How to plan ahead for the next financial year

End of financial year time can be busy and overwhelming. It’s also the time of year to swear to get on top of things and be more prepared next year, but that rarely seems to happen. Not this time! According to experts, here are five things to start doing right now, that will help make next year’s paperwork a simpler and more effective process. 

Use smart software to remove guesswork and stress

“Getting paperwork in order should be a small business owner’s key priority for end of financial year,” says Matthew Prouse, Head of Industry at Xero Australia, an online accounting and bookkeeping program. “Many new owners don’t plan for this and it can make tax time really hard. There are software programs that can help like Squirrel Street, Receipt Bank and Expensify. These will plug straight into Xero and keep receipts in order.”

Prouse also recommends cloud-based applications that allow for easy sharing of data and files with clients and suppliers, such as Google Docs, Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive.  

BAS agent Aimee Lee Russo from Business Lane is also an advocate for cloud-based services, particularly accounting systems. “These platforms make it really easy to manage your finances both at your computer and on your mobile device while you’re on the go. It’s now really easy to do your invoicing, keep track of your expenses, receive and make payments, review your business performance, and work with your bookkeeper and accountant. Which software you choose depends on how your business works, what you do, and which integrations you’d love to use. Most of our clients use MYOB or Xero and we love these options.”

Her recommended add ons are Hubdoc, for fetching and storing bills, and Fathom for custom and detailed reporting. 

Know what you can claim in advance – and then claim it! 

“We’ve found that when a business owner pays for business expenses out of their personal bank account, they often forget to claim for these expenses - and it’s quite often some really big deductions,” reveals Russo. “Things we’ve seen forgotten are rent, computers, mobile phones, software, training courses, networking events, research books, and even motor vehicles.” 

“In my experience, the two big things people miss out on when they claim is on training and travel expenses,” says Prouse.

“Many times, people don’t realise the different types of training and development they can claim and the main problem with motor vehicle and travel expenses is lack of record keeping needed to make the claims. This can be solved really easily by speaking with an accountant prior to tax time to understand what you can claim and by using an app throughout the year to keep track of your expenses like travel while you are on the go.”

Russo also recommends talking to your accountant to find out what additional tax breaks you can apply specifically to your operation and then being mindful of them and tracking them throughout the year.

Stay on top of changes 

Legislative updates may impact payroll, what you can claim or what your reporting responsibilities are. Russo recommends signing up to a variety of industry associations relevant to your business and to subscribe to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Fair Work email updates.

“A really easy way to keep these updates in front of you as they come up is to follow these organisations on social media,” she adds. “Many of us are active on social media, and this is a great way to ensure updates pop up frequently.”

Prouse also advises keeping track of the ATO’s social channels. “I would recommend checking out and subscribing to the Australian Tax Office’s YouTube channel. They have created a suite of simple video content with advice for small businesses. For instance, there is a whole series of videos to help make tax time easy.” 

Check in with your accountant – and not just on July 1

Russo says to find a fantastic accountant and talk to them often about how you’re tracking.

“We’ve found we have the best results with clients who catch up with us at least on a monthly basis. This ensures accounts are kept up to date and gives clients accurate and regular information about how their business and cash is tracking. Depending on the size and stage your business is at, chatting to your accountant at least quarterly is also a great idea so you’re really well prepared for growth and tax return time.” 

Prouse agrees. “I’d recommend even booking a tax planning session with an adviser prior to 30 June 2019, to allow extra time for planning and to avoid surprises,” he says.

“The biggest mistake business owners make is not seeking help. They convince themselves they are experts and don’t need an adviser. … A registered tax agent knows what a small business can and can’t claim, and seeing one is an additional deduction on next year’s return.”

Tackle everything while it’s small

“Keeping on top of [paperwork] weekly is the best way to go,” suggests Russo. “It keeps [doing paperwork] a smaller and less overwhelming task. Plus, receipts fade and get lost, as do our memories, and let’s be honest, who wants to spend hours trying to remember what that faded receipt from ten months ago was actually for when there’s a beach or barbeque to be enjoyed?”

Plus, Russo suggests saving small amounts incrementally in order to handle large bills down the track. “Put money away to cover your bills and taxes while also gearing up for growth,” she recommends. 

“It can be hard to juggle all of the tasks that come with running a business,” Russo acknowledges. “We give our clients monthly reports and numbers to help them put away money for GST, tax, and super, and help them manage their incomings and outgoings so they aren’t awake at night worrying about paying their bills.”

Checklist to EOFY success

By businesslane.com.au  

  • Keep on top of your invoicing 
  • Chase up unpaid accounts
  • Record all expenses accurately and often 
  • Reconcile your accounts 
  • Check in with your bookkeeper and accountant 
  • Manage your cash flow

If you only do one thing to prepare do this: 

“Keep copies of receipts. Anytime an owner makes a purchase, they should ask if the receipts can be emailed and then use an application to file them.” Matthew Prouse, Head of Industry, Xero Australia

“Keep on top of your stuff weekly or hire someone to help you. You will not regret it! Stacking up piles of receipts that have faded, having hundreds of unreconciled bank transactions, not knowing who has and hasn’t paid you, and generally burying your head in the sand not only makes for a stressful tax time, but is also easily avoided. Knowing the state of your business numbers makes life easier in so many ways.”

End of financial year time can be busy and overwhelming. It’s also the time of year to swear to get on top of things and be more prepared next year, but that rarely seems to happen. Not this time! According to experts, here are five things to start doing right now, that will help make next year’s paperwork a simpler and more effective process.

H2: 1. Use smart software to remove guesswork and stress

“Getting paperwork in order should be a small business owner’s key priority for end of financial year,” says Matthew Prouse, Head of Industry at Xero Australia, an online accounting and bookkeeping program. “Many new owners don’t plan for this and it can make tax time really hard. There are software programs that can help like Squirrel Street, Receipt Bank and Expensify. These will plug straight into Xero and keep receipts in order.”

Prouse also recommends cloud-based applications that allow for easy sharing of data and files with clients and suppliers, such as
Google Docs, Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive. 

BAS agent Aimee Lee Russo from Business Lane is also an advocate for cloud-based services, particularly accounting systems. “These platforms make it really easy to manage your finances both at your computer and on your mobile device while you’re on the go. It’s now really easy to do your invoicing, keep track of your expenses, receive and make payments, review your business performance, and work with your bookkeeper and accountant. Which software you choose depends on how your business works, what you do, and which integrations you’d love to use. Most of our clients use MYOB or Xero and we love these options.” Her recommended add ons are Hubdoc, for fetching and storing bills, and Fathom for custom and detailed reporting.

H2: 2. Know what you can claim in advance – and then claim it!

“We’ve found that when a business owner pays for business expenses out of their personal bank account, they often forget to claim for these expenses - and it’s quite often some really big deductions,” reveals Russo. “Things we’ve seen forgotten are rent, computers, mobile phones, software, training courses, networking events, research books, and even whole motor vehicles!”

“In my experience, the two big things people miss out on when they claim is on training and travel expenses,” agrees Prouse. “Many times, people don’t realise the different types of training and development they can claim and the main problem with motor vehicle and travel expenses is lack of record keeping needed to make the claims. This can be solved really easily by speaking with an accountant prior to tax time to understand what you can claim and by using an app throughout the year to keep track of your expenses like travel while you are on the go.”

Russo also recommends talking to your accountant to find out what additional tax breaks you can apply specifically to your operation and then being mindful of them and tracking them throughout the year.

H2: 3. Stay on top of changes

Legislative updates may impact payroll, what you can claim or what your reporting responsibilities are. Russo recommends signing up to a variety of industry associations relevant to your business and to subscribe to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Fair Work email updates. “A really easy way to keep these updates in front of you as they come up is to follow these organisations on social media,” she adds. “Many of us are active on social media, and this is a great way to ensure updates pop up frequently.”


Prouse also advises keeping track of the ATO’s social channels. “I would recommend checking out and subscribing to the
Australian Tax Office’s YouTube channel. They have created a suite of simple video content with advice for small businesses. For instance, there is a whole series of videos to help make tax time easy.”

H2: 4. Check in with your accountant – and not just on July 1

Russo says to find a fantastic accountant and talk to them often about how you’re tracking. “We’ve found we have the best results with clients who catch up with us at least on a monthly basis. This ensures accounts are kept up to date and gives clients accurate and regular information about how their business and cash is tracking. Depending on the size and stage your business is at, chatting to your accountant at least quarterly is also a great idea so you’re really well prepared for growth and tax return time.”

Prouse agrees. “I’d recommend even booking a tax planning session with an adviser prior to 30 June 2019, to allow extra time for planning and to avoid surprises,” he says. “The biggest mistake business owners make is not seeking help. They convince themselves they are experts and don’t need an adviser. … A registered tax agent knows what a small business can and can’t claim, and seeing one is an additional deduction on next year’s return.”

H2: 5. Tackle everything while it’s small

“Keeping on top of [paperwork] weekly is the best way to go,” suggests Russo. “It keeps [doing paperwork] a smaller and less overwhelming task. Plus, receipts fade and get lost, as do our memories, and let’s be honest, who wants to spend hours trying to remember what that faded receipt from ten months ago was actually for when there’s a beach or barbeque to be enjoyed?”

Plus, Russo suggests saving small amounts incrementally in order to handle large bills down the track. “Put money away to cover your bills and taxes while also gearing up for growth,” she recommends.

“It can be hard to juggle all of the tasks that come with running a business,” Russo acknowledges. “We give our clients monthly reports and numbers to help them put away money for GST, tax, and super, and help them manage their incomings and outgoings so they aren’t awake at night worrying about paying their bills.”


Breakout box:
Checklist to EOFY success

By businesslane.com.au
- Keep on top of your invoicing
- Chase up unpaid accounts
- Record all expenses accurately and often
- Reconcile your accounts
- Check in with your bookkeeper and accountant
- Manage your cash flow

If you only do one thing to prepare for 2018/19, do this:

“Keep copies of receipts. Anytime an owner makes a purchase, they should ask if the receipts can be emailed and then use an application to file them.” Matthew Prouse, Head of Industry, Xero Australia

Keep on top of your stuff weekly or hire someone to help you. You will not regret it! Stacking up piles of receipts that have faded, having hundreds of unreconciled bank transactions, not knowing who has and hasn’t paid you, and generally burying your head in the sand not only makes for a stressful tax time, but is also easily avoided. Knowing the state of your business numbers makes life easier in so many ways.” Aimee Lee Russo (https://www.businesslane.com.au/

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