With only twenty days to go until the end of 2015 financial year, it is time for small business owners to wrap things up for 2014-15 and make plans for the next year. Make time for specific actions that help to put your business on the right track. Here is a checklist to get you started.
- Are you using financial software?
- Is it up-to-date?
- Have you entered all data? Record transactions regularly as you go and before 30 June, including all sales, purchases, payment and receipts.
- Have you backed up your accounting files? Whether you’re working on your accounts in the cloud or on your desktop, you need to make a backup outside your accounting system that creates a data file for the 2014-15 financial year. Carefully save and store this file.
- Do you need to send out any invoices, follow up late payments, and resolve any discrepancies?
- Are you up-to-date with payments for supplies and services?
- Review financial commitments such as loans and leases for office space and equipment.
- Review accounts and reports. Create a profit and loss statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement for each quarter. These can show emerging problems in time for corrective actions. Review actual performance against budget. Look at whether you met your targets last financial year and what you can do differently next financial year. Set performance targets for the year to help you stay on track. Create a cash flow forecast to manage any potential shortfalls and ensure you can still pay your suppliers.
- Get your year-end tax reporting prepared. Make sure that your tax records are in good order. Are you missing anything? Now is the time to track down missing pieces, before the deadlines are too close.
Many small businesses outsource accounting duties to a professional accountant or bookkeeper. Just make sure you don’t completely wash your hands of accounting by handing it all over to your accountant to sort out. You must always have recent financial knowledge of your business’s performance to make effective decisions.
Business and marketing plans
- Review and update your business and marketing plans. Take time to set yourself up for the year ahead.
- Remind yourself of your goals and priorities and assess whether your strategies are working. The end of the year is a great time to take a look at which is driving business and which isn’t.
- Review your website including domain name registration, hosting plan and software updates. Is your website backed up?
- Review your branding and marketing materials.
- Review suppliers’ contracts or terms of trade.
- Take a close look at how much business you’re doing with each supplier.
- Are you getting the best rates based on how much you’re working together?
- Review how goods are supplied to you (so that it better meets your needs).
- See if you can reduce the minimum quantity you can order.
- Consolidate ordering, for example buying once a month rather than once a week.
- As a risk management measure, identify alternative suppliers of critical items.
- Review all your systems from top to bottom.Carefully examine what’s working and what’s not.
- Get your paper and electronic filing under control
- Review sales contracts and customers’ terms of trade
- Review your prices
- Review and update IT systems, ensuring you have the licences you need to use your software and back-ups are performed frequently and held offsite.
- Do you need a new computer or a new phone system to help things run more smoothly?
- Review your insurance policies, including types of policies required and the amount of cover in place.
- Seek ways of using fewer resources in the business – how you can reduce your use of electricity, gas and water and reduce waste?
- Clean up your work environment. It’s time to get rid of all that stuff you either don’t need or that doesn’t work anymore.
Assets and inventory
- Do an asset stocktake to ensure you still have the assets that are on your books.
- Take an inventory of all products or raw materials on hand at the end of the financial year.
Do you have any special end-of-year jobs you do in your business? Share them in the comments below.