The end of the financial year is fast approaching, and no doubt your business is busy trying to complete the yearly accounts, balance the budgets, and get your documentation in order for the tax man.
But before the clock finally strikes midnight and brings this financial year to a close, take some time to step back and analyse what’s going on in your business, and consider how you can change things for an improved new financial year.
Here are 8 resolutions you may want to consider making for the new financial year to help streamline your financial processes and systems, and move your business to the next level.
1. Make preparations for a fresh start
Make sure all your administration work from the current financial year is wrapped-up and organised. There’s nothing like starting a new tax year with everything complete and filed away. Liaise with your accountant to ensure you’re fully up to date with current tax legislation and any other compliance issues that may affect your business.
2. Identify what part of your marketing strategy went well, and use this as a base to build from
It’s always advisable to build on your strengths, so find out what marketing strategies are working in your business and focus on encouraging and further improving these. Make sure you also reflect on what didn’t go so well, and identify what you could change to remedy this. Set aside sufficient time to plan to update your business plan, and set clear goals for the coming year.
3. Identify upcoming marketing trends and see if they can be incorporated into your business
One thing is for sure – the business market is in constant flux. There’s always something new on the horizon, so now’s the time to identify what big marketing trends are coming, and what are the most likely threats and opportunities for your business. For example, perhaps there are new promotional products that could be incorporated into your marketing strategy. Or, maybe a new social media platform is taking off that you could use to your benefit. Conversely, some of your current marketing strategies might be slightly outdated and need refreshing or replacing. Once you have identified these, you can plan for these changes and work out strategies to adopt them into your business.
4. Review your systems and processes
Are you using the latest version of your accounting software? Could another accounting package suit the needs of your business better? Online accounting software packages can help you to take care of invoices, GST, payrolls and all other aspects of your business to make the end of the next financial year easier.
Speak to potential software vendors and find out how their software can help streamline your financial processes. Also think about implementing new systems to make your business more efficient, for example Trello, a project management tool that will help you keep you on top of your workload.
5. Embrace the digital world
Let’s be blunt – you cannot escape the digital world in modern day business. You can only embrace it. It’s time to accept that customers interact with your company predominantly online – therefore you need to make the most of the opportunities to grow this facet of your business, while identifying where potential threats are likely to arise.
Are you on social media? Have you incorporated a digital shopping cart into your website? Is your website mobile friendly? Are you using cloud storage instead of keeping cabinets full of paper? Can you access all your vital documents on your mobile device? These are just some of the questions you should be asking if you want to make the most of digital technology.
6. Look at ways to improve your invoicing and business records
One important way to increase your efficiency is to have all your records in order. Not only will you need these for your tax returns each year, but other companies will often call you requesting end of year statements or copies of invoices. By taking the time to ensure you have stringent invoicing processes in place you’ll streamline nitty gritty tasks and keep your business organised at all times.
It’s also important to keep on top of your records as it can help you monitor how effective your sales and marketing campaigns are. Why implement sales models if you aren’t going to check how they’re travelling? Whatever marketing and promotional methods you’re employing, you need to check they’re being used in ways that maximise their benefit. Having an organised and efficient record system is key to achieving this.
7. Explore your staffing model
More and more businesses are adopting flexible employment patterns by bringing in staff to meet the needs of the business at a particular time. Consider having a core of permanent full time staff, and contract in freelance workers as the need arises. Many people are happy to adopt more flexible working patterns and arrangements, and you’ll no longer have to worry about peaks and troughs in work flow. Don’t forget to develop performance plans for your staff, provide adequate training, and to keep them motivated and engaged with the business.
8. Evaluate your reason for being in business
We all work to earn money, but is that enough reason to be in business? Instead of analysing your business in terms of profits and cashflow, think about why you are invested in your work. What are your long term plans? Do you plan to grow your business, or are you hoping to sell it on? By re-establishing the purpose of your business, you’ll have a clearer picture of what you need to set aside in terms of operational and financial resources in order to meet your goals.
9. Ensure your business is going green
Making sure your business is environmentally friendly and sustainable has two main benefits. Firstly, if sustainable measures are implemented effectively they can save your business serious money. For simple yet effective change, think of ways your business can reduce its energy usage, use less paper, or recycle more waste.
Secondly, today’s market is seeing potential clients and customers preferring to buy products or employ services from companies who are more environmentally friendly than their competitors. Which means going green can both save you money and attract you more business.
So… what are you waiting for?!