It rolls around at the same time each year. And yet, for many small business owners, the end of financial year (EOFY) still catches many off guard.

With just under a month to go before the standard EOFY roll-over, now is the time for SME owners to prepare – checking those boxes and getting accounts and records in order.

Here are some key tips for small business owners to help start FY2021 off on the right foot.

Don’t be afraid to tap into expert help if you need it:

The EOFY can be a stressful time for small business owners – especially if record-keeping has fallen by the wayside, and there’s catching up to do.

As a small business owner, it’s often tempting to go it alone, but investing in expert help can pay off in more ways than one.

If you haven’t already, getting some time in the diary to speak with an accountant or book-keeper can make a big difference to your stress levels at this time of year.

Not only can these experts help get your records in order – saving you time – but they can also offer invaluable guidance on potential deductions, write-offs and rebates. For example, if you run a business out of home or use subscriptions or a vehicle for business purposes, you may be entitled to claim some deductions that you weren’t aware of.

Know your key dates – so nothing is left to the last minute:

If you want to avoid costly penalties for missed deadlines and late payments, get familiar with the key dates for the upcoming tax year – and set reminders in your diary.

Not only will reminders save you stress in the long run by encouraging you to get on top of things early, but they could save you money as well.

For a list of some of the key tax year dates to be aware of, you may want to check out this infographic.

Make sure you’re planning ahead to avoid stress at the EOFY. It’s part and parcel of running a business, so establish good habits early and get a routine that works for you.

Take stock, and set some SMART financial goals:

With your business financials front of mind, it’s a great time to get clear on what success looks like for the year ahead. Be SMART about it.

Having defined financial goals is one of the most important things you can do as a small business owner – helping you plan, prioritise and innovate throughout the year.

SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely – can help build a clear idea of when and how success can be achieved. They can also be a great motivator and keep you accountable. For example, you might set a goal that by March 2021 you want to increase total average monthly sales by 20 per cent.

Make sure you factor in the seasonal trends that typically impact your business or industry so you can plan ahead. Consider your potential cash flow needs and plan ahead so you can access funding when you need it.

Adrienne Church is General Manager at Prospa New Zealand

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