The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on what your business has achieved over the last year, while also setting some goals for the year ahead. That could be cutting out bad business habits or opening yourself up to new opportunities.
Every business’ aims and goals will differ in the detail. However below we highlight 4 key tips we think everyone should consider in preparation for the coming business year.
1. Review your business growth and goals
A new business year offers a chance to consolidate what you want to achieve. Ask yourself how your revenues and profits compare with previous years, and whether you see that trend continuing.
It’s important to review how your business goals fit in with the wider market. The world of business is constantly evolving and your position may not be the same as it was a year ago. Time should be taken at the beginning of the year to do a competitor review, and this should be used as a benchmark to help you stay on top of the market throughout the year.
You should ensure you are realistic about the opportunities and challenges you face as you plan ahead. Your accountant should offer business advice and help set meaningful short and long term goals for the coming year.
Aim to review your business plans regularly, e.g. every quarter, in order to ensure you are staying on track to meet your goals throughout the year.
2. Update your accounting systems
A good online accounting software will allow you to access your accounts whenever you need, and wherever you are, as well as giving all stakeholders access to all your financial data including running totals. With remote backups and powerful encryption, cloud accounting is a secure option, allowing only the people you choose to access your important financial information being able to.
We partner with a number of top cloud accounting software providers, including Xero, QuickBooks and Sage. Our in-house cloud accounting team has specialist knowledge and will help you find the cloud solution most suitable to you and your business.
Cloud technology is fast becoming the way forward for businesses. The constant evolution and adaptions have opened up a whole new world of innovation for businesses. And with Making Tax Digital nearly on our doorstep, cloud accounting will ensure you comply with the new government digital tax requirements.
3. Review your bookkeeping processes
While the bookkeeping process may be time-consuming and sometimes tedious, effective bookkeeping is the foundation of sound financial management which in turn leads to business success.
Accurate and consistent expense tracking is crucial for claiming the correct tax deductions and consequently lowering your overall tax bill. Plus, analysing expenses can offer crucial insights into spending patterns and the overall profitability of your business. Small business owners should consider using a mobile app for simple, consistent expense tracking. Options like Expensify, Receipt Bank and AutoEntry help do away with manual data entry and automate a number of key functions in any businesses processes.
By putting robust processes in place now, you can avoid the disorganised panic at the end of the accounting year. Setting aside time each week to manage your books will give you a constant and current idea of how the business is doing and allow you to quickly nip problems in the bud.
4. Track time and efficiency closely
Time is money, as the old saying goes, and there are always ways that you can improve your efficiency to ensure that little bits of lost time aren’t also resulting in lost money.
Review the day-to-day processes across your business and find out where interruptions are regularly occurring. Based on this, you can consider structuring your working day – and your employees’ – more efficiently.
Perhaps meetings could be more productive if scheduled earlier in the day, or afternoons could be used more effectively with a designated lunch hour in place. The answer is different for every business but keeping an eye on where the time is going will help maximise profits regardless.
How we can help
Our cloud accounting team has specialist knowledge and can provide a range of services, including system implementation and training.
If you would like to find out more about any of the accounting software or expense tracking apps mentioned above, please get in touch on 02920 549939.