Get ready for new tax year

The new tax year starts in the first week of April and, amidst the reams of bureaucratic red tape that small firms have to wade through, Bibby Financial Services is advising SMEs to get their affairs in order.

‘With the focus for the majority of small businesses on either survival or growth, there can be a great temptation to push business basics to the bottom of the to-do list,’ believes David Robertson, chief executive of Bibby. ‘Although this is the easier option, businesses are leaving themselves vulnerable. Any time invested in getting the business basics right is time well spent.’

Bibby has developed the following checklist to help owners and managers get their house in order and give themselves the maximum chance of surviving and thriving during the new financial year.

  1. Get your paperwork in order
  2. If your office is full of mounds of paper now is the time to sort out, or create, your filing system. Keep important paperwork such as bank statements in a safe place, as they are a record of your payments and receipts.

  3. Send accurate and timely invoices
  4. Do not delay sending invoices and statements out on time. Ask customers for purchase order numbers and quote that on your invoice. Finally, on completion of the job, raise the invoice immediately clearly stating the amount and date payment is due.

  5. Take control of credit control
  6. Perform credit checks on new customers and set sensible credit limits. If your customers start delaying payment, call them just before payment is due. If they make a part payment, acknowledge receipt of this but ask for the balance.

  7. Investigate funding options
  8. Is your business funded in a way that will carry you through temporary difficulties whilst allowing you to take advantage of growth opportunities? If not, it may be time to consider the more innovative methods of funding. Invoice finance is one such solution that can guarantee your business has a flexible ongoing supply of working capital.

  9. Review suppliers
  10. The next step in your annual overhaul should be to review the prices your suppliers are charging you. Think what effect a five or ten per cent reduction in costs could have on your profits. It is easy to become familiar with suppliers and forget to push them for bulk or loyalty discounts.

  11. Update your business plan
  12. Don’t forget that this was once the core distillation of your ideas. If things have changed since you made your plan, ask yourself why. Crucially, were your financial forecasts accurate and are you still budgeting effectively?

  13. Don’t manage your finances alone
  14. If you are already trading and have not got an accountant, take action now. Accountants not only help you get your systems in order, many also offer business advice and can provide a range of tax services. If you are worried about expensive fees, make sure you shop around when choosing your accountant, getting quotes before appointing your chosen firm or individual.

Related Topics