Issue 0008 Being Kept In The Loop By Your Accountant
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Running a small business is very difficult. You’re normally doing most of the work on your own, with a small management team and you’re confronted with a whole range of issues. New laws are being continually introduced by the Federal, State and Territory governments. Working long hours (a lot of stress), with your team members, to try and build up an outstanding business. Sometimes, running a business can get very lonely. You want to be kept informed so that you know what’s going on.
We believe ‘keeping you in the loop’ means you receive ‘educational articles’ on business that can help you add value to your business and add to the enjoyment in running a business.
Types Of Articles To Keep You Informed
The articles that accountants, offering business advisory services, could supply to you include:
Articles on starting a business
- What do you need to do?
- What registrations do you need to make?
- How do you plan for a brand new business?
- How do you start to prepare a business plan?
- How do you switch from being an employee to being able to effectively run a business?
Articles on purchasing a business
Perhaps you’re contemplating purchasing a business. You need someone who can advise you and show you various interesting articles on buying a business.
- What information do you need from the vendor?
- What research do you need to do?
Articles on managing a business
As your business grows, you’ll get more involved in management. You need to be conscious of your financial results on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Not just once a year. Not eight or nine months after the end of the financial year. You need to know on an ongoing basis.
- How much money is in the bank?
- How much money is owing to you by your debtors?
- What is the debtors’ days outstanding?
- How do you calculate debtors’ days outstanding?
- How much money do you owe your creditors?
- Where is your cashflow headed?
- Is your business making progress?
These are the types of questions, in the management area, I’m sure you could benefit from, by receiving regular articles from your accountant.
Articles on dealing with banks
Another very important area, on which articles can assist you, is assisting you in dealing with banks or financial institutions.
Banks can be difficult to deal with at times. What are the strategies you might be able to implement, to improve your relationship with the bank? These could include understanding the bank’s requirements and ensuring you are able to fulfil those requirements.
For instance, they might want a half-yearly update on business performance. They might require financial accounts within two months of the end of financial year. It could be specific financial terminology, such as ‘loan covenants’, of which you need to be aware. You need to regularly calculate those figures to ensure you are operating within the bank’s requirements.
Articles on business plans
Another very important area on which you need to be informed is business plans.
Business plans are like ‘maps for tourists’. If you don’t know where you’re going to go, how are you going to know when you get there? How are you going to be able to compare your progress, unless you’ve got some milestones in your business plan against which you can measure your performance?
Articles on corporate governance
If you’re running a company, you will need to be conscious of corporate governance issues.
These are the rules and ethical matters that relate to company directors and how you would work with another director(s) in running the business.
There are also some penalties that have been introduced of which you need to be aware. There are penalties when superannuation is paid late and, if it’s not paid at all, it could become a personal liability of each and every one of the directors.
Also, if you’re late in paying the PAYG tax deductions from your employees’ wages, they can become a personal debt of the directors.
Articles on export/import
If you’re involved in exporting, it could help you understand export markets, if you had articles on the assistance Austrade can provide. If you understood how the Export Market Development Grants work and information on the Export Finance Investment Corporation, you will have a greater understanding of exports.
Export Finance Investment Corporation is commonly known as EFIC. This organisation was established by the Australian government about 50 years ago, to help finance export operations by Australian exporters and also to finance export debtors.
So if you’re contemplating exporting, you need to read these articles.
Articles on family business
Family businesses are the lifeblood of the Australian business community. There could be a lot of issues on family businesses. You might like to read some of the articles on:
- establishing a family council; and
- how a family charter or constitution might assist your business.
Articles on raising capital
As your business grows, you may need to try to raise capital or obtain a fairly large loan. Or you may be starting a brand new business with a new technology, process or service.
In that case, you’re probably interested in trying to raise capital. The articles your accountant can supply will assist you to become ‘investment ready’ so you’re able to deal with Business Angels and other organisations that might be prepared to invest in your business.
Tools Accountants Can Use To Keep You ‘In The Loop’
Accountants, who offer business advisory services, offer a lot more information than just taxation.
The types of communications we believe you should be receiving from your accountant, to help you add value to your business, include:
A monthly newsletter that summarises commercial issues within the business community, not just taxation, but looks at:
- employee issues;
- government grants;
- waste management;
- Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR);
- risk management; and
- many other items.
Some accountants will send you a blog article, on a weekly or fortnightly basis, to keep you informed of topical issues that are confronting small business operators at that time.
You can also obtain some interesting information from some accountants’ websites, wherein they will include general commercial articles and not just taxation.
Seminars and webinars
Some firms also present seminars and webinars, to assist in educating small/medium enterprise operators on some new aspects of business operations.
Keeping You Up To Date With Current Issues
Over the last two months, there have been some very interesting matters that have been presented to small business operators. These include:
Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)
- Do you know how to safeguard your assets?
- Have you received any advice on implementing a PPSR system within your business?
- Do you know that there’s now been five major court cases in Australia on the Personal Property Securities Act (PPSA) and each one of the cases has been won by a liquidator or receiver, not by the business that paid for the asset in the first place?
- Does your accountant keep you informed of this so you can implement systems to prevent those types of problems confronting your business?
Debtors’ days outstanding
Debtors’ days outstanding is another very topical issue at present. Dun & Bradstreet has indicated that debtors’ days outstanding in Australia is now 54 days . This is 80% longer than the traditional 30-day trade terms.
Accountants, offering business advisory services, can assist in implementing debtors’ management systems for small/medium enterprise businesses.
Management of costs
Management of costs is another major issue for small business operators. Indeed, this was identified as the major concern to small business operators in the CCH survey for small business, which was released in April 2013 .
Research and Development
Research and development is another topical issue at present, because the registration for claims by companies, which have spent more than $20,000 on research and development in the year ended 30 June 2013, must be made by 30 April 2014.
Privacy Law Reforms
The new law commenced on 12 March 2014. It applies to all businesses with turnovers over $3million.
Anti-Bullying Laws have been introduced from 1 January 2014.
These are some of the issues that have been communicated to small/medium enterprises over the last two months.
Have you been receiving articles on those types of issues?
Accountants Can Assist
Accountants, offering a wider range of services, have a very important role to play in communicating these types of issues to their clients, to help small/medium enterprise operators to ‘weather the storm’ on each of these items as they occur, so you can add value to your business.
If your accountant is unable to supply you with regular newsletters and blog articles, or educational material on events within the commercial marketplace, we’ll be happy to provide you with a list of accountants in your location, who can offer these types of services. Send an email to with your location and postcode and we will send you the names of accountants within your area, who are offering these types of services.
ESS BIZTOOLS has developed hundreds of articles and other templates, to assist small business operators to improve their business operations. This month, we’ve released our 100th edition of our newsletter, Business Plus+, which we are happy to supply to you, so you can get an appreciation of the type of information included in a commercial newsletter being supplied to you by your accountant. A complimentary copy of our March 2014 edition of ‘Business Plus+ Newsletter’ can be download through the link at the bottom of this page.
If you wish to receive future episodes of Survival Hints for Small Business series, you can visit our Survival Hints for Small Business - iTunes page and subscribe to our podcasts.
If you have any questions or suggestions on future items to be covered in Survival Hints for Small Business, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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Episode SHSB008 Being Kept In The Loop By Your Accountant
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