For many businesses, January marks the beginning of a new year of financial records, evaluations and sometimes, difficulties. For small businesses in particular, a lack of experience with banking can present a host of problems on top of other issues that startups already have to deal with.

"The biggest financial issue facing small business owners today is capitalization, specifically, difficulty getting loans," said Ken LaRoe, CEO of First GREEN Bank. "Even though lack of capital can affect any business, it is particularly prevalent and tricky for small businesses. This also acts to limit the development of many small businesses, because without sufficient capital they cannot afford to make key investments necessary for growth and expansion."

Whether you're applying for a loan or simply want to be more knowledgeable about business finances, there are plenty of things you can do to boost your financial expertise. LaRoe offered these three tips for small businesses looking to bank smarter in 2014: [5 Ways to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Small Business Loan]

  • Keep tabs on your accounts. Business owners should get all of their accounts — personal and commercial — in order and perform a realistic assessment of expenses and financial needs. Set aside time each quarter, or even each month, to review your accounts and re-evaluate your business finances.
  • Join a community bank. Community banks are the lifeblood and backbone of a small business- based economy, LaRoe said. Many community banks look beyond just banking services and are helping clients discover financial products they might not have otherwise considered through education and counseling.
  • Take advantage of professional services. Hire a strong CPA and have monthly financial statements prepared to GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) standards. Also meet frequently with your banker, who can provide great counsel to small business owners.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.