The New Year is a time for a fresh start in many aspects of life and business, so now is as good a time to start thinking about the New Year resolutions you can introduce into your business.
Here at AIT Accountants, we would like to give you a few tips that all accountants should advise to make sure 2016 starts well and you adopt some useful habits for the year ahead, which, hopefully will last a lifetime.
Firstly, we would advise that you make sure your administration is kept in order.
1. Yes – keeping your books in order may be tedious, but it is vitally important!
When you operate in chaos you’ll struggle to know how much money you’re making or how much you need to pay the taxman.
This is dangerous for a business, so pledge to make book-keeping a manageable, part of your work.
It doesn’t have to be all consuming. Just dedicate a small window of time each week to reviewing your bank transactions, noting your expenses and managing invoicing. Doing it this way rather than allowing it to turn into a pile of papers will be empowering and you’ll feel on top of things.
2. Set aside time for working on your business.
Too many people are constantly firefighting. Dealing with the ‘urgent here and now,’ issues instead of planning and strategizing how to make their business grow.
Every good business takes time to review its goals and look for new opportunities. It is called, ‘working on the business,’ rather than ‘in it.’
It is a good description too as it illustrates that taking a step back and calmly seeing how things are going and where you want to aim to get to.
Like all good accountants, we offer business advice, so if you don’t know where to start, ask us.
3. Do your self-assessment early
Please follow this rule if you’re one of many that have to submit a self-assessment tax return.
Is your tax return done and filed with HMRC around this time of the year or is it a last minute dash to get it in during the final hours of deadline day?
Please take the pressure off yourself, and make one of your new year’s resolutions to submit your tax return to HMRC with plenty of time to spare. Doing this calmly will mean you are less likely to rush and make mistakes as well.
4. Sort out those awkward customers
If you are like most businesses your heart sinks at the very thought of trading with some of your customers. Please remember, it’s your business, so if dread dealing with them, then do something about it.
Look through your customer list and identify those problem ones who take ages to pay, argue about everything, ask for more and are ungrateful. If you feel that your business can afford to point them to another supplier, then wish them well.
Also, look at the good customers and see how you can get more like them – remember that personal recommendations are often the best lead generator. Ask those customers you like and enjoy working with to refer you to their associates.
5. Get the cash in quick
Cash flow is vital for all businesses, so don’t be frightened to chase the money you are owed. Follow up on invoices quickly as you need to get the cash to survive and prosper
Set clearer payment terms and make sure your customers know when they have to pay you – and then keep to the terms. However, there’s no harm in demonstrating some common sense. When clients are in genuine difficulty you can give them more time to pay, but get tough on those who always try to avoid payment.
There are many other hints and tips and it may be that you need a new structure and specialist business advice on hand to help you in 2016. If this is the case, please call us at AIT Accountants today – we are happy to help.