Do your Christmas housekeeping!
- Chase up unpaid invoices to encourage payment before Christmas to get cashflow off to a good start for the New Year.
- Make sure your voicemail message and website mention closing date info and emergency contact details. Who’s responding to work-related emails while you’re on holiday?
- Is payroll all set up for the holidays? Don’t leave it till the last minute and double check your calculations.
- Shutting the doors over Christmas? Remember to give staff 14 days’ notice.
- Back up your client and financial data on all IT systems and run any anti-virus updates.
- Feeling hectic? Make the workplace more relaxed in the lead up to Christmas by decorating the office, organising a Secret Santa, playing festive music or letting staff dress more casually in the final few days.
Visualise, plan and prepare for growth
When you consider every large corporation started out as a small business, the idea of growth is exciting! To avoid growing pains, however, the first step is to create a focused vision for your business. Here’s how:
- Define your company’s values.
- Know your goals and make them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound).
- Write a company mission statement that aligns with your values and goals.
- Share your goals and mission statement with those who are going to implement it (your employees!) and get them on board.
When looking to expand, the visualisation and planning stage is sometimes half the battle, so don’t be afraid to ask an expert for help – you can always call us for a chat!
Know how much you’re spending on printing, advertising, and taking clients out to lunch? Or does it come as a shock when you do your GST returns? If your company is growing, your expenses may too, but in some cases it could be a lack of attention causing spending to creep up. Take a few minutes this week to track your expenses and see where you can save money or spend it in the right area to grow and develop your business.
Our three top ‘money-saving’ tips
- Ask yourself ‘Do I need to be spending that much, on that?’ Maybe it’s time to see what other suppliers are out there and look out for the best deals on office expenses or buy in bulk at a cheaper price.
- Invest in accounting software like Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks to make life easier.
- Check you are targeting your spend in the right area, is it growing or developing the business?
- By now you should be thinking about whether you have all the information you need to give us to complete your annual accounts. If you haven’t, put getting the information together to give to us at the top of your to-do list.
- Run your eye over all your compliance activities – not just FBT. Are you recording all income accurately and paying the right amount of GST? Are your PAYE systems robust? Ask yourself: “If IRD audited the business tomorrow, would I be able to provide them with full and accurate records?” If not, put things right asap. And if you’re not sure, call us for a chat.
- Being the beginning of a new income year, it’s also crucial that you plan and budget for the coming year if you haven’t already – cashflow is king! Managing your cashflow by having a good picture of your expected income and expenses (including tax payments) will help plan for the best timing of capital expenditure or coping with requirements of increased stock levels for your business. We can help you with this – give us a call.
- Now that 31 March has come and gone (whew!) it’s time to focus on other things. So why not update content on your website? The more fresh information, articles, downloads or new pages you add, the more frequently the search engines will visit your site. That means more chance at higher rankings – and reaching the customers that matter most.
- Have you got your electronic back up system sorted? It’s easy to let things slide (“It’s OK, I’ll do it tomorrow”) – but rest assured, systems can and do fail, so don’t leave it until it’s too late. Options for back up include using an external hard drive, flash drive or cloud storage. Get someone on your team to take charge today.
- With the end of the tax year approaching, check your systems and documentation now and plug any gaps. A good approach is to dig out the EOY checklist you got from us last year and use it identify any information you need to start gathering now. That way, you won’t be rushing frantically later when we need the information.
- Check your cashflow and tax position, using the tips in December Newsletter
- Get together with your team to make sure you cover everything needed if your business is closing over Christmas. Review your work site and equipment for safety and security. Back up your client and financial data on all IT systems and run any anti-virus updates.
- Let clients and suppliers know your close-down details or limited opening hours. Consider whether your office or website needs signage giving a contact number if the office will be unattended. Keep it general as you don’t want to flag too good an opportunity for thieves.
- Next month can be challenging for business. If you have a rush of Christmas orders or sales, you’ll have less time to deal with the load. Why not use what’s left of this month to make sure your financial information is as up-to-date as you can get it, so you can get the end-of-year picture as soon as possible after the Christmas rush?
- Your business plan is a document that should be kept current. You’re unlikely to have much time next month to review it, and there won’t be a lot of time when you return after Christmas before the new financial year starts. So why not look over your business plan now so it is at least partly revised when you return after the holidays?
- If you don’t have an office intranet, you can set one up to encourage your staff to make suggestions and give feedback. It will also facilitate project work, and can store useful templates, like leave application forms. It can be as basic as a shared Google Drive folder. Or you can get as detailed as a custom-designed system on SharePoint.
- If your business has a turnover of less than $5 million a year, IRD’s new option for managing provisional tax, the Accounting Income Method (AIM), will let you regularly calculate provisional tax – and GST – through approved accounting software. Why not get ready for this by contacting us to see if this will work for you.
- Are your records for rental income and expenses together for us to do your tax? One way of doing that is to get your hands on a good Rental Questionnaire template. Contact us if you would like one. Some rental situations can be complex, so talk to us if you’re unsure.
- If you’re not on top of insulation requirements for any rental property (see article above), make a note to get it done. In fact, with the weather improving, the workload for insulation contractors may be dropping, and that may get you a better deal.
- The end of this month marks the halfway point of the financial year. That will be a key time to lock in a picture of your cashflow, revenue, expenses and all financial information for the half year. Do it soon so you can respond promptly if there are problems.
Cashflow forecasting is important because if your business runs out of cash it won’t be able to operate. You now have one clear month before the third quarter to get the best possible clarity around cashflow. How often you forecast cashflow depends on the soundness of your business, although you really cannot do it too much. If your business is struggling, you should be forecasting and revising your cashflow every day.
Focus on cashflow now to:
- Identify potential shortfalls in cash balances in advance — like an “early warning system”
- Make sure your business can afford to pay suppliers and employees
- Spot problems with customer payments
- Have current information for stakeholders like banks.
If you would like to have a chat about your business cashflow, let us know.