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.

RSM Bird Cameron offers businesses 12 tips for starting the 2012/13 financial year

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xMay 3, 2012RSM Bird Cameron offers businesses 12 tips for starting the 2012/13 financial year.

Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, RSM Bird Cameron, said, “Often the end of financial year creeps up on businesses. While we know it is coming, preparation and planning does not need to be frantic and last minute.

“Wrapping up the end of financial year successfully helps businesses minimise tax and be better prepared for the year ahead. It is important to have a check list to methodically work through to ensure that every aspect is covered, and nothing is missed.”

RSM Bird Cameron offers the following 12 tips for starting the 2012/13 financial year:

1. Trading stock – physically count stock on hand at June 30. If this is not practical, ensure systems are in place to ascertain correct stock levels at year end so your balance sheet is correct. Incorrect or unexpectedly low (or high) stock levels can change the fundamental financial position of your business and impact cash flow, debt management or even the overall liquidity of your business. It can also assist to uncover fraud, theft and inventory control systems which may need to be upgraded or reviewed to reduce stock loss through damage or inadequate logistics.

2. Obsolete stock – identify any obsolete stock and write it down or off your books as a special rule. It is unlikely that obsolete stock can ever be sold and it should not be reflected on your balance sheet as an asset as it will give you an inaccurate reading of your financial position.

3. Bad debts – review debtors prior to June 30 to identify all bad debts. In order to write off a debt it must be bad, not merely doubtful. That means the business can demonstrate that it has tried all reasonable, practical measures to recover the monies owed to it and, in spite of that, it is unlikely that the debt will be repaid. A bad debt must have been previously included as assessable income.

4. Superannuation guarantee – ensure that superannuation obligations are paid and cleared prior to June 30 to obtain a deduction in the current financial year.

5. Additional superannuation – consider making additional superannuation contributions as an employer (subject to current limits) before June 30 to take advantage of concessional tax rates afforded to superannuation contributions.

6. Consumables/repairs – consider restocking consumables such as fuel, stationery, sprays and chemicals before June 30. Also undertake any necessary repairs before the end of the financial year to minimise taxable income and prepare yourself for the year ahead.

7. Staff bonuses and commissions – a tax deduction may be claimed for staff bonuses and commissions that are unpaid at June 30, provided they were ‘definitely committed’ to the expense prior to the date.

8. Accrued wages – wages that have been accrued at June 30 but not paid until after that date may be claimed as a tax deduction.

9. Defer income – cash flow permitting look to defer income if possible until after June 30 to decrease taxable income

10. Prepayments – are available if the entity is permitted to prepay expenses under tax legislation i.e. SBE (Small Business Entity).

11. Prepaid interest on passive assets, such as commercial and residential properties – look to prepay interest prior to June 30.

12. Fixed assets – review last year’s depreciation schedule to determine if assets listed still exist. Identify missing items, any that have been scrapped or disposed, and any new ones that have been acquired. Update your depreciation schedule accordingly.

-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.