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.


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.