14 things business owners should do before 2014

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xOctober 8, 2013RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, offers 14 suggestions for business owners to think about before 2014 to improve profits, cash flow and reduce stress levels.

Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, said, “Many industries are still experiencing difficult times. The retail sector faces challenges such as the battle for online sales, decreased consumer confidence and unemployment. Resources, mining and manufacturing are encountering challenges caused by exchange rates and the high cost of doing business in Australia.”

The latest RSM Bird Cameron thinkBIG study showed that 64 per cent of SMEs are optimistic and believe their business will grow in the next 12 months.

Graham said, “To make the most of this optimism and ensure they have a clear path to growth business owners need to have strategies in place to end the year and start the new one in the best shape possible. This will also ensure that business owners can make the most of the holiday period.”

14 things business owners should do before 2014

1. Review the products and services you sell. Tailor the mix to appeal to changing customer needs for the holiday and new year season. Also, start considering and planning for other times in the year when customers’ needs change, for example Easter.

2. Review pricing structures to ensure competitiveness and profitability. Put formal procedures in place to monitor and proactively respond to competitor pricing changes.

3. Review stock levels. Make sure you can satisfy customer demand for profitable product and service lines. Identify slow moving stock that can be liquidated as “bargain buys” or bundled with other products as a value-add.

4. Review sales, marketing and promotion plans. Make sure plans are optimised to help achieve the best results not only during the holiday season but well into the new year. Ensure staff are aware of the targets for each week and be proactive in monitoring and addressing shortfalls.

5. Review staffing plans and confirm acceptance of the rosters by all staff. For non-retail businesses, annual leave plans need to be balanced and finalised as early as possible to ensure the business continues to operate effectively. Consider a shutdown period if the Christmas and New Year period is traditionally not busy to use up staff annual leave balances during this quieter time.

6. Review fraud and theft protection systems. Ensure all staff are reminded of their responsibility to be vigilant as customer traffic increases and the pressures of Christmas expectations can motivate increased customer and staff theft.

7. Review debtor lists and actively chase all overdue accounts. Any amount not collected by December 23 is unlikely to be collected until February or later. Collecting money owed to you is critical particularly over this period when the cash cycle tends to tighten.

8. Review the use of finance products for effectiveness. Overdrafts, premium funding, lease facilities and cash flow funding products can all be excellent tools to help match a business’ cash supply with planned outlays, and may be especially useful in managing cash flow throughout the holiday season.

9. Complete a GST health check. Small businesses are in danger of losing time and money because of unreliable or outdated business systems causing them to incorrectly report GST.

10. Set effective goals. The beginning of the new year is an ideal time to review goals set at the beginning of the financial year, ensure you are on track to achieve them and put in place an action if you can see areas that are not working. Important things to consider include retirement planning, present and future investments, maximising your superannuation scheme and reviewing assets.

11. Update your business plan. Make sure your business plan is updated regularly to reflect changing market and economic conditions. Keep in mind a solid business plan is critical in meeting financing requirements as many industries face increased scrutiny from government and financial institutions requiring a much higher quality of management reporting and strategic planning to support funding applications and reviews.

12. Strategically plan end of year gifts and entertainment to key customers, prospects, suppliers and business partners. This will strengthen relationships into the new year rather than simply being a cost of doing business.

13. Carefully plan end of year staff parties to reward and recognise efforts for the year. Remember your workplace obligations to provide a safe environment for the event in relation to alcohol and discrimination.

14. Remember that you deserve a break as well. Plan to take advantage of any public holidays or other time off to protect your own health and wellbeing and reduce the chance of illness disrupting your business activities.

-ENDS-

About RSM Bird Cameron
RSM Bird Cameron is the largest mid-tier accounting firm in Australia with national ownership and profit sharing and offers a full range of specialist advisory services, including business consulting and advisory, assurance and advisory, taxation consulting, corporate consulting and turnaround and insolvency. RSM Bird Cameron is a core member firm of RSM International, the seventh largest network of independent accounting and consulting firms in the world.

11 things business owners should do to start the new year in the best possible way

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xJanuary 15, 2013RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, offers 11 suggestions for business owners to improve profits, cash flow and reduce stress levels throughout 2013.

Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, said, “Many businesses in Australia are still facing a volatile economic climate. Some businesses have already started the new year with cash flow difficulties as the cash cycle has tightened considerably through December and into January.

“Having strategies in place to start the year in the best shape possible will help alleviate some of the pressure felt by business owners.”

Tips to get the best start in 2013

1. Review the products and services you sell and tailor the mix to appeal to changing customer needs for the holiday and new year season. Also, start considering and planning for other times in the year when customers’ needs change, for example Easter.

2. Review pricing structures to ensure competitiveness and profitability. Put formal procedures in place to monitor and proactively respond to competitor pricing changes.

3. Review stock levels to make sure you can satisfy customer demand for profitable product and service lines, and identify slow moving stock that can be liquidated as “bargain buys” or bundled with other products as a value add.

4. Review sales, marketing and promotion plans and make sure they are optimised to help achieve the best results. Ensure staff are aware of the targets for each week and be proactive monitoring and addressing shortfalls.

5. Review staffing plans and confirm acceptance of the rosters by all staff. For non-retail businesses, annual leave plans need to be balanced and finalised as early as possible to ensure the business continues to operate effectively.

6. Review fraud and theft protection systems and ensure all staff are reminded of their responsibility to be vigilant at all times.

7. Review debtor lists and actively chase all overdue accounts. Collecting money owed to you is critical when the cash cycle tightens.

8. Review the use of finance products for effectiveness. Overdrafts, premium funding, lease facilities and cash flow funding products can all be excellent tools to help match a business’ cash supply with planned outlays.

9. Complete a GST health check. Small businesses are in danger of losing time and money because of unreliable or outdated business systems causing them to incorrectly report GST.

10. Set effective goals. The beginning of the new year is an ideal time to review goals set at the beginning of the financial year, ensure you are track to achieve them and put in place an action if you can see areas that are not working. Important things to consider include retirement planning, present and future investments, maximising your superannuation scheme and reviewing assets.

11. Remember that you deserve to enjoy a break as well and it is vital that you are able to operate well. Plan some time off during slower periods throughout the year so that you are well rested and enthusiastic in the busier periods. Take care of your health and enjoy downtime with family and friends during the year.

-ENDS-

About RSM Bird Cameron
RSM Bird Cameron is the largest mid-tier accounting firm in Australia with national ownership and profit sharing and offers a full range of specialist advisory services, including business consulting and advisory, assurance and advisory, taxation consulting, corporate consulting and turnaround and insolvency. RSM Bird Cameron is a core member firm of RSM International, the sixth largest network of independent accounting and consulting firms in the world.

13 things business owners should do before 2013

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xOctober 18, 2012RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, offers 13 suggestions that business owners should think about before 2013 to improve profits, cash flow and reduce stress levels.

Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, said, “Many businesses in Australia are still facing a volatile economic climate with some industries producing record results and others struggling.

“It is important to consider the uncertainty business owners face and put plans in place to reduce that as 2013 approaches.

“Having strategies in place to end the year, and start the new one in the best shape possible, will ensure that business owners can make the most of the holiday period from a business perspective, but also on a personal level.”

Cash flow is a problem many businesses already face. As always this will be felt even more throughout the new year period as the holiday season leads to slower payment terms.

Graham said, “Business owners shouldn’t hesitate to seek help and ask advice from accountants, advisors or other specialists if they are worried about their business or managing their cash flow over the holiday period.”

Tips to get the best start in 2013

1. Review the products and services you sell and tailor the mix to appeal to changing customer needs for the holiday and new year season. Also, start considering and planning for other times in the year when customers’ needs change, for example Easter.

2. Review pricing structures to ensure competitiveness and profitability. Put formal procedures in place to monitor and proactively respond to competitor pricing changes.

3. Review stock levels to make sure you can satisfy customer demand for profitable product and service lines, and identify slow moving stock that can be liquidated as “bargain buys” or bundled with other products as a value add.

4. Review sales, marketing and promotion plans and make sure they are optimised to help achieve the best results not only during the holiday season but well into the new year. Ensure staff are aware of the targets for each week and be proactive monitoring and addressing shortfalls.

5. Review staffing plans and confirm acceptance of the rosters by all staff. For non-retail businesses, annual leave plans need to be balanced and finalised as early as possible to ensure the business continues to operate effectively. Consider a shutdown period if the Christmas and new year period is traditionally not busy to use up staff annual leave balances during this quieter time.

6. Review fraud and theft protection systems and ensure all staff are reminded of their responsibility to be vigilant as customer traffic increases and the pressures of Christmas expectations can motivate increased customer and staff theft.

7. Review debtor lists and actively chase all overdue accounts. Any amount not collected by December 23 is unlikely to be collected until February or later. Collecting money owed to you is critical particularly over this period when the cash cycle tends to tighten.

8. Review the use of finance products for effectiveness. Overdrafts, premium funding, lease facilities and cash flow funding products can all be excellent tools to help match a business’ cash supply with planned outlays, and may be especially useful in managing cash flow throughout the holiday season.

9. Complete a GST health check. Small businesses are in danger of losing time and money because of unreliable or outdated business systems causing them to incorrectly report GST.

10. Strategically plan end of year gifts and entertainment to key customers, prospects, suppliers and business partners. This will strengthen relationships into the new year rather than simply being a cost of doing business.

11. Carefully plan end of year staff parties to reward and recognise efforts for the year. Remember your workplace obligations to provide a safe environment for the event in relation to alcohol and discrimination.

12. Set effective goals. The beginning of the new year is an ideal time to review goals set at the beginning of the financial year, ensure you are track to achieve them and put in place an action if you can see areas that are not working. Important things to consider include retirement planning, present and future investments, maximising your superannuation scheme and reviewing assets.

13. Remember that you deserve a break as well. Plan some time off particularly around public holidays – take care of your health and enjoy some downtime with family and friends. The new year will dawn a brighter place if you end this one in a happy frame of mind, and feel prepared for the year ahead.

-ENDS-

About RSM Bird Cameron
RSM Bird Cameron is the largest mid-tier accounting firm in Australia with national ownership and profit sharing and offers a full range of specialist advisory services, including business consulting and advisory, assurance and advisory, taxation consulting, corporate consulting and turnaround and insolvency. RSM Bird Cameron is a core member firm of RSM International, the sixth largest network of independent accounting and consulting firms in the world.

Ten things business owners can do to boost their business in 2012

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xJanuary 31, 2012RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, suggests ten things business owners can do to improve profits, cash flow and reduce stress levels throughout 2012.

Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, said, “There is no doubt that businesses in Australia are facing a difficult economic climate in 2012, which could lead to a potential rise in insolvenciesover the coming 12-18 months.

“Some businesses have already started the new year with cash flow difficulties as the cash cycle has tightened considerably through December and January. Now is the time for business owners to consider opportunities to restructure their business in light of what’s not working for them.

“Business owners need to remember that it is never too early to seek help and ask advice from accountants, business advisors or other specialists if they are worried about their business or managing cash flow.”

These tips can help businesses remain in the best possible shape for the year ahead:

1. Review the products and services you sell and tailor the mix to appeal to changing customer needs for 2012. Start considering and planning for other times in the year when customer needs change, for example Easter and change in seasons.

2. Review pricing structures to ensure competitiveness and profitability. Put formal procedures in place to monitor and proactively respond to competitor pricing changes.

3. Review stock levels to make sure you can satisfy customer demand for profitable product and service lines, and identify slow moving stock that can be liquidated as “bargain buys”.

4. Review sales, marketing and promotion plans and make sure they are optimised to help achieve the best results throughout 2012. Ensure all staff are aware of the targets for each week and be proactive in addressing shortfalls.

5. Review staffing plans and confirm acceptance of the rosters by all staff. For non-retail businesses, aim to schedule annual leave plans for the year as early as possible to ensure the business continues to operate effectively all year round.

6. Review fraud and theft protection systems and ensure all staff are reminded of their responsibility to be vigilant at all times.

7. Review debtor lists frequently and regularly and actively chase all overdue accounts.

8. Review the use of finance products for effectiveness. Overdrafts, premium funding, lease facilities and cash flow funding products can all be excellent tools to help match a business’s cash flow with planned outlays.

9. Complete a GST health check. Small businesses are in danger of losing time and money because of unreliable or outdated business systems causing them to incorrectly report GST.

10. Remember that you deserve to enjoy a break as well and it is vital that you are able to operate well. Plan some time off during slower periods throughout the year so that you are well rested and enthusiastic in the busier periods. Take care of your health and enjoy downtime with family and friends during the year.

-ENDS-

About RSM Bird Cameron
RSM Bird Cameron is the largest mid-tier accounting firm in Australia with national ownership and profit sharing and offers a full range of specialist advisory services, including business consulting and advisory, assurance and advisory, taxation consulting, corporate consulting and turnaround and insolvency. RSM Bird Cameron is a core member firm of RSM International, the sixth largest network of independent accounting and consulting firms in the world.