How to future proof your business

October 2017

Ensuring the success of your business can be tricky, so the best way to future proof your finances is to plan ahead. To help you avoid as many obstacles as possible, we have compiled the following tips for success.

Bank on your future

Having the correct account – even if you have been trading for some time – is vital for your business. Online banking, in-credit interest, low electronic transaction charges and a local branch for those businesses handling a lot of cash and cheques are just some of the options banks offer. Also make sure you have a good working relationship with your business bank manager, as they can play an important part in your business.

An account with the ability to show real-time transactions will be invaluable when it comes to making well-informed decisions and identify any financial weaknesses in your business. Therefore, if you are already trading, it’s wise to regularly review what your bank offers and switch to one that meets your business needs.

If you are new to business or choose to switch, you should aim to get at least 18 months’ free banking, but some banks may offer up to 24 months. While these may be enticing, make sure you know how much the account will cost you once the introductory period ends.

Some banks even offer a lifetime of free banking, but make sure you scrutinise the terms and conditions as there is usually a limit on the number of transactions and/or their value.

Make sure you have enough money – but not too much

Your estimated funding requirements should be as accurate as possible – over-borrowing may result in unnecessary interest; conversely, not borrowing enough could lead to more challenges and higher charges if you need further financial aid from your bank.

If you need financial help to launch your business or kick-start a new project, you will definitely need to provide the bank or lender a cashflow forecast.

Whereas a Profit and Loss Account will show the actual results on an accruals basis, a cashflow will show the forecasted results on a cash basis, and will take into account such items as loan repayments, withdrawals and ATO payments – not just income, direct costs and overheads.

Your cashflow forecast should be able to illustrate that with your own personal funding and finance from the bank, your business will be able to meet its repayments and eventually generate a profit. In addition, cashflow forecasts are useful tools for any start-up business, as they illustrate whether the business proposal is financially viable and also act as benchmarks to compare the actual results with, once your business has started trading.

Prepare for the inevitable

Make sure you know your responsibilities with ATO for registration, lodgement and payment dates. If you’re a basic rate taxpayer, you should try to put aside at least 25% of your profits – ideally 30% – for your tax bill. Putting this much aside should mean that when your tax bill does arrive, there are no nasty surprises.

Ignore advice at your own expense

It is always advisable to seek professional advice. One of the benefits of an accountant is that they can guide you through what entity you should opt for (sole trade, company or partnership, etc.), what expenses you can claim and the paperwork you’ll need to maintain.

A particularly complicated area to master is motor expenses and how vehicle ownership should be structured. As with most other expenses, an accountant can navigate you through your many motoring options available so you can decide which one is right for you.

Stay one step ahead

In order to stay one step ahead of your local competition, make sure you do your homework by using a search engine such as Google or Bing. By examining your search results and visiting your competitors’ shops, you will be able to determine their prices are and when they’re running any special offers, and alter yours accordingly.

Spread the word

Paramount to any business’ success is that people know it exists. Advertising is key to generating interest, and in our modern times, there are now a whole host of online options in addition to traditional print media. Consider whether your business needs a website, blog, Twitter account and Facebook profile, and LinkedIn is rapidly becoming a very popular tool with entrepreneurs and business people. Also consider email marketing.

Act now and be ready for tomorrow

Don’t wait until tomorrow to future proof your business, we are available right now to help you prepare for your tax and other financial needs.

Contact us for a second opinion at TaxAssist Accountants in Sydney, Mid North Coast, or Gold Coast.