What do you need to do to get ready for the New Financial Year?

What do you need to do to get ready for the New Financial Year?

For many the 31st of March feels like a huge milestone on the calendar. It can be a busy and frenetic time, and can feel even more stressful for business owners. Add to that Easter and it feels overwhelming! However the end of financial year process need not be a painful one! Read on to find out how.

A recent US study found 69% of adults attribute their stress to “money-related” issues and, as the End of the Financial Year (EOFY) draws near, it is typical for thoughts of money and dreaded taxes to dominate our mental space and drive us to despair.

To help take some of the pressure off GoFi8ure has prepared some simple steps for you to follow in your accounting software so that EOFY feels more manageable:

Step 1: Gather your paperwork aka “source documents”

The more information/paperwork you give to your Accountant, the less time they need to spend chasing you (which costs time and money).

Go through your files and emails and collate your source documents (Statements, Invoices, Receipts etc) for your accounts.

Paperwork includes at a minimum bank, credit card, loan statements as at the 31.3.2019, copies of all fixed asset invoices purchased during the last financial year, GST work papers and returns/receipts to IR, year to date payroll records, ACC invoices, insurances and premiums, legal, repairs and maintenance, lease expenses, finance agreements, use of home office, out of pocket expenses and year to date personal tax information if you are a shareholder. Depending on the complexity of your accounts you may need to provide more examples of source documents. Your Accountant will ask for these so be prepared.

Tip: Use Xero’s File Library to upload all of your paperwork/source documents as PDFs. It is really easy to do and your Accountant will love you for it.

  1. On the top left hand side click on the company name
  2. Click on the Files option
  3. Create a new folder called EOFY2019
  4. Label each file with a clear name. For example: 00 Savings Bank Statement 31.3.2019 or ACC Levy Invoice etc
  5. Upload labelled files into the electronic folder – it is that easy! This will keep everything your Accountant needs in one easy to view/access location in the cloud

Step 2: Complete a Stock Take / Stock Valuation

If you are carrying stock, you are required to do a stock take to record how much and the “value” you have on hand as at the 31st of March 2019. The figures should be at cost, excluding GST. It is important when you are dealing with stock that you use the best tools available. Whatever tracking system you use, make sure you have the right software to support it. If you are currently using Excel spreadsheets to manage your inventory, you may want to consider moving to a cloud based inventory system like Unleashed.

An effective, easy-to-use inventory system eliminates human error that can occur whilst using Excel. Inventory software gives you real-time inventory control and reporting. It also helps you to understand your product margins and provides you with important information to help you make better decisions based on real-time, accurate profit reporting.

Step 3: Round up those overdue invoices and debt collect

Review your Aged Receivables detail report and identify all invoices that are 30+ days overdue. Once this has been done make one final determined effort to collect the debt before the 31st of March. If you have exhausted all avenues for collecting unpaid invoices and do not envisage collecting them at any point in the future, you can write off the outstanding invoices to a bad debt expense. Contact us to find out how.

Tip: If you are going to write off any outstanding invoices; make sure to apply a credit note against the invoice owing. We do not recommend using the “void” option in your accounting software.

Step 4: Review Creditors entered and reconcile to Supplier Statements

Do you have outstanding supplier invoices showing on your ledger? Are you confident that these are correct? GoFi8ure recommends that you reconcile all creditors to supplier statements and balances before the 31st of March to ensure any missing invoices are received and entered into Xero. You may find that some suppliers have in fact been paid, however, the payment was not allocated against the supplier invoice. If this has happened it is important to correct it soon as possible.

Need help actioning a creditors reconciliation? Send us a message so we can help.

Tip: If you are disputing an account or are no longer paying an invoice then you should apply to the supplier for a credit note and once received reconcile the credit note to the invoice in your ledger (creditors reconciliation). If you would like accounting support please contact us.

Now is the time to make the conscious decision to take action with steps 1-4. If you would like GoFi8ure to take your end of year stress away and do these steps for you, get in touch with us today via email or call us on 0800 463 488 and quote End of Financial Year Help.

 

 

Charitable donations may be tax deductible – here is what you need to know

Donating to charity not only supports the vital work of an organisation but also has positive side-effects when claiming tax deductions.  

Donating to charity not only supports the vital work of an organisation or group, but it can have positive side-effects when it comes to claiming tax deductions. To be eligible for a tax credit, you need to make sure that your contributions meet certain conditions, and that you’re making a legitimate claim.

In general, when a charity is an approved donee organisation or registered as a ‘deductible gift recipient’ (DGR), and you donate over a certain amount, you can claim a tax deduction. You can find out if a charity is a DGR organisation by checking their website, calling them, or searching the register for charities.

But, be careful. There’s a difference between making a donation and making a contribution. When you’re making a donation, you must be doing so willingly, without receiving any ‘material advantage’. This means that you can’t be getting anything in return for your cash. So no chocolate bars, no raffle tickets, no movie tickets and no fancy dinners. If you receive anything after handing over your cash, then this is considered a contribution, and you should not claim this as a tax deduction.

Other situations which are commonly misunderstood to be donations are membership fees, expenses incurred by providing volunteer work (or the value of the time spent doing that work), donating gift vouchers, or money donated through a will.

The last two things you need to know are that a tax deduction for most gifts is claimed in the tax return for the income year in which the gift is made. However, in some circumstances, you can spread the tax deduction over five income years. And, just like any other tax deduction you’re hoping to claim, you’ll need to get and keep the receipt for your donation.

The tax department sometimes demands repayment for ineligible deductions. So, as with all things tax, it’s best to avoid penalties by checking in the with the experts.

Talk to us about your charitable donations and ensure you keep receipts for the payments you have made.

Why use Xero? The benefits of cloud accounting

Why use Xero? The benefits of cloud accounting

Xero offers your business a simple, yet powerful, way to manage all your finances in the cloud.

With Xero as your core finance system, you get real control over every element of running your business, from basic bookkeeping right through to efficient online invoicing, live bank feeds and detailed financial reporting. And that’s not all…

A beautiful business platform

Xero is also a fully functioning business platform, with an open architecture that lets you plug in online payment solutions, time-tracking apps or job-management tools. So whatever sector you are in, there is a range of apps to customise your Xero system.

With Xero as your cloud platform you get:

  • A mobile way to check your numbers 24/7 – with online access from any device
  • A paper-free office environment – with secure storage of your documents in the cloud
  • An all-in-one cloud platform – with a host of features, apps and third-party solutions

Find out more about the benefits of cloud in this Xero TV video

Talk to us about switching to Xero

If you want an accounting system that is also a highly flexible business platform for running your company in the cloud, talk to us about switching to Xero.

 

Creating Excellence in Business

Excellence in Business

 

 

 

 

 

It is very easy to get comfortable with just being good in the business world. Being good at what you do means all is well – things are moving the way they are supposed to, and everything is under control. The financial equivalent of this, known as “treading water”, does not equate to success but rather, stagnation. In business, just as in nature, it is always better to be proactive then reactive when striving for excellence. By focusing on constantly pushing yourself and your business to be in a constant state of growth, both yourself and the company you lead will be constantly evolving and improving ahead of your competitors.

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind for yourself and your business as you strive for business excellence:

1. Realise that there is always room for improvement
It is very easy to say “I’m good” and leave it at that. Google is famed for saying “We are Always in Beta”, and Business Insider once published an article “Always Be in Beta or You’ll Never Learn Anything New”.  The article mentions the value of learning, as learning keeps stagnation at bay. It also states, “in the early stages of learning a new subject, people feel as though they have nothing to lose, which makes them more likely to accept failure as part of the process.” This mentality will enable you as a business owner to add more power and range to your skill set, as well as become more comfortable with the risk that comes with learning curves.

2. Do not get too comfortable
Ignorance is bliss, but it is also dangerous, which is exactly what getting comfortable in the business world defines as. While you are sitting back being comfortable, others are advancing, strategising and closing in on any distance you have put between yourself and your competition. Strive to stay relevant and vigilant, and remember that success is not a destination, but rather a goal which constantly evolves and manifests with the company’s growth itself. Think of your business as an athlete; there is no such thing as a comfortable and effective workout.

3.  Do not give your clients a reason to go elsewhere
We are all human, and sometimes mistakes are made. However, there is no reason why you cannot apologise, provide feedback and agree on a solution to fix these mistakes with your clients to retain their business, and look for ways to improve. At the very least, you should make sure that you are doing a better job than your competitors. Even if you feel you are already doing this, it is worth asking yourself a couple of times a year, “if a competing company opened tomorrow, would I have any reason to be worried?”

If you would like to talk to GoFi8ure about how we can make your business more excellent send us an email.

Creating More Effectiveness in your Business

Effectiveness in Business

 

 

 

 

 

Do you consider yourself to be effective at work? Although many of us like to think that we are 100% effective, the truth is that most of us have unrecognised weaknesses that impact our effectiveness.

Some businesses seem to barely keep afloat, fumbling from one day’s challenges to the next, whereas other businesses seem to crackle with energy, efficiency and vision. This is no accident – effective businesses use and rely on organisation, oversight and planning to minimise minor disruptions which reduce a company’s ability to grow and prosper.

To improve effectiveness in a company, a business needs to conduct regular performance reviews of both their employees and managers to determine if their methods and techniques are effective and producing results. Ineffective results could easily impact the quality of a company’s services or products, so it is important for any business to make sure that all of their employees and managers are filling their roles effectively.

So, what can you do to help your business run more effectively?

1. Use your time more effectively
In a nutshell, time is money – or the potential to make money. The more time you waste on inefficient activities, the less free time you have to spend doing productive activities that will help your business grow.

Michael Gerber, in his world-famous book ‘The E-myth revisited – Why most small businesses fail and what to do about it’, stresses that one of the reasons businesses fail is that the owners spend too much time on day to day tasks. So if you are a business owner, it is vitally important to spend enough time steering your ship in the right direction.

2. Consolidate tasks and remain focused
It is scientifically proven that you are more productive when you focus for an extended period on completing one task instead of multiple activities and tasks, as the “white noise” of a large number of tasks overlapping and interrupting each other is distracting. An easy way for business owners to accomplish this strategy is by consolidating, or batching, tasks that require similar processes and invest all their focus on this one consolidated task.

3. Automate processes and workflows
Small businesses often get bogged down with repetitive tasks. Did you know that you can likely automate many of your frequent tasks? Many small businesses fear automation because of the upfront expense or its possible effect on employee jobs. However, automating repetitive steps in your sales, production or distribution process can increase your bottom line and free up your employees to work on other, more critical areas.

Successfully running a business requires a great deal of time, energy, money, and other resources. If you want to increase your chances for success, focus on being as efficient as possible. If you would like to find out how GoFi8ure can help your business run more effectively, send us a message today.

 

 

Tips for Efficiency in your Business

Efficiency in Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

Efficiency in a business refers to how long it takes for a task to get completed. An employee may be effective at completing a task to a high level, but may take way longer than needed to complete the task, which is inefficient. 

Check out these top tips and techniques to make your business more efficient.

1. Set shorter time limits
The shorter the amount of time you allow yourself, the more you will get done. This is because when we know we do not have time to pause, wander around the office or stare into space and must use every second of the time we have, we do so because we do not want to fail. So, make sure the first 90 minutes of your day is focused on growing your business. Turn off your email and phones and concentrate only on that. Also, divide your working day into 45- or 30-minute chunks (use a timer to ensure you stick to this time limit!) and during that time think of doing (and do!) only that task.

2. Figure out how much money you are throwing away, then find a way to reduce it
How often do you lose money because of simple mistakes, like missing a job or sending out an invoice with incorrect details? How often are your invoices delayed or forgotten, and how often do you spend hours searching for information to answer a complaint from a customer?

Even if you accept that a certain amount of waste is inevitable, the fact is that lots of small costs can add up over the year, potentially taking a large chunk out of your profits. Take time out each month to analyse your business; look at your accounts to see what money is being spent and what costs could be reduced. Also, keep a note of mistakes you notice being made and jot down ideas on how to stop or limit these mistakes being made. Review these notes monthly also, and if the mistakes are still occurring at the same or similar rate, reevaluate your ideas on how to stop and/or limit these. With perseverance comes success, and with frequent review you will see your systems becoming more effective and your profit level rising. 

3. Use technology to speed up workflow
Technology plays an essential role in the efficiency and effectiveness of a company nowadays. Make use of computers, tablets or smartphones to improve the efficiency of the company, by using software or sharing tools for things like keeping different members of a team up-to-date with client and project information accessible anywhere, anytime. Look at areas of your business that are still being done manually (which is time consuming), and contact a professional who can help provide you with technology solutions to solve your day-to-day inconveniences.

Accounting software can be a business owner’s smartest investment. Software lets you easily manage your business data. One software example is Xero, which looks after your accounts receivable, expenses and taxes, and allows access to these anytime, anywhere, stored together all in one place – and with easy access to reporting tools for this data. Because most  business owners are not qualified accountants, finding the right tool that ensures your accounting is done effectively can save you valuable time, while also improving your financial visibility. It also alleviates a lot of headaches when it comes to looking at financial information to help identify areas in your business that needs assessing with features such as in-built reports which are easy to generate, understand and use.
 
As the great Bill Gates once said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is the automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency”. 

Making consistent improvements to make your business better is a conscious choice. Not only must you balance your time, but you must also choose the right area of business, the one which will make the biggest impact, to spend this time working on. If you would like GoFi8ure to help your business run more efficiently, send us an email or call us on 0800 463 488.

 

 

Are you executing your business strategy?

Are you executing your business strategy?

Execution is an easy concept to talk about, but it can be a hard one to… well… execute. The main problem is that it is a real challenge to measure and manage a concept.

If we are honest about it, “Gut-level” decision making is a practice of the past. With so many amazing tools and software resources available, you can now have access to all the organisational data you would ever need to inform and guide your decision-making process.

When Warehouse Stationery asked their BizReward customers what they wish they had known about before going into business, almost half of the respondents said accounting and finances (49%).

This was followed by:

  • Marketing and advertising (39%);
  • Business development (38%);
  • Technology (33%), and;
  • Relevant regulations (25%).

Interestingly, when people were asked what they wish they knew more about now, the same top five appeared, just in a slightly different order; however, accounting was still number one.

There are two components that help with executing your business strategy:

  1. Having the right accounting software – set up, and working, and;
  2. Having the financial knowledge and information available to help make informed business decisions.

The better you understand your business, the easier it is to make decisions – therefore, the easier it will be to make more money. Management decisions rely on a sound understanding of the financial implications for a business. GoFi8ure offers a service which helps enable business owners to fully understand and interpret their numbers, so they have a strong foundation on which to grow their business.

How many of these questions can you answer, with confidence?

  1. How much profit have I made this year?
  2. Why has my profit increased, but I have no cash?
  3. Is my cash level increasing, or decreasing?
  4. What is affecting my cash level?

Any time is a good time to improve your understanding of your financial reports to improve business performance.  The sooner you start executing your plan, the sooner you will have a better understanding of financial results and their implications, and the more control you will have over outcomes.

Are you confident you have the right software and tools in place to help you achieve your strategic goals? Today’s technology provides advanced reporting and business analysis capabilities, to help you gain a deeper understanding of business performance, customer preferences and market trends. Your executives and business managers can access performance metrics and analytical reports, enabling them to use this information to work together to set or redesign strategy.

Remember: Failing to plan is planning to fail, and it is vital to plan-ahead to have a successful business. Contact us to book in your complimentary meeting, to discuss how GoFi8ure can proactively help you stick to your plan and achieve business success.

 

Do you have a strategy for your business?

Do you have a strategy for your business?

When it comes to Business Strategy there are two rules:

Rule #1: Have a strategy.

Rule #2: Make sure everyone is literally on the same page in understanding the components of the strategy, and how to implement it.

All too often strategies contain words or concepts that take on as many meanings and interpretations as the number of people who read them. Having a clear and focused strategy is critically important to the success of your business. Without a well-defined strategy, your business may stall – or even fail.

You need to have a plan for day-to-day business, and you also need to spend time looking at and listening to the changes that are happening in your industry. To ensure you make progress towards your long-term goals, it is a matter of having a daily plan to get things done, in conjunction with an overarching strategy to guide those daily plans.

Success is about planning, and planning is about success; if you plan to succeed, you will succeed. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you plan your success:

  1. Do you have a current Business Plan?
  2. Have you set realistic and measurable goals?
  3. Do you have clear strategies to achieve your goals?
  4. Can you identify what you will need to achieve your goals?
  5. Do you regularly review your goals with regards to changing circumstances?
  6. Have you set up a platform to develop Financial Forecasts?
  7. Do you have the right systems and tools in place to help you achieve your strategy?

The key aspect of strategic planning is aligning all members of the team with the purpose and vision of the company; both in the short- and long-term. Strategy challenges are indicated by a slowing in top-line revenue growth. If revenue is not growing as quickly as you like, then it is time to re-examine your strategy.

Any time is a good time to make a Business Plan if you do not have one; however, it is particularly relevant at the start of a New Financial Year.  If you are contemplating a major change in your existing business, or starting a new venture, a Business Plan is crucial.  You will also require a Business Plan to support any financial applications.

Do you have a GST return due this month? Worried about not getting it done in time? Remember, you have until the 7th of May to submit your return. For all current GoFi8ure clients, your GoFi8urine will be in touch shortly to ask for your paperwork – aka “source documents”.

Do you need a hand getting your GST completed and ready to file? Never fear, GoFi8ure are here to help. Please send us an email, or call us on 0800 463 488, and we will help get you sorted.

 

 

 

 

What are the four most important areas you need to consider in your business?

What are the four most important areas you need to consider in your business?

As a business owner, you must be committed to constantly evaluating your business practices and making the necessary changes if you want to see growth. If your business is stagnant, or not as profitable as you would like it to be, doing the same thing repeatedly will not help your business move forward. Your success is the total sum of all the decisions you make!

So, what are the four most important areas you need to consider in your business? They are:

  1. People
  2. Strategy
  3. Execution
  4. Cash

Good decisions equal success. Even though most growing businesses face continual challenges in all these areas, the challenges in one area at any one time can impact the others.

Let us start with the “People” strategy.

In 2016, Warehouse Stationery conducted a survey of over 1000 of their BizReward customers. From that survey, 9 out of 10 customers were small businesses.

When asked about the personal challenges they faced in business, half of the respondents to this question (51%) selected work-life balance. Work-life balance was the most common concern, followed by time management (41%) – which is a necessary tool to achieve the sought-after work-life balance, by ensuring work does not take over every aspect of your life.

One of the most critical components of growing any business is working with the right people. Get it right, and your business’s growth trajectory is likely to continue, or accelerate. Get it wrong, and your tentative step forward might lead to the proverbial three steps back. The purpose of hiring staff or outsourced specialists is to free the business owner from some of their multiple “hats”, and the wrong hire can have the opposite effect as it can be costly, stressful and time-consuming to manage the consequences. Having someone who fundamentally understands their role, and what is required to do it successfully, is crucial for any business.

Where do you start? Ask yourself why you need to hire someone – and do not accept obvious answers such as, I am busy, tired or overworked.

Below are some core questions you should ask yourself:

  1. What do I expect the new hire to do in their first month, and in the months that follow?
  2. What can I reasonably expect them to achieve, how quickly, and what can I do to help them?
  3. What core skills and attributes are absolute necessities for my business?
  4. Is an employee the right way to go, or should I look at outsourcing?

The last question is an interesting one. There are advantages for either hiring an employee or outsourcing to a specialist. To make this a little easier for you, we have put together a list of steps that will help you determine which option is best for you:

  1. Identify what areas you can outsource.

Before you figure out whether to outsource, you need to identify what areas you can outsource, and whether any of these areas are where you need help right now.

  1. Identify business-critical functions.

If the function you need help with is not a core function of your business model, outsourcing will probably create fewer headaches for you.

  1. Assess the market availability of skills.

You may prefer having someone in-house, but if you cannot find the right talent, outsourcing may be your only option.

  1. Identify all the costs for both in-housing and outsourcing.

When you are considering the financial difference between the two options, remember to include the costs of your time and emotional energy.  While hiring in-house is generally cheaper on paper, there are a host of responsibilities that go along with managing a new staff member including holiday and sick leave, training, downtime, and so on.

Remember, when it comes to making the decision of in-house or outsourcing you do not need to choose either/or; it is pretty common that one part of your business may be better off with an employee, while another may be better off with an external company managing it.

If you are ready to outsource the financial side of the business come then you need GoFi8ure. This is what we do – it is in our DNA and we are passionate about helping ease the accounting pain that business owners face. Send us an email or call us on 0800 463 488 today.

Tip: Gazelles has a one-page “People” tool that will help you sort out these accountabilities and metrics.

 

Chasing debtors – 3 easy strategies that will help you get paid quicker

Chasing debtors – 3 easy strategies that will help you get paid quicker

Getting paid is always an exciting part of running a business. What is not as exciting however, is keeping on top of clients when they do not pay their invoices. According to the Commercial Collection Agency Association, after 30 days past due, the chances of being paid drop to 89.9%; after six months, there is only a 52.1% chance of being paid.

Below GoFi8ure has listed some simple strategies that can help bring payments in on time, whilst maintaining good relationships with your clients.

1) Regularly review your Aged Receivables detail report

Your Aged Receivables detail report should be your “go-to” credit control report for checking the total amount of outstanding invoices per each client and totals. Make sure to keep an eye on anything that is showing as 30+ days overdue. The longer you leave it, the easier it is for your client to forget or ignore your invoice.

Tip: Keep your bank accounts reconciled and up-to-date so that your debtor reporting is current and accurate. By following the steps below, you will see each invoice per client and how overdue it really is.

Go to Reports > Aged Receivables > Click on Show Invoices > Update

 

2) Save time by emailing all your client statements in one go

Statements are a great way to prompt your clients to pay you. By sending a statement your clients can see their outstanding invoices and payment history at a glance.

Go to Accounts > Send Statements > Select the “Activity” statement type > Choose the first day of the month prior to the current date > Update > Select the clients who have a balance owing

 

 

The great thing about Xero is you can send up to 50 client statements at a time. You can also customise your statement template should you wish to do so.

Tip: When sending bulk statements make sure to untick any contacts with a $0.00 balance. It is also important to ensure that all contact details are correct for each client. A statement can not be sent without an email address.

3) Use Automated Reminders

At times, even though invoices get earmarked for payment, they can still slip to the bottom of the to-do pile. Automated reminders may be the cure. They act as a gentle nudge that will help your chronic late-payers remember to pay the due invoice.

Xero has a feature that allows you to send automated invoice reminders, all you have to decide is when and how often the reminders are sent out.

Go to Accounts > Sales > Awaiting Payments > Click on the Invoice Reminders Off > Set up the reminder template and frequency

 

With Xero’s automated reminders you can customise the tone and timing of when the email will be sent. It can take a small amount of time to set up, but choosing this option will save you hours in the long run. To find out more click here to watch a quick video.

There are so many amazing features available, if you would like a Xero refresher training session please send us an email or call us on 0800 463 488.