SMEs take note: End of financial year creates oppportunity for business growth
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End of financial year (EOFY)can be a challenging time for many small to medium-size enterprises (SMEs). Not only do small business owners need to prepare tax returns for the business, they've got group certificates for employees, final sales to organise, stocktake, and they need to ensure all financial recordkeeping is in order. While these tasks are crucial for EOFY, SMEs should also look at this time as an opportunity for business growth, according to Konica Minolta.
"The thought of adding another task to that seemingly-endless list can be daunting," says Shane Blandford, director of marketing and innovation, Konica Minolta. "However, there is one more important task SMEs need to undertake, and that is business planning."
Blanford says EOFY is an ideal time to focus on planning for business growth.
"Whether SMEs intend to upgrade equipment or buy new assets, or simply revamp business processes to increase efficiency, the key is to start planning EOFY activities as early as possible. This ensures the right tax rebates available to the business can be leveraged, reducing the stress of closing out the financial year," he explains.
Konica Minolta has identified six key ways businesses can turn tax time into a growth opportunity:
1. Plan early. "Waiting until the end of June to consider how to make the most of EOFY will make it difficult to manage the baseline tax and financial requirements, let alone make time for advanced business planning," Blandford says. "It’s important to keep financial records and processes up to date throughout the financial year so that it’s not a huge burden in June. This also frees up time to start considering some of the strategies and approaches the business should adopt to facilitate growth in the coming year."
2. Take stock. Blandford says SMEs should review the current business plan against actual performance to get a clear picture of where the business currently stands.
"If the business is not on track or objectives have changed, now is the time to tweak or redevelop the business plan to achieve goals for the coming year," he explains. "This process should include a thorough review of the business’s current capabilities and assets, and a gap assessment to see what’s needed to reach the next stage of growth."
3. Automate processes. "Most businesses, regardless of how streamlined and modern, can benefit from regularly revising processes," says Blandford. "This can be anything from how order are taken and goods are fulfilled to how income and invoice payments are accounted for. In many cases, these processes can be completely or partially automated using technology solutions that are becoming more affordable all the time. Businesses can achieve significant cost savings through automation so it’s well worth investigating the tools that are available," he says.
4. Reduce costs. According to Blandford, reviewing print policies can help reduce print costs substantially. "Simple, free measures such as setting waste-reducing policies like mandating duplex and monochrome printing can shave costs off the top line," he says.
"The next level is to implement optimised print services that can leverage even more opportunities to reduce cost. This includes pull printing that requires users to present a swipe card or PIN at the printer before they can collect their printouts." Blandford says this reduces wasted paper and improves security at the same time, since sensitive documents won’t be left in the output tray.
"Optimised print services technology can also track print costs and tie them back to departments, cost centres, and even individual users," he adds.
5. Research rebates. "Another way to reduce costs is to ensure the business is using the latest equipment. If the printer fleet is older, it may not include energy-saving and waste-reducing features that can deliver demonstrable savings," Blandford says.
"Having efficient and reliable equipment is essential for smooth operations, so it’s worth considering upgrading the business’s fleet," he explains.
"At the end of the financial year, there are lots of tax rebates and other benefits for businesses investing in assets, so it’s important for business owners to speak with their tax advisor regarding what’s available to their business," says Blandford.
6. Purchase assets. Blandford says it’s important to purchase the right assets for the business. "For example, if the business needs a new printer fleet, it may not be advisable to simply replace existing machines like-for-like," he says.
"A comprehensive review of print requirements may reveal that the business can consolidate the fleet and get better results with fewer machines, while saving money. The same applies to any business asset that may need replacing; it’s important to thoroughly research the market and get the best, most advanced equipment the business can afford."