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.

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.

RSM Bird Cameron offers seven points for being an effective company director

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xApril 19, 2012RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, offers seven points for being an effective company director.

James Komninos, Managing Partner – Perth, RSM Bird Cameron, said, “Directors in Australia are currently facing an environment where they are required to take more responsibility, particularly when it comes to understanding financial reporting requirements.

“Directors cannot abrogate their own responsibility by relying solely on external advice in making decisions as a board member. External advice should be considered, however directors need to be sufficiently educated on all matters pertaining to the decisions they are making because apart from the adverse consequences to the company and its shareholders, they can also be held personally liable.

“Now more than ever it is important to understand the foundations of being an effective director. These foundations are based on having good personal and business ethics, learning not to take things for granted and having an enquiring mind when formulating decisions.”

RSM Bird Cameron offers seven points for being an effective company director.

1. Be aware of the duties and responsibilities. There are more than 700 pieces of state and federal legislation in Australia that can make a director personally liable both in a civil and criminal context. Becoming a company director is a role that carries significant duties and responsibilities and there are significant consequences for not meeting these duties.

2. Know your numbers. All directors are required to understand the entity’s financial position, including solvency considerations and financial reporting obligations. Directors should receive regular management accounts as part of their board papers and have an ability to query and clarify financial information that has been presented.

3. Learning is key. The old saying “that you are never too old to learn” is true. Business is always changing and you must keep up to date to contribute effectively to the company. Companies that are not up to speed will fall behind the rest of the business world and concede the competitive edge. You could also find yourself in breach of legislation by not being aware of changes.

4. Play an active role. Taking an active role and doing your own research are key ingredients to being a successful company director. There is no positive contribution in going to board meetings unprepared with little to offer. If you cannot contribute in a meaningful way, due to time constraints or simply a lack of understanding of the issues, then it may be time to reconsider your position.

5. Know the business. Know both the company and the industry it operates in intimately. This is critical to knowing what the key drivers of the business are and provides the ability to contribute meaningfully to strategy discussions. Have a clear understanding of the key performance indicators, the risks and a clear direction of where the business is heading and how it will get there.

6. Work as a team. Working with a functional and dynamic team makes the role easier as everyone is working towards a common goal. It is critical that board members express their thoughts even when a particular point of view may be in the minority. It is equally important to express differing points of view in a courteous and respectful manner so as to fully explore the alternatives – thereby leading to good decision making.

7. Encourage diversity on boards. The concept of diversity is not limited to gender, but includes diversity of thought, background, decision making experience, qualifications and skills. Diversity is healthy for boards, as it can create a stronger team contribution and lead to better overall decision making.

Komninos, said, “Being a successful company director does not go hand-in-hand with being appointed to the role. Company directors must be committed to continual self-improvement through research, education and focusing on team work and people skills.

“Most of all, company directors must be flexible and adaptable to survive challenges within the company and external factors such as a difficult economic climate.”

-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.

12 things business owners should complete before 2012

October 25, 2011RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, offers 12 things business owners should complete before 2012 to improve profits, cash flow and reduce stress levels.

Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, said, “Many businesses in Australia are again facing a volatile economic climate, and there is no doubt that an economic downturn could spell the end for some businesses.  This is demonstrated by a surge in insolvencies and the appearance of increased activity by the ATO in collecting long-standing tax debts.

“With this in mind there is a very real possibility many businesses will start the new year facing increased cash flow difficulties or just managing to get by, instead of looking at ways to strengthen and grow the business.”

Cash flow is already being stretched, and as always this will be felt even more throughout the new year period as the holiday season leads to payment terms being slowed beyond the delays businesses are already seeing.

Graham said, “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 over the holiday season.”

The below tips can help businesses start 2012 in the best way possible:

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 winter.

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 into gift packages.

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 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, 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 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 good business – it does not make you a Grinch.

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 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 to strengthen relationships into the new year rather than simply being a cost of doing business.

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

12. Remember that you deserve to enjoy 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.

RSM Bird Cameron offers 10 tips for business owners to get done before the Christmas rush

Perth, December 3, 2009 – RSM Bird Cameron urges business owners to spring clean their business before the silly season hits to reap immediate benefits by improving profits, cash flow and reducing stress levels.

RSM Bird Cameron’s top 10 things for business owners to do before the Christmas rush:
1. Review product and service offerings and tailor the mix to appeal to the changing customer needs over the Christmas buying period and the following holiday phase
2. Review pricing structures pre and post Christmas to ensure competitiveness and profitability. Put formal procedures in place to monitor competitor pricing changes and respond proactively
3. Review stock levels to ensure 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 into gift packages
4. Review sales, marketing and promotion plans for the pre and post Christmas periods and arrange the implementation phase before getting too busy. Ensure all staff are aware of the sales 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, annual leave plans need to be balanced and finalised early in December 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 as customer traffic increases and the pressures of Christmas expectations motivate increased customer and staff theft
7. Review debtor lists and actively chase 90-plus day accounts. Any amount not collected by Christmas is unlikely to be collected until February or later. Collecting money owed to you is good business – it does not make you the Christmas Grinch
8. Strategically plan Christmas gifts and entertainment to key customers, prospects, suppliers and business partners to strengthen relationships into the New Year
9. Carefully plan staff Christmas parties to reward and recognise their efforts for the year. Remember your workplace obligations to provide a safe environment for the event in relation to alcohol and discrimination
10. Remember that you deserve to celebrate the festive season as well. Plan some time off, take care of your health and remember your family. The New Year will dawn a brighter place if you end this one in a happy frame of mind.

-ENDS-

About RSM Bird Cameron
RSM Bird Cameron is the largest mid-tier accounting firm in Australia serving the middle market with technical and commercial expertise over the full range of specialist corporate and business advisory services including assurance and advisory, corporate finance, taxation consulting and turnaround and insolvency.

RSM Bird Cameron is a core member firm of RSM International, the seventh largest accounting and consulting organisation in the world.

Please visit http://www.rsmi.com.au/home.html for more information.

Media contact
Traci St Lawrence
Recognition PR
02 9252 2266
tsl@recognition.com.au