End of financial year as a small business owner

From stressful and scary to simple and streamlined

Erin Smith
Xero

 

Receipts in boxes, haphazard spreadsheets, and a deep-seated fear of what end of financial year will bring? Not this time, says small business owner Bree Pagliuso.

We speak to the co-founder of Twosix Wellness to hear how she and her business partner Emma Udorovic practice what they preach and transformed a once annual source of stress into something oh-so simple.

 

Bree, tell us a little about your business Twosix Wellness

Twosix Wellness is a Melbourne-based workplace health and wellness hub. We provide tailored wellbeing services and workshops to organisations – anything from mindfulness, on-site yoga, to nutrition and delivering healthy snack boxes.  

My co-founder Emma and I started the business after 10 years working in the corporate world. We had both experienced the negative effects of that full-on and sedentary lifestyle firsthand, and took it upon ourselves to make sure health and wellbeing opportunities were available to every employee in every business in Australia.


You started your business in 2014. What was your first end-of-financial-year experience like? Did you feel prepared?

It was very stressful, ironically enough! Emma and I are both passionate about wellbeing, but neither of us claim to be financially minded.

We didn’t hold onto receipts, we didn’t know how BAS worked, and we had no idea about our cash flow. Each time the end of financial year came round, we never knew how much we’d have to pay back, or if we’d even put aside enough money to do so.

We used to scrabble together our documents, input details into an Excel spreadsheet, and send it through to our accountant. But even then I’d worry. Am I missing something? Am I including something I shouldn’t? Because it was one of those jobs that you always put off.


What led you to change the way you worked?

We were initially attracted to Xero for a number of reasons, but funnily enough, they had nothing to do with end of financial year.

Firstly, we wanted to look more professional to our clients through invoice templates and reminders. Secondly, we wanted to ditch our spreadsheets and boxes of receipts in favour of taking photos of our receipts that would be stored online. And thirdly, we wanted to access all that information from our phones – that’s just what people expect these days.

The Xero package was at a good price point for us so we signed up as a means of streamlining some of our admin. We didn’t have a true sense of what its wider functionality could do for us until we bought on a bookkeeper.


What was that experience like, bringing a bookkeeper into your business?

It was the best decision we ever made. It took Kacey some time to clean up all our data at the back end, but as soon as she did it stayed that way. Now being able to see the current state of our numbers is a stress-free process, at any time of the year. If ever anything seems out of whack, like an invoice left unpaid, we know she’ll be in touch.


What does end of financial year look like for your business now?

There’s no comparison. To start with, there’s no rush to get everything done because all the information flows into our accounting system, day by day, and we speak to Kacey every week. But more than that, the transparency means we know what we have to pay in taxes months in advance, so we prepare and manage our cash flow ahead of time.

That removes the fear factor, and I can’t tell you how significant that is for a business owner.  


How are you using that transparency at other times of the year?

So many big decisions and small experiments come back to knowing your numbers. We’re about to bring on a new hire, and we’re able to do so with confidence because we can see it’s financially viable. With Kacey’s help, we experiment with the rates we charge and the outgoings. We can even apply for grants, investments, or enter award competitions without the headache because the information is there at hand.


What would you say to any other small business owner thinking about trying out cloud accounting?

We’re not accountants: we’re two people with a passion for wellness. And that means it’s even more important we have an accounting system we can trust. As business owners, you need systems that give you back time to work on your business. That’s what Xero has given us.  

It’s helped us, as creative people, to create a process-driven business. You might think you can avoid the financial side but you can’t! End of financial year will always roll around but it doesn’t have to be a scary story of spreadsheets and lost receipts. It can be a source of inspiration and energy.

Online accounting is a simple solution but it allows you to be transparent, open and connected. I think they are all qualities that speak to our generation, and the type of businesses that are building for the future.  

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