthly.

The bases for an accountants pricing will involve what their hourly rate is , the longer they spend on doing record keeping and deciphering what activities took place in your business the more you will be charged. Remember regardless of how close you are with your accountant or how simple you feel your business structure is your accountant will need as much information as possible to represent your business activities accurately on your financial records.

Continue Reading



Recent Posts

Follow Us

We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.