Have you started 2017 or still in free trial mode?
If you’ve decided that January was a free trial month and 2017 is going to start in February, then there is still plenty of time to set yourself some goals and review the year that was. Actually there is never a bad time to set or review goals. Most people generally do it at the beginning of the year because it’s expected that they make some kind of new year’s resolutions. Which, more often than not results in an unused gym membership or more bottles of wine in the recycling bin than anticipated.
Setting goals for yourself is just as important as setting goals for your business. Since money is the pulse of any business, it makes good sense to look at its overall financial health and see where you can make improvements.
Here are 10 tips that will help you understand what you’ve achieved in the past year – and what you might be able to achieve in the next which will help you on your way to setting some Goals for your business.
- Review your financials – It may not be the year end of financial. But it doesn’t hurt to go through all those sales receipts and invoices now, and check your bank account to make sure the figures add up. Quality accounting software such as Xero can make this process significantly less time consuming as it does most of the work automatically.
- Talk to your Accountant – One good reason for getting your accounts in order now is so you can share them with your Accountant for checking. Some Accountants might not want to look at the detailed figures until nearer the end of the financial year or may have a scheduled time for your work to be completed. Whatever the case may be, you will want these to be completed prior to attending your Tax Planning Meeting to ensure you have the right strategies in place and avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Review growth, revenue and sales goals – Take some time to reflect on the past year and ask yourself some important questions:
- Did your business grow?
- How did your revenues and profits compare with the previous year?
- Are you sales trending up?
- Does your expenditure over the past 12 months give any cause for concern?
- If you made a list of goals last year, did you achieve them?
In short, try to understand how your business has changed since the end of the previous year. If it’s grown, give yourself a pat on the back – and keep going. If you aren’t sure on the answers to these questions or the reports that your software prints out or you don’t like the answers you are coming up with eg business didn’t improve, it’s time to call your Accountant. This will help you get on the right track.
- Stay up-to-date with tax law and filing deadlines – Tax laws and codes change on a regular basis. Talk to your Accountant to make sure you’re up-to-date, and understand how any changes may affect your business. Ask them when you’ll need to file and pay taxes. Set up your calendar with the appropriate alerts and reminders for the coming year.
- Update your payroll – Be sure to update your internal systems, such as online payroll. With the right software this will be easy to do. Most cloud bases software such as Xero will automatically update changes. Items to consider include:
- Handing out bonuses – Check local legislation – you can probably pay bonuses now instead of waiting for the end of the tax year. It might help your tax accounting to do it sooner rather than later.
- Pay employees electronically – Pay your employees by direct deposit to save everyone time, money and resources. If your current software doesn’t allow for this, it’s time to consider moving to new software that will.
- Reviewing employee status – Make sure you know the difference between an employee and an independent contractor or consultant. Check the status of all your employees. If you get this wrong it will cost you money – and you may be fined by the government.
- Get your accounting software up-to-date – It’s hard to take a step back and evaluate your accounting software when you’re busy using it on a daily basis. It has worked for the last 15 years so why change it? Unfortunately, old software or paper based systems could in fact be costing your business money as it can be more time consuming then some of the newer software on the market such as Xero. A quieter period of the year is a good time to consider whether it’s working for you.
The benefits of online accounting are only going to continue to increase. Being able it easy to access your business accounts from anywhere, at any time, using a laptop, tablet or smartphone is really a game changer. You’ll also reduce your IT costs, because software maintenance and upgrades are handled for you. And online or cloud accounting is secure, with powerful encryption and remote backups. So there’s less chance of your vital business information being lost or stolen.
Do your research, find out which accounting software might be suitable, then try it out or contact your Accountant, they will be able to tell you if one software is better for your business over another. Most software packages have a free trial and this free trial can at times even be extended if signed up via your Accountant. We generally recommend that you make your final decision by April so enough time is allowed to convert to the new software and begin the new financial year fresh!
If you have any questions or are considering changing software, please do not hesitate to contact The Money Edge Team on 07 4151 8898.
Nicole Sabo | Marketing Co-Ordinator | The Money Edge | Bundaberg