They say time goes faster the older you get, but that doesn’t explain how the end of the financial year has raced around again already.
You might be so busy with the day-to-day challenges of keeping your customers happy and growing your offering, that the 31 March deadline catches you off guard. And with Easter Friday falling right in the middle of this, I’ve put together some top tips to put you in the best position possible to start the next financial year.
Wave goodbye to bad debt
If you’re still chasing invoices from this financial year, now is the time to enlist some help via a debt collector or accountant – or consider writing them off. Think about whether your accounting software can take the hassle out of chasing payments, by sending online invoices or automated reminders so you get paid on time.
Pay your debts
Make sure your bills are accounted for, and that your payments are up to date. That’s straightforward when you’re on top of the process, but you may need to chase some paperwork from contractors or small businesses who are slow to invoice.
Keep an eye on compliance
Be aware of any tax and legislative changes that will come into effect at the start of the new financial year. Start by talking to your financial adviser, accountant or bookkeeper. They will be able to put you in a prime position so that you can capitalise on a positive change (like AIM). Forewarned is forearmed.
Have a spring (autumn!) clean
Consider how the increase to the minimum wage will affect your accounts. The minimum wage is rising from $15.75 to $16.50 on 1 April, so you need to plan for this, particularly if you have a larger, lower paid workforce. The last thing you want is to have to back pay missed KiwiSaver contributions and wages, or lose other potential tax-saving opportunities.
Put a smile on their dial
The end of the financial year is always a good time to reward yourself and your hard-working staff. Thank them for their contribution to your business. Take them out to lunch or consider rewarding them with a small bonus. It’s also a good time to review KPIs and come up with a fresh business and marketing strategy.
And a bonus tip for the new financial year:
It’s all about the goals
Did you achieve everything you intended to last year?
If so, great. If not, try to find out why and how you can achieve it this year. Make goals for the coming year and write them down to help keep you motivated as your business grows. Review your goals regularly to stay on track. Your trusted adviser should be able to help with all of this, so make sure you’re getting the support you need from your accountant or bookkeeper.
While you’re at it, take a look at your books – literally. If you’re still toiling away with spreadsheets then it may be time to consider how technology can benefit your business. Using a cloud-based accounting software makes your data more accessible, keeping you up-to-date, which can help you to reach your goals more efficiently.